{ Quotes (DAY 538) }

IMG_5726I’ve been storing up quotes from my reading lately and I thought it was about time to share some of the quote love! Enjoy!

“Perhaps,” she said, “to be able to learn things quickly isn’t everything. To be kind is worth a great deal to other people.” A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

“Faith isn’t an equation or a formula or a business deal that gets you what you want. In short, there’s nothing on the other side of the equals sign, just Jesus.” Love Does by Bob Goff

“It was when I was happiest that I longed most. It was on happy days when we were up there on the hills, the three of us, with the wind and the sunshine… where you couldn’t see Glome or the palace. Do you remember? The color and the smell, and looking across at the Grey Mountain in the distance? And because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it. Everything seemed to be saying, Psyche come! But I couldn’t (not yet) come and I don’t know where I was to come too. It almost hurt me. I felt like a bird in a cage on the other birds of its kind are flying home.”  Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

“The first trick, the one I am practicing now, is to just start where you are. It’s a luxury to be in the mood to write. It’s a blessing but it’s not a necessity. Writing is like breathing, it’s possible to learn to do it well, but the point is to do it no matter what.” The Right to Write by Julia Cameron

What quotes have you recently enjoyed? Let me know in the comments below!

Posted on August 20, 2015 by | Comments { 2 }

{ Hands & Tales (DAY 537) }

IMG_6230It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts but I guarantee you this one was worth the wait!  Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been going to my library and checking out books.  I still have the same library card I got when I was about seven.  Even with the plastic peeling off I can’t bear to part with it and get a new one.  Over the years I’ve seen librarians come and go but one has always been there (for 20 years!).  Recently I asked him if he would be a part of this series and he graciously obliged.  I’m thankful he was willing to record these thoughts for us! I hope you enjoy his answers as much as I did and learn something new today.

What drew you to being a librarian?

I had a job as a student worker at the library where I went to college and I enjoyed the work though I didn’t think about it as a career at the time. After college I worked in several fields but couldn’t find one where I felt fulfilled. I met with a career counselor and after a series of assessments and several meetings he concluded that I should consider working as either a chef (I love to cook!) or a librarian. I remembered my college work and also how much I liked the college setting and thought that working in a college or university library would be a great job. When I finally got a library job, though, it wasn’t at a university, but at a public library. It turns out that what I really enjoy about my work is not so much doing research, but helping all kinds of people, so the variety of folks that come to our library is much more interesting to me than just students doing research.

What is one thing you wish people understood more clearly about what you do?

There’s more to our work than many people realize. (I kind of assume that’s true of most jobs.) Not too many people know that those of us working at the reference desk or in the children’s department have gotten Master’s degrees in order to do the work we do. But even more than that, we bring a deeper understanding of the organization of information and interpersonal communication to our work than is likely to be obvious.

What has been the most influential book you’ve ever read? 

That’s a tough one! So many books, like so many teachers and mentors, have made an impact on my life over the years. Surprisingly, the one that I would have to say has been the most influential is a slim cookbook (Fine Fresh Food, Fast by Michele Urvater) that my grandmother gave me as a birthday present during my college years when she heard I like to cook. It has some great recipes that really opened my mind to new ingredients, flavor combinations and cooking techniques and got me hooked on having fun in the kitchen, which is now a real passion of mine. I still make many of the dishes in that book regularly.

What one person has touched your life the most and why? 

I didn’t meet my wife until I was 28, but we’ve been together for 25 years now and she still frees me to be the kind of person I want to be, while at the same time challenging me to know more and do more than I might otherwise on my own.    

What was one of the happiest days/moments of your life? 

The first one that comes to mind is the day we opened our new library. We didn’t announce the day or time we would re-open after our move since we weren’t sure how long it would take to get ready. But on a Monday afternoon, once we had everything in place, we opened our doors, and within an hour the library had a couple dozen or more people exploring and admiring our new space. It was an amazing feeling to be a part of that effort and to be able to offer that to our community.

What is your greatest struggle right now? 

I am feeling quite challenged by the variety of duties for which I am now responsible at this library. Some of that is my own fault as I would like to accomplish more in order to help the library improve, but I am already doing more than ever before. I need to remind myself of that and take things more gradually so that I can get a good handle on each added task before trying to take on more.

When were you most scared?

This question is a real challenge for me. Nothing big comes to mind, though I did freak out after my first exam in graduate school. I was completely stumped by most of the questions and thought “I’ve packed up and moved to Tucson for this and now I’m going to fail and have nothing to show for it.” (I got really drunk that night!) Turns out everyone did just as poorly and he just gives tough exams. He was my favorite professor through my program there.

If you could give one piece of advice to those reading this what would it be?

Be careful about judging people. Allow them to surprise you with the depth of their minds and hearts, especially when you least expect it. I have had fascinating exchanges with people who I would not have guessed to be as bright or thoughtful as our conversations showed them to be. It always makes me feel lucky to have met someone like that.

(If you want to know how this series started you can read why here.)

Posted on August 11, 2015 by | Comments { 2 }

{ Butterfly wings (DAY 536) }

IMG_0837It started with an Instagram post. A little girl with outstretched arms showed off a cute pair of butterfly wings and the whimsy of it was so perfect.  I have a niece who is 6 and a very important half.  I love her dearly and enjoy doing auntie dates with her so when I saw those colorful wings I figured I could find a way to make a pair.

Sitting at the kitchen table I found myself with a piece of fabric 5 inches from my face and a fat black marker in my hand as I drew lines into patterns.  Note to self: read the marker first.  After a few moments of concentration I looked up and read the marker “Vapors Harmful.”  There was something so wonderful though about creating those wings.  I thought about how fun it would be to let my La la fill them in with bright colors.

When the day of our date came around we sat at the kitchen table and colored.  She did it almost completely by herself and I just offered suggestions when she asked.  Sometimes you need to make butterfly wings and let your niece color them in so that she knows you’ll always be here to help her learn how to fly. 

I love the idea of wings.  We all need something that makes us soar.  Maybe your words will be someone’s wings.  Butterflies were first caterpillars.  Caterpillars are slow and really just look like worms.  If you didn’t already know you might not guess that those worms morph into something beautiful.  What if we remembered that a little more with the people around us?  What if we could draw out the beauty in a person with our words?  What if we could say over them words that would make them spread their wings and make the world a better place because we showed them that their true self wasn’t the caterpillar but the butterfly? 

Our words can either make people crawl or make them fly.  That doesn’t mean that words always have to be easy and I’m not talking about flattery.  The caterpillar has to go through some serious struggle to become a butterfly but our words should be helpful.

Words are free.  Encouraging someone or saying something that draws out the beauty of their soul doesn’t cost you anything.  Can you give one person wings today?  Can you make one person “fly”?  It doesn’t even take pixie dust!

Posted on July 28, 2015 by | Comments { 2 }

{ Get back up (DAY 535) }

IMG_5901“Too bad no one on that dock has a phone out so they could video us trying to get out.  I bet it would go viral when we fall in the water trying to get out of this kayak.”  These were my words as we paddled up to wooden dock several yards away. I should have kept my mouth shut.

Last Sunday was a gorgeous day.  After church my dad spontaneously decided we should rent kayaks and head out to the river.  It was a grand idea and off we went.  My friend Malia came with us and we laughed a lot trying to figure out how to be a good team and row in a straight line.  Our course pretty much looked like a bunch of Z’s strung together for the first hour.  Towards the end of the time though we had gotten in sync and were enjoying the outdoors.

I was grateful as we rowed up to the dock with all the people sun bathing and hanging out that we had finally figured out a good rhythm.  Still, we had to actually get out of the tippy kayak and on to the dock without splashing awkwardly overboard.  Thankfully we manged to gracefully exit the kayak.  Mind you we had about 15 people watching us.  We pulled the kayak up onto the dock and here is where it happened.  Reading this next part in slow motion will make it better.

I grabbed the front of the kayak and stared walking up the dock.  Two steps past the large group of people I felt for a split second the most interesting sensation of…flying.  Whoosh! Wait for it.  My feet were literally straight out in front of me and then with a grand splat I landed on my rear.  And because I’m like an old person I could have cared less what all the people around me thought and just wanted to make sure I had no broken bones.  It was hilarious.  I can only imagine what it looked like when I went air born for that split half second.  I wish I could have seen my stunned face.  After getting the wind back in my lungs I tore off my flip flops and dropped them in the kayak, picked up the end I had been carrying, and walked off.

Sometimes life is like that.  We’re walking along doing our thing and then bam! we are on our derrieres and not quite sure what happened.  So the next time life trips you up I hope you take a deep breath, laugh it off, get back up, and keep walking.  Also learn from your mistakes: don’t wear flip flops on a wet wood dock.  😉

(Picture taken by my dad who was the only one brave enough to take his phone out on the water…and smart enough to put it in a plastic bag)

Posted on July 21, 2015 by | Comments { 0 }

{ Desires (DAY 534) }

IMG_5679Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about desires and contentment.  It seems that if you tell someone you have desires for something they think you’re not content.  While that very well may be true I don’t think that’s always the situation.  I believe the two can go hand in hand and while it may be a tricky balance it’s possible.

Desires aren’t bad things.  I don’t know what your desire is.  Maybe your desire is to attend college, land a certain job, marry the love of your life, have children, start a non profit, travel the world, be fit, be healthy, be smarter, own pretty clothing, be a small business owner, find a cure for a disease, or become president.  I don’t know what your desire is but many (certainly not all though) desires are healthy ones and come from a healthy place.  We were created to have interests and wants.  It’s only when you have an over desire for something (i.e. it consumes you) that it becomes a problem.  If your desire is making you unhappy, impatient, irritable, or angry because you’re not getting it then you probably have an over desire.  Yet if not, your longing doesn’t have to be sinful.

Sure desires for all these healthy and good things can’t satisfy us.  But the longing can point us to something more, something that is actually the most amazing thing.  Only Jesus can satisfy us.  I love this quote by C.S. Lewis in his book Till We Have faces.  He says, “It was when I was happiest that I longed most…The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing…to find the place where all the beauty came from.”  Our longing reminds us that the best is yet to come.  Our longing says we were created for a better world.  Our longing reminds us that there is sin but one day it will all be gone.  Our longing reminds us that ultimately we need Jesus.  There is no need for you to deny to yourself or others the things that you really hope for and desire.

You can simultaneously hope for something in the future while also being content.   I think thankfulness is key here.  I think appreciating the beauty and gifts of now cause contentment in your life.  Looking ahead is a beautiful thing.  Gratefulness for the gifts right now is equally important.  Have both, and enjoy where you are now and look forward to where you hope to be one day.

Posted on July 7, 2015 by | Comments { 6 }

{ Tom’s Thumb (DAY 533) }

IMG_5602 IMG_5596 IMG_5582 IMG_5580 IMG_5583“Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, till you find your dream.  A dream that will need all the love you can give, every day of your life for as long as you live.” ~Sound of Music

Hello friends! Last week we took a spontaneous trip down to the beach to see friends-who-might-as-well-be-family.  Every year we go down to see them while they are on vacation and sometimes we hike Tom’s Thumb.  The past few years I haven’t been able/willing to do the hike but this year I was like, “Let’s go!”  I knew I would probably physically pay for doing this hike but I knew it would be worth it and sure enough it was spectacular.

There’s something about trekking through dense forest/bush only to come out onto a glorious view of the ocean.  And there is something exhilarating about climbing straight up a hill and making it to the top to stand on the edge of a cliff.

For the last half of the trek up Tom’s Thumb you literally have to just keep your eyes down and put one foot in front of the other.  The incline is so steep you’re practically crawling up and a few times when my shoes didn’t have traction I had to pull on the long grass around me to make it to the next foothold.

Sometimes life is kind of like that.  You just have to put one foot in front of the other.  But here’s the good news, if you keep on pressing in you’ll make it to the top.  And the view?  Well it’s totally worth it.

UPDATE!!!  $92,419.82  To everyone that donated for my birthday and for the incredible anonymous donation that came to my house THANK YOU! YOU PEOPLE ARE AMAZING!  And if you didn’t get to donate to help children in India get an education then you can donate here!

Posted on June 30, 2015 by | Comments { 5 }

{ Rest (DAY 532) }

IMG_5384Light bulb moments strike when you’re least expecting it.  Last week when I was minding my own business and teaching a student I said something I’ve said about 3,711 while teaching piano.  “Please make sure you count that rest.”  Wait. Pause. Rest.

Most of my students tend to rush the rhythm of the songs.  And taking the time to count out a whole measure of resting is like torture to them.  As adults in a bustling world I think we might have the same mentality though.  We rush around just trying to get done what we’re doing to get on to the next thing.  Or we try to hurry through this season because the next one looks more exciting, happier, you fill in the blank.  We look down on rest or at the very best consider it a luxury.

What if we’re doing ourselves more harm than good by racing along?  What if the rests are just as important to what we are doing?  What if the rests are actually vital?  Maybe, just maybe, the scriptures are on to something when they say that God rested on the 7th day.  If anyone doesn’t need rest it’s God but he does anyway.

It’s in the pauses of the song that the other melodies and sounds round out and feel richer for having the moments of quiet.  The space in between the notes is just as important to the intent of the author of the piece as the notes are.

I don’t know about you but I feel guilty when I rest.  Just this past week I was determined to take a day off at home and rest since I haven’t been feeling too great.  Yet when my rest day finally got there I cleaned like a crazy lady and did laundry and made dinner and all sorts of things.  It’s not that those aren’t wonderful things.  It’s not that I didn’t feel better when I was done cleaning (mentally, not physically…) but it wasn’t rest.  I want to feel productive and like I’m doing something.

Rest is doing something.  Real rest is productive.  Rest resets our thinking and gives us a chance to breath.  The pauses are just as important to our life melodies as the notes are.  We come face to face with our own humanity when we pause.  More than that though I think we can see God in the rest.  “Be still and know that I am God”, he says.  Rest reminds us that God is in control.  How can we hear his still small voice if we’re always rushing around hurrying the rhythm along?  After rest we may just hear his love notes a bit more clearly and distinctly.

Posted on June 23, 2015 by | Comments { 2 }

{ Father’s Day (DAY 531) }

IMG_0134He’s the first man I loved and the one I’ll love the longest.  My dad is amazing and I can’t believe I get to be his daughter.  Last Sunday I perched on a school lunch table bench and listened as person after person stood up and honored my dad.  I thought I would burst with pride.  Here’s the thing: my dad is a humble, steady (oh so steady!), caring, wise, generous, Jesus loving, servant just like everyone said.   He’s all that and more x100.  He’s been serving the church for….well…as long as I can remember.  More than that though he’s been serving our family since before I was born and for that I’m grateful.

I didn’t make my dad a father but he’s made me a better woman because of getting to be his daughter.  He’s challenged me to love Jesus by following Christ in such a way that I knew it wasn’t fake.  Sure he can quote scripture but he also lives it out. He always points me to Jesus.  He challenges me to be the best version of myself I can be.

Daddy thank you for being here for me.  Thank you for loving me with all my flaws and mess.  Thank you for laughing with me. Thank you for all the hugs and talks and walks.  Thank you for being your creative, generous self.  I love how you can make anything and how you never stop learning.  You’re the best! I love you daddy!  Happy Father’s Day!

Forever and always,
Your little girl.

(Picture: Christmas 2014, Dad and baby B.)

Posted on June 21, 2015 by | Comments { 0 }

{ Casting (DAY 530) }

IMG_6659“I keep putting it down and then picking it up.” “Difficult not to keep a rope tied to the anxieties after throwing them!”  These are comments I keep hearing from people I know.  Anxiety seems to be a plague among us.  I know I have struggles with it.  I know it’s a disease that will need to continually be fought in different ways and seasons.  My mom mentioned today how she’d read that 95% of the things we fear or worry about wont actually happen.

The scriptures state in Psalms 55:22 to “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Then again in 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”  (Emphasis added) If you’re a Christian you’ve probably heard these verses so many times you just now skimmed them.  I know I’ve done that.

In this passage in Psalms the Hebrew word for cast means to throw, hurl, or fling.  That’s pretty intense terminology.  It shows that we can commit to God’s care our worries and anxieties.  When we look at the verse in 1 Peter the Greek echos the same thought.  We are literally called to “Give up to God” our anxieties.  And not just one of them….he takes it a step further… he wants you to give him all your anxieties.

So here’s what I realized.  I need less fishing casting in my life and more shot put casting.  If we are casting our cares in the same way we would fish we just reel them back in but if we cast our cares upon the Lord, like someone shot putting, we literally fling it as far away from us as we possibly can and leave it there.

Why waste so much time worrying and being anxious over things that aren’t even likely to happen?  We can give up this anxious toil because God cares for us and promises to sustain us though whatever happens.  News flash: we aren’t God and we don’t have to carry this burden.

So if we are going to take something away (anxiety) what are we going to replace it with?  It’s simple and profound but I think a lot of it comes down to three words: thanksgiving, prayer, and praise.  This doesn’t mean we have to be happy all the time!  It does mean we can turn our thoughts toward the promises and comfort of the scriptures and give thanks for what God has done and what he will do.  It means praying without ceasing simply as a continual conversation with God.  It means we aren’t hopeless or helpless.  While that shot put stone may be heavy for me it weighs nothing to God.  He can carry it…it doesn’t have to pull you down anymore.

Posted on June 16, 2015 by | Comments { 4 }

{ The Cupcake Mission (DAY 529) }

IMG_5265In our house birthdays have always been a big deal.  My parents taught us how to celebrate people and I absolutely love that.  This year though I didn’t really know what I wanted to do for my birthday.  Then I saw a girl on Instagram giving out balloons and handwritten letters to people on her special day and I thought, “I want to do something like that!”

So the days leading up to my birthday we made 5 batches of cupcakes and decorated them.  On my birthday we went around surprising people with them.  Showing up on someone’s doorstep with cupcakes is insanely fun! Honestly I want to do things like this more often.  I want to stop amidst the busy and say with my words and actions, “You’re loved, I’m thankful for you, and we can make life fun!”

I debated telling anyone about this secret cupcake mission but then I decided that I was really thankful someone shared their idea with me because it was a blast! I hope you go surprise some people this week because I know you will have a grand time.  Plus you never know what people are going through and you just may be the bright spot they need.  Also I really wish I could have given you all cupcakes!

Posted on June 9, 2015 by | Comments { 3 }