Monday, December 20, 2010

Permission to Myself.

Just RELAX, Heidi.

It's OK.

Just relax, and watch the rain outside your windows pouring down from the gray sky.

Just relax. Enjoy the sound of the rain hitting your roof as you sit on the couch.

Take in the scent of the cinnamon candle on your coffee table.

Allow yourself to stare at your red-and-green glowing Christmas tree. Remember where you bought each ornament. Chuckle at the memory of how you and Adam came to decide on a theme for your Christmas tree.

Notice the whir of the washing machine and dryer in the laundry room. Let it remind you that, even on your day off work, you have still accomplished some chores. Let that be a comfort to your mind which seems to think that you need to constantly be accomplishing something.

But please, do not let chores consume this day that was set aside for relaxing.

Heidi, your identity is not in how busy you are or how much you can accomplish.

It is okay to rest. It is okay to sit and to simply enjoy.

A day like this is so rare for you, Heidi. Don't waste it by tring to accomplish everything you can possbily think of.

Instead, find pleasure in the soft jazz Christmas music streaming over Pandora and enjoy the taste of your peppermint tea.

Do you want to close your eyes for a few moments and just half-sleep and half-listen to the music and the rain?

That's a lovely idea - go ahead,

it's ok.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Gathering of November Blogs...

Happy Sunday Everyone!

I'm enjoying a nice quiet day with the Christmas tree glowing, the rain falling outside, a warm house with chores slowly getting done, an awesome workout this morning, and a sweet husband to hang out with.

I'm also getting a chance to read some good blogs...

One of the bloggers I follow, Elizabeth Esther, hosts a gathering of bloggers and their writings one Saturday out of every month. Here at this link, bloggers have all posted their favorite piece of their own writing from the month of the November. Click on over! It's a great chance to be exposed to lots of different blogs, topics, and writing styles!

Have fun exploring!

And enjoy your Sunday!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Like A Floating Leaf.

Have you ever watched an autumn leaf fall off a tree?

Each leaf's descent is different. It's transition from being attached to the tree to it's destination of lying on the ground is a space of unknown.

There are times when the air is still and a leaf falls rather directly from the tree to the ground.

There are other times when the wind is strong and from the moment the leaf becomes unattached to the tree to the moment it finally touches the ground, it is caught in a swirling journey.

It is tossed by the wind. It is sent high into the air and then it starts to drift downward only to be caught again in a gust that swirls it in circles. The leaf is taken far from the tree and then, eventually, it lands on the ground in a new location as the wind begins to subside.

But it does eventually land.

Transitions can be difficult, can't they?

Whether they are short or long periods of time, the feeling of being "unattached" to something or someone and to have not yet arrived to solid ground or to a solid understanding can feel confusing as if you are being carelessly tossed by the wind.

But the wind that blows upon our lives is NOT careless.

Jesus said in John 3:8 that, "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from or where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Holy Spirit."

The Holy Spirit knows how He is guiding your transitions through these winds of change. He knows why He picked that moment to release you from what you were attached to and He knows where He is taking you next. His guiding can be mysterious and unpredictable, like a swirling wind, but it is also purposeful and trustworthy.

The next time you have the opportunity, watch a leaf take it's journey.

Notice the contentment in it's travel. Notice the willingness that it embodies in each moment.

It is not fighting the wind. It is not resisting each sway of it's journey.

It floats, it yields, and it swirls with beauty. It gives joy to those that watch it's graceful motion.

The leaf does nothing except to yield. And then it simply rests and floats on the wind.

Are we willing to yield to the Holy Spirit as He brings us through transition? Let's trust that He knows where He is blowing the wind in our lives and let's make it our delight to enjoy each moment of the journey.



This post was inspired by a conversation that a friend and I had when she met me during my lunch break a few weeks ago. As we were talking about the transitions we find ourselves in and how we were trying to deal with them, we watched the leaves fall from the trees around us and we felt God speak to us.

What about YOU? Are YOU experiencing any transition?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Post-Thanksgiving Post.

Well, life is back to normal. And for me, it happens to be a peaceful normal instead of the busy and stressed normal that I used to constantly find myself in. I am SO thankful for that.


My Thanksgiving Day was wonderful! Adam and I spent the day with his side of the family. We don't see the extended side of his family very often so I am always happy when I get a chance to see them and become more acquainted with that part of his family.
We also had a new treat this Thanksgiving. Adam's parents decided to "adopt" two Marines for the day from the base at Camp Pendleton. The city his parents live in puts together a whole event for these young soldiers - most of whom are having their first Thanksgiving away from family. It was so nice getting to know about these boys families and hear what military training has been like for them. That have quite the stories to tell! A wonderful blessing was to discover that both our marines were Christians and it was amazing to hear how God has been working in their lives while in training.



The Day-After-Thanksgiving was wonderful as well. The day-after-Thanksgiving has become a very important holiday in my family. We have TONS of traditions which include (but are not limited to) bagels, Starbucks, Hide-and-Go-Seek at the Christmas tree farm, decorating my parents house, TONS of pictures and filming, first sip of eggnog, teddy-bear ornament name draw, and the list goes on....
We had an amazing day and decided to finish the evening by watching some recently converted-to-DVD home videos. So Fun!

The picture is of me and Adam at the Christmas Tree Farm.





The long weekend ended with the grand finale of my sister's Junior Voice Recital. She is a vocal major at Long Beach State and is So. Incredibly. Talented. She was incredible! It was an hour of music sung just by her (well, one guy sang a duet with her) and she did an amazing job. She sang in a beautiful old chapel in Los Angeles and her voice left me with chills and tears throughout her whole performance. Her encore, "Great is Thy Faithfulness" was dedicated to our grandparents and she left the audience in rapture. I had the privilege of being the recital announcer which was fun until it resulted in my most embarrassing moment EVER. I don't think my cheeks have ever been so red!



All-in-all, an incredible weekend. What is also incredible is that, because of the peace I am experiencing in my daily life, I'm not too sad about watching a holiday pass. It was fun and wonderful and memories were made, but I am also enjoying the quiet and the calm of my daily life. I am thankful that I am learning how to have boundaries and to order my days in a healthy way for myself. That is something I am definitely thankful for during this post-Thanksgiving week.


What about YOU? How was your weekend?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give Thanks.


I'm so glad our country has a holiday set aside to express our thankfulness and remember our blessings.



Although the nickname "Turkey Day" has been beginning to take over the name of "Thanksgiving" for this holiday (at least around where I live), the point of today really isn't just to eat turkey. Or ham, or chicken, or pork for that matter.



The point is to Give Thanks.

"Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men, but be careful that you do not, and leave out the gratitude." E. P. Powell.


Here are some things that I am personally thankful for:

~My husband: He has worked so hard this year and perservered through so much and through everything has developed an even gentler heart towards me. I love him so much!

~My family: It is such a blessing to have both my family and my husband's family all in orange county. We may not always have the blessing of having everyone live so close and I cherish it now while we do have that luxury.

~My home: My home is increasingly becoming a place of refuge and comfort. As construction tasks subside and as my homemaking abilities increase, I am finding more joy in spending time in the comfort of my home.


~Netflix and a Blu-Ray player: While this may seem silly, these two things have given me and my husband so much rest recently, chances to laugh together, and chances to embrace some silly fun.

~Our Christmas Tree: Freshly decorated and amazingly fragrant, our Noble Fir is filling our house with holiday scent and beauty.

~Today and Tomorrow: Thanksgiving and the Day-After-Thanksgiving are two of my favorite days of the year! My family has made an entirely separate and wonderful holiday out of the day-after-Thanksgiving and I couldn't be happier that this time of the year has finally arrived!

~Salvation: My relationship with Jesus and my assurance of salvation is something that I don't consciously say "thank-you" for on a daily basis. However, it is the foundation and center of my life. Everything else that I do in my life hinges on the fact that I am a child of God and have received salvation. This is the true source of all my gratitude.



Enjoy this video of some of my favorite Thanksgiving hymns:


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Frozen in Time.

My husband and I had just gotten back late at night from our Friday-night date.

We walked downstairs to our bedroom. I threw my purse on the floor and we flopped on our bed to lie down for just a few minutes before getting ready for bed.

Then, looking above me, I saw two itsy-bisty white spiders hanging from the blades of the ceiling fan above us. And when I say itsy-bitsy, I mean that literally. They were really small - like babies. In fact, they were babies.

I jumped up to squash the two little invaders only to find that as soon as I squashed them two more were hanging down from the fan. Once those were squashed, two more were hanging down. "What IS this????" I shrieked.

"Heidi, look..." my husband said and pointed to a dirty looking streak on our white ceiling. What looked to me at first just to be a streak of i-don't-know-what ended up being at least two hundred baby spiders all crawling in a thick line waiting to take their first little journey-of-life off the edge of the ceiling fan and into my bed!

Disgusting.




You all remember the old version of Charlotte's Web where at the end Charlotte dies and then all of her babies are born and then they all fly away off of the barn post and into the wind, right?
Well, that's exactly what these babies were trying to do....except they wanted to fly into my bed!

So-incredibly-disgusting.

And, can I just say, I am SO glad we got home exactly when we did, and laid on our beds exactly when we did, so that we actually saw this happening from the beginning?? Can you imagine having two hundred baby spiders jump on you all night in your sleep only to wake up to a nightmare????

Adam started spraying the ceiling with Raid and then they all just started to lower themselves to the floor with their webs and he started spraying the air to kill as many as he could.

We slept on the couch that night.

The following night, I bought Raid bug bombs and before we went out on our Saturday-night date (I know, two dates in a row! I was so excited!) we set the bombs off in each of the bedrooms downstairs as well as our upstairs living area in order to kill every living bug, spider, or other pesky nuisance still living in our house.

What I came home to four hours later interested me.

On our bottom stair-step there was a [sorta] big spider laying dead. It had come out when we were gone and had been frozen in its tracks.

"Interesting to see what happens when I'm gone," I thought.

Then I sat on the couch and saw another spider - only this one was hanging from the ceiling by it's single-threaded web about a foot above the coffee table. This spider had also come out when we were gone and had literally been killed in action. It's position was frozen in time for us to see.

The good news was that I could rest assured that all the creatures in my house were dead - I had obvious proof.
But observing these two spiders that were killed in their track and showed me what they were doing when I was gone got me to thinking:

What if people could see me when I think no one is watching?

What if my secret actions were frozen in time and put on display for all to see?

Would people be surprised? Would I be ashamed?

So since this weekend, those are some things I've been pondering. How would I act if the curtain was pulled back and people saw my secret actions? How would my speech be different if I knew others could hear me? Would my attitude change?

Now, I know we all are human and need to relax once in a while, but just think for a moment. What is the REAL YOU that comes out when you think no one is watching? Because we all know that in reality, someone IS watching. And HE is the one we actually should care the most about.

So, I'm just thinking. Pondering. Hopefully improving some behaviors.

And I'm also reflecting on how grateful I am for Raid bug bombs.



PS...This isn't the only lesson that I have learned from spiders. Read about my other lesson here.






Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thank You, Dad.

As I laid in bed last night, my head on the pillow and my body curled on it's side, I couldn't stop coughing. All I wanted was to sleep and allow the rest to heal my throat but the sinus drainage just would not ease up.

As I laid there, I tried to figure out a way to get the coughing to stop so that I could fall asleep. And as I laid there thinking, my mind was transported to many years ago.

In my mind's eye, I saw a nine-year-old strawberry blond girl, lying on her Ikea bunk-bed with the built-in desk underneath. I saw a six-year-old girl surrounded by stuffed animals and clasping a floppy golden dog and a stiff blue bear and lying on an identical Ikea desk/bunk bed. The whole top perimeter of the room was bordered with kitty ballerinas in shades of pink and grey. The room was lit up by the glow of a fishtank and the only sound to be heard was the rhythmic breathing of the six-year-old and the incessant coughing of the nine-year-old: me.

I'm sure there were many nights growing up when I couldn't stop coughing. But I specifically remember this one. I remember my dad coming in (he always took the late night shifts when we needed something as kids) and propping me up with a bunch of pillows. He said that I would sleep better propped up because it would help my sinuses drain and help me not to cough.

Then he gave me Saltine crackers. I don't remember the exact wording of the reason he gave as to why Saltines work but I remember it being something like, "the crackers soak up the phlegm." He stayed with me while I ate a few and the coughing subsided. After I was settled, he left me with a half-full bag of saltines, "in case you start coughing in the middle of the night."


Then he left me with another goodnight prayer and kiss on top of my head.


So last night, after remembing that night from many years ago, I rolled out of bed. I went to my kitchen and grabbed the box of whole wheat crackers - the closest thing I had that resembled Saltines. Then I grabbed a cushion off the back of my couch and headed back to bed. I propped myself up the way my dad did and I munched a few of the crackers to stop the coughing - and then I munched a couple more because they tasted good.


Within five minutes, I was asleep.


And now,

I want to say thank you.


Thank you, Dad.

Thank you, Dad, for being such a loving, hands-on dad. Thank you for your gentle touch with all your daughters and for being so understanding when we were sick. Thank you for still being that way now. Thank you for your example; it has taught me a lot - especially when it comes to falling asleep with a sinus cough! ;-) Plus so much more.

I love you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Holiday's Have Started!

And in the past couple years, the holidays have flown by WAY too quickly. I refuse to let that happen again. So this year I am being (or trying to be) very intentional in my celebrations.

And perhaps I got a little overzealous - I started listening to Christmas music October 27th. I have NEVER done that before. It has always been a strict rule in my family that the eggnog and the Christmas music stays locked up until the day after Thanksgiving.

Thing is, I'm a married woman with my own little family now and I'm learning that I can bend some rules, perhaps change them completely, as I see fit. And listening to Christmas music whenever I am in the mood, is definitely an awesome choice to make!

So....the holiday season (which, for me, usually starts on Halloween) actually started October 27th - this year's official day of whipping out the Christmas tunes!


While October 27th may be my official holiday start, this year's Halloween fun is not to be glossed over. Now, I know there's controversy over the whole "Halloween-thing." Believe me, I know. There were years where my family didn't celebrate, there were years we went traditional and simply trick-or-treated, and there were years we found "alternatives." But quite a few years ago we decided to just have some stinkin' fun. And this year was no exception. In fact, this year took the cake.


My parents took the whole family to Disneylands Halloween Party. We all dressed up, ate awesome food, enjoyed a totally transformed and mysterious Disneyland, watched a special Halloween fireworks show, danced with Buzz Lightyear and Friends, rode an even scarier version of Space Mountain, and trick-or-treated around the park. Not to mention taking pictures. Lots of pictures.




Here's one of me and my husband dressed up as mad scientists. Yes, I sprayed my hair pink. We had an awesome night, laughed hard, ate way too much candy and didn't get nearly enough sleep that night for work the next day. It was awesome.



Now that it's November, there's a few things I have been doing to cultivate the celebration of Thanksgiving and the cozy autumn season. I've been working on my goal of learning more hymns on the piano and I have started with a few Thanksgiving hymns. I have my fall decorations out - little scarecrows, a fall-colored tablecloth, gourds and pumpkins and indian corn, and candles. Lots and lots of candles.

I really want to embrace this season. I want to smell all the smells and see all the decorations. I want to hear the music and sing and play along. I want to take the pictures and write down the experiences. I want to make memories.

To do these things, I have to be intentional. In the midst of a busy life, Hallmark memories often get swept under the rug. To prevent this, I am going to write a list of experiences I would like to have this holiday season and what I need to do to make those things happen. In fact, I'm making that list as soon as I hit the publish button for this post.


Any ideas for what I should put on my list? Any fun traditions anyone has or fun experiences they have enjoyed in years past?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Unexpected Blessings.

I don't like fighting sickness.

Especially when it means having to cancel piano lessons for a third week in a row with two of the most wonderful little sisters in the world. Not only do I feel bad about holding their progress back another week, but I miss my weekly dose of getting to spend time with them.

However,

I believe God has set aside tonight for me.

On the outside, it looks like a nothing-special-sorta-disappointing night. An evening filled with cancelled plans, a sore throat, an overworking immunity system, stretchy sweats, pony-tailed hair, and dishes waiting to be washed doesn't sound very glamorous.

And it's not, really.

But there are some special things about an evening like this.

A husband needing some de-stressing comes home and puts on his sweats too. Netflix movies give his mind some rest while I relax by writing. A steaming, homeade latte for him while I keep downing cups of hot tea with slices of lemon.

Tonight is a chance for my husband and I to occupy our home. It is a chance to use our home as a place of healing and respite. Tonight we can light our candles, enjoy the Thanksgiving decorations that were put up over the weekend, get cozy in our sweats, and just be.

Just Be.

Even when we aren't in the same room, I enjoy hearing him move around in the other room. I love knowing he is near. I love walking past him and being available for a seven minute conversation before we each go back to what we were doing. I like being able to share a quick-something that we just remembered by talking from room to room. I like being available to live life with him.

So, although it took my body fighting sickness and a night off of school for my husband, we are getting the blessing of occupying the same space tonight and just being together. Together, we are healing body, mind and soul.

And I'm sure that whatever tomorrow brings, we will be better because of tonight.



What are some unexpected blessings that YOU have received lately?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Doing it Afraid.

I make the decision.

I AM going to go.

I start getting ready forty minutes before I have to be there and I leave twelve minutes before 7:00. I sing along to my most recent favorite worship songs on repeat as I drive and follow directions on my iphone.

I pull into the church parking lot and follow the signs set up for parking.

And, right before I open my car door to leave my little, safe, personal world, it starts to happen.

Anxiety - but not too severe. Not what it used to be like in new situations. But still, I couldn't help but be nervous.

I have learned how to control my anxiety in I'm-new-to-this-group situations by pretending on the outside with my actions that everything is fine. I am careful with the expression that my face is showing so that I don't look scared. I try to move in a comfortable manner so I don't look awkward. All the while, my inside is tightening and my hands and face are starting to become warm.

I am greeted by the girl at the front. The first of many ladies I would be meeting.

I follow her directions and walk up the stairs. Everyone in the room is talking in groups or in pairs.

There are three rows of chairs. I quietly sit in the middle row (not too forward to sit in the front on my first time but not too cowardly to sit in the back, either).

When it comes time for everyone to be seated, I am the ONLY one in the middle row. Apparently, everyone else likes to sit in the backrow.

As the worship starts, I try to remind myself that everyone else is here to worship - NOT here to watch the girl in the second row and criticize how she looks when she is worshipping.

The teaching starts. It's a small group that night so the teacher moves us all over to one side for a more intimate setting. I pull out my journal. I NEED to remember all that he is saying...it is so good. However, I am the only one taking notes.

Teaching is over. A girl comes and talks to me before we break off into small group. I really like her and I am thankful we are getting to know each other, but my nervous habits are popping out. Not knowing how much eye contact to give, worrying about the position of my hands, wondering if I am blushing, worrying if I will say something stupid.

Time to go to break off into groups. I follow this girl (who happens to be the girl who greeted me at the door) and she explains how the sessions usually work. The rest of the ladies join us for the open-share group.

Sweet and genuine ladies. Very welcoming.

We head into our share time. I try to give eye contact and use my body language to encourage each speaker. Then it is my turn and I get nervous again. I am much more comfortable encouraging others as they share than sharing what is going on inside me.

I share. The ladies give nods of understanding. The ladies seem to totally understand. But still, when I am done, I can't help but feel that many of the things I said, or how I said them, sounded a little silly.

We pray. That's when I finally feel comfortable. Praying for the lady on my right and I am finally able to speak genuinely from my heart because I am right at the feet of Jesus speaking to Him on this lady's behalf.

We finish prayer. I become self-conscious again.

I walk out and the girl I prayed for walks with me. She shares a bit of her story with me and I learn how much we are able to relate. We get to the door where I choose to head to my car and she chooses to stay and fellowship. I give an awkward "I'll-see-you-soon" and she gives a non-awkward smile and goodbye.

I walk down the stairs, back to my car, and as soon as I get in and close my car door, I feel safe again. Back inside my safe, little, secure world. My own little environment.

I drive home and sing the same worship songs that I sang on the way there and I reflect on my night.

It was a GOOD night. It was where I needed to be. And I am pretty sure it is where I need to continue to be.

I don't want to let my fear of entering into new groups and new environments stop me from fellowship and growth and blessing.

The group was filled with sincere, loving people. The worship leader was genuine. The teacher was loving and an excellent communicator. The share-group was authentic and safe and filled with lovely ladies.

The only problem was that my heart was filled with fear. A fear grown from the seed of self-focus.

My prayer is that as I choose to "do it afraid," as one of my favorite bloggers would say, that I will give the enemy less power in my life so that the Lord will be able to work in my heart and heal me and bless me.

I am thankful for last night.

I am thankful for the fellowship and for what I learned.

I am thankful for how God is healing me and teaching me.

And I am looking forward to the day when I am able to walk into new situations without anxiety. Until that day though, I will do it afraid.



What about YOU? What are some situations that bring out your fears or anxieties? Do you get nervous in new environments?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I'm Loving....

....lots of things right now.

But here are a few biggies.

I'm loving...The Weather.

Thank you, So Cal, for actually giving us some weather that makes it feel like autumn this October! So deliciously cozy!

I'm loving...Quiet Evenings with Candles.

I have not been that busy running to and fro; however, my time has been well occupied.
I have been spending a few evenings a week at home. I have been opening a window to hear the rain and make the house cool enough for slippers. I have been doing lots of cooking and watching Redbox or Netflix-delivered movies. I've even been practicing my voice and piano music again. I've been doing all these things to the quiet yet enlivening glow of candles all throughout my house. I am LOVING my home evenings.

I'm loving...My Sisters.

Talking on the phone. Hearing details no one else is privy too. Laughing at things that only make us laugh. Getting together to work on piano music. Having comment conversations on facebook. Watching all three of them grow into beautiful (young) women. Nothing replaces a sister (or three)!

I'm loving...My Husband.

He is quite the guy; I love him SO much! He works so hard in every area of his life. He has so many big responsibilities pulling at him in this busy season of his life, and yet he still takes the time to share himself with me. He reserves our date night for just us. He sneaks in an extra date when he can. He calls me on his lunch. He shares his heart even when he is tired and also listens to mine. His positive attitude continues to uplift our household and bring me peace.


Thank you, Lord, for these - and so many other - blessings. You have withheld no good thing from me.


What about YOU? What are you loving these days?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I Used To.... Now I....

I recently found an awesome blogger, Mary Kathryn Tyson. I love the authenticity with which she writes and the humorous way she often approaches truth.

I loved this idea that she did on her blog and I thought I would do it here too!


I Used To.... . Now I....


I used to allow my fear of people's opinion to govern my actions. Now I choose to do what I want or what is best for me, despite my still-present fear of what people might think.


I used to trust anyone. Now I am more careful with who I believe.


I used to never question God's love for me. Now I struggle with understanding God's love.


I used to not be okay with not having the right answers. Now I realize that it's okay to not know everything and it's good to embrace the process of God maturing me.


I used to be a vocal performance, then music education, then music therapy major. Now I have one more class before I graduate with my B.S. in Education.


I used to not understand what it meant to lose someone. Now I do.


I used to not be able to relate to the depth of people's pain. Now I have more experiential grounds on which to relate.


I used to read blogs. Now I read AND write blogs.


I used to not be very good at saying "no". Now I am much better at setting good boundaries for myself.


I used to think God's rules were very black-and-white. Now I think there is a bit more color and mystery to His ways.


I used to strive to be perfect. Now I strive to be closer to the heart of God.


I used to rarely go to the movies. Now I often go to the movies. (Thank you, $2 and $3 theaters!)


I used to be legalistic. Now I am beginning to understand grace.


I used to think that my opinion was the correct opinion. Now I realize that I am often wrong.


I used to love ice cream. Now I STILL love ice cream!





What about YOU? Fill in the Blanks: I used to_____. Now I _____.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Jesus Loves Me.

I am learning that Jesus loves me.

(you would think I already know...since the Bible tells me so...)

I used to know He loved me.

And I am beginning to know again.

Not just hope. Not just wish. Not just pretend.

But KNOW. that Jesus. Loves. Me.

My heart and my mind are beginning to come together on this subject. My heart has known the truth all along. I couldn't give up the belief that God loved me and really desired good things for me as His child.

But my mind wandered. My mind doubted. My mind started trying to piece together all the hard things that started happening over and over and over and it eventually came to a belief that maybe Jesus didn't love me that much after all.

And, without realizing that my mind was believing that, I began to approach my life as if that was true. It was when I began to evaluate my actions and the way I thought about myself that I began to realize what I believed about Jesus' love (or lack thereof) for me.

After much wrestling in my own strength, after some honest conversations with close friends and family, and after walking in obedience to truth even when I am unsure, I am beginning to feel God renewing my mind.

He is opening my eyes to His love. He lavishly poured love on me this weekend. And He is giving me the ability to see things through the filter of His love.

This is the love that I used to walk in. But as I rediscover it, it feels so NEW.

Perhaps it is because I had never known what it was like to live without His love before.

Now, after experiencing what it feels like to walk in a way that doesn't accept His abundant love for me, I am more grateful and more thirsty for His love than ever before.





What about YOU? Are you experiencing God's Love? Or do you struggle with believing He loves you?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Relational Conflict.

Hmmm, that is going to be uncomfortable.

Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.

Hmmm, that looks like it might hurt.

Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.

Hmmm, that’s hard.

Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.

Ignoring.

Procrastination.

Living in False Reality.

That is how I usually choose to deal with conflict.

I do NOT like dealing with conflict. I don’t want to hurt anyone's feelings. But I do want to take care of myself and do what is healthy for me. But I can’t be honest with the other party because it will hurt their feelings.

Indecisive.

Confused.

Hiding.

That’s me right now. (At least, that’s me in the area of relational conflict. Other areas are doing much better :-)

But this area: Relational Conflict. It can take me for quite a spin.

I do not know how to do what is healthy for me because I am so concerned about hurting other people’s feelings.

I recently started focusing much more directly on learning about some of my issues in codependency and lack of healthy boundaries. And then wouldn’t you know it? THE situation of all situations has arisen in the midst of my focus on healing in this area.

Do I want to deal with it?

Not a bit.

Am I going to deal with it? In a HEALTHY way?

Well, I sure hope so. I’m not giving any promises but I know I really need to heal and start making the right choices in this area of my life. So, I sure hope I deal with this correctly.

When I look at why it is so hard to stand up for what is healthy for me I have to force myself to ask these two questions:

1 – What is motivating your actions right now? The answer is usually fear. Fear of hurting others, fear of not being liked, fear of being misunderstood.
2 – What is God’s desire for you in this situation? Usually – though not always – I seem to find that the answer is what I fear doing the most. Awesome.

So, this weekend, amidst some really fun plans like:

~pumpkin patching and movie going with my husband,
~wedding flower designing with my lovely florist friend,
~ and birthday celebrating for my Dad and sister's boyfriend with my family,

I will also be doing some healing, decision making, and listening from the Lord in this struggling area in my life.

And hopefully in that process, I will also do some receiving of courage.

Because truth be known,

I’m afraid.


How do YOU deal with conflict? How do you decide to make the decisions that are healthy for you when you feel unhealthy pressure and guilt from the other side?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Disneyland-Day Recap



It was seriously one of the greatest days I've had all year. So.Much.Fun.


I loved getting to wake up and make breakfast for my husband and me before he left for work. I loved taking my time to get dressed. I had a blast listening to "The Best of Weird Al" in the car (further evidence of my nerd-like tendancies) and was excited by the bolts of lightening I kept seeing on my drive to the Magical Kingdom. Before I entered the park, I stopped at the nearest Starbucks and saw an old choir friend from Chapman now working as the store manager. (Too bad it didn't result in a free latte...)


I started my morning off at the beautiful fireplace in the California Grand Hotel. Fireplace, live piano music, vanilla latte, and journal....what could be better? I spent some time in the book of Philippians, specifially in Chapter 3 verse 14,
"Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us..."

In the moment I read that verse, it was an incredible reminder to me to continue to release the good memories of the past and live for what God has for me in today. In that moment, I felt a nudge to NOT go around Disneyland reminiscing about all the memories I have experienced there, but rather to go explore new things and to live moment by moment and embrace new experiences.

It was SO freeing and SO fun!

I didn't take pictures of everything I did; but here's a few of the pics that I did take:

Me, after devotions, and off to start the day:



The band on Main Street; I listened to the whole concert and it was SO good!



I chose the hand-dipped corn dog as my splurge for the day and it was delicious! I enjoyed some shade and some people watching while I ate.



The Halloween Decorations are so fun around the park! Not gruesome or scary, but totally whimsical and family-friendly.




I watched a musical comedy show at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon. Hilarious!!! I cannot believe I have never seen this before and I can't wait to show my family!



I went to the Tiki Room for the first time in about 10 years and had a blast. Then, I went on over to watch Caption EO. Here's me in my 3-D glasses waiting for the show.



So, there's my little tour of what parts of my day were like! Besides being a super-fun time, God also spoke some wonderful things to my heart and allowed me to have the ability to fully embrace what He was leading me in that day.

Perhaps, in the near future, I will share....


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Disneyland-Heidi-Day-Adventure.

Tomorrow I get to go somewhere totally fun.

Where?

Disneyland!

And I am going with somebody totally cool.

Who?

Myself!

It’s true. I am going to Disneyland on my day-off-work and I am going alone.

And I am SO excited.

I have wanted to spend a day at Disneyland by myself since the day I was a junior in high school and spent two hours in Fantasyland annotating the book “Fahrenheit 451” for my English class while my mom and little sisters went on all the rides. I originally thought it would be a chore. However, I didn’t want to stay at home when my family went to Disneyland so I had to bring my homework along. Those two hours were so much fun and one of my highlights of all my Disneyland experiences.

Disney music all around = awesome. Delicious smells = awesome. People watching = awesome. Annotating literature surrounded by all these things = double awesome.

(I know, I know. Possibly a bit strange? Definitely nerdy. But Oh.So.True.)

So since that day, I have wanted to spend an entire day myself wandering through the magic of Disneyland and California Adventure and soaking it in from an entirely different perspective than I normally do. I love exploring this place in different ways. (That is the beautiful thing about having an annual pass.)

“What do you plan on doing all day by yourself?” you may ask.

Well, as Anne Shirley would say, “there is so much scope for the imagination” at Disneyland and I want to go with my Bible, my book, and my journal, and a few pens and let my imagination and inspiration run free!

I’m envisioning…

…Curling up by the fireplace in the California Grand Hotel and having my devotions. …
Walking down Main St. and looking at all the details I always miss in those adorably decorated windows.
…Sitting with my journal by one of the many water locations and just writing whatever comes to mind.
…Tasting one of their huge corn dogs for the first time or perhaps indulging in an ice cream cone. I haven’t decided which one yet.
...Planting myself in a crowded spot and people watching.
…Sitting down on an ordinary bench while letting my mind imagine the unordinary.

So, something I have wanted to do for seven years (I’m not exaggerating) is finally coming true!
So this dream (“a wish that your heart makes”) is finally being realized at “the place where dreams come true!” [would you care for anymore Disney references? I got plenty!]

I’ll take some pictures and maybe post a few of them next week when I recap the experience of the Disneyland-Heidi-Day-Adventure.

Wish me luck as I enjoy my zipadee-dooda-Day!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How They Make Home.





She has a delicious scent plug-ins in her room. She is the queen of accessories and always knows how to glam up my outfit when I come over. She has her mementos, pictures, and verses decorating every corner of her room. She carries her iPod station or Macbook around to whatever room she is in and she picks the perfect playlist to set the desired mood for the atmosphere - whether it is a lazy afternoon by the pool or an early morning getting-dressed session. She opens mango salsa and spinach chips for an afternoon snack.

This is how she makes her space
beautiful.warm.inviting.home.

She is my sister.


Her fridge contains organic ingredients and healthy, raw dairy products. As an act of love, she spends time in the kitchen preparing meals and trying out new recipes for her family. She sets enticing snacks out all day long. She arranges the place mats at the dinner table closer together in order to facilitate better conversation and deeper community during the meal. She turns music on and has oil scent plug-ins. Visitors are greeted by the running water up the walkway, a welcome sign, and an unlocked door.

This is how she makes her space
beautiful.warm.inviting.home.


She is my best friend's mom.


She has a pot of freshly ground coffee brewing. She has a variety of coffee creamers to choose from to make every cup of coffee special. She arranges the furniture to facilitate easy conversation. She has at least two candles in every room and buys seasonal scents. She doesn't wait until company comes to light them but instead enjoys them every day. There is a music station on the counter and the sounds of worship music can usually be heard streaming from that corner. Musical instruments are placed around her house, cultivating an environment of creativity. She delights in the expression of beauty.

This is how she makes her space
beautiful.warm.inviting.home.


She is my mom.


I have been observing these women lately. I feel so "home" in their presence. I feel home in their "space." I have been observing what they do to cultivate these atmospheres that I enjoy so much. And, outside of their warm and loving personalities, I see some similarities.

Music.
Scents.
Food.
Conversation settings.
Aesthetic Beauty.


They all make a distinct effort to include these things in their home experiences. As I continue to build my home, I'm grateful for these woman (and others in my life) who I can glean from.


What do YOU do to create the environment you love in the space that you call your own?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Heart Is In H.B.

I belong here.

Whenever I come here, I feel like I'm home. Known. I know myself best here.

Just like the smell of freshly brewed coffee when I walk into my parents house, the smell of the long and soft green grass on the north side of the HB pier welcomes me home. It's as if the scent of the grass is saying,
"Hey Heidi! Good to see you again. Sit! Soak it in. Relax! Welcome home."

So I do.

And here I am.

A blown wish-flower stem lays next to me - the seeds already scattered by my big blow with all the breath I could muster.

Perhaps that why I feel like I belong here. So many wishes have been blown here by me during the course of my life. I am sure some of those wishes have taken root in this grass.
Perhaps I've recycled my wishes and have blown the same wishes I have helped to grow here. Blowing and Planting. Blowing and Planting. My wishes keep growing here in HB.

As I lay in this wish-sprinkled grass, I see an unoccupied picnic table to my far left. But in my mind's eye, there is much activity at that table.

In my mind's eye, My Grandma Clarice is spreading out a plastic, red-and-white checkered table cloth. It catches in the wind and my nine-year-old self runs to catch the corners and help her lay it down.

We all carry down the food and most of us are wearing over-sized Michigan sweatshirts. My mom holds my newly-born sister tightly bundled in a blanket. I switch between being a mature daughter helping with the dishes to being a pony-tailed girl who wants to roll down the hills with my six-year-old sister.

After a couple hours, it starts to get windy. My grandpa warns that we shouldn't be out when it is cold and damp. My mom rallies us up and my dad loads the car. I soak every last bit of the wind that I can before I get in the car and stare out the window at the ocean
.

I blink....and I'm back to reality.



As I'm laying on this ground where I've planted my wishes, I realize that my sometimes-wish of going back in time can only happen in the fond remembrances of my mind.

But the gentle swirling breeze around me and the rhythmic roar of the ocean before me reminds me that my future lies in forward motion. The whisper seems to say to me,

"It is good to know where you've come from. Be thankful for your roots, embrace your foundation, smile at your memories.

But live in the now.

And, without rushing, anticipate your future with joy.

And in this moment, laying on a bed of grass and childhood wishes,

Be Glad."




This post was first written in my journal, on a beautiful Sunday early-evening, in Huntington Beach, CA

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hurt By Love.

I have been hurt by Love.

No, I haven't been hurt by romance. I haven't experienced falling in love in a romantic relationship only to have the other person change their mind and let my heart go. I do have friends who have been hurt by love in this way and I have seen second-hand the pain they have endured.

But the hurt that I am referring to is different.

My heart has a deep capacity to love. That love causes me to attach very strongly to the things and people I love and when those things I love are lost or taken from me, my heart bleeds from the holes that the losses leave.

I don't remember being hurt much by love in my childhood or teen years. Of course, I wasn't much of a risk-taker back then either. During that time, I saved the majority of my love and the depth of my love for members of my family.

When I started college, however, things changed. I started to experience the freedom of giving away my love to others outside of my family. Not just giving my love as an act of service or ministry, but giving my love and receiving others love in a way that bound my heart with others.

I experienced a depth of friendships I had never known. I experienced the presence of Jesus in my life closer than ever before, and I experienced giving my full heart to the man I fell in love with. I discovered to an even greater degree how beautiful love is.

But it didn't take long for me to discover the intensity of pain that love can bring. It is true what Much-Afraid said that, "... if you really love someone you give that loved one the power to hurt and pain you in a way nothing else can."

Those that I love didn't mean to intentionally cause me pain. And those things that I loved such as security, unity, and ease had no control over the fact that my heart was hurt when I lost those things. Life happens.

Disappointments, changes, and new relational roles in my family brought confusion and pain.

The loss of a friendship that I never imagined my life without left sadness.

The loss of community and purpose I experienced at my old church left me in a season of brokenness.

The loss of my grandpa and my grandma tore out my heart and shook my foundation.

The loss of my unborn baby has threatened my ability to dare hope for what I long for in my future.


Yes, Love - and the giving away of my love - has caused me pain.

And now I can't help but wonder if all my pains, which were caused by my love, are keeping me from receiving the abundant Love of Jesus. The Love from Him that I used to receive so freely. The Love from Him that I used to receive without question.

I am realizing now, that because of my losses and the pain they have caused, I have begun to question if He truly loves me in the way I thought He did. This has made it difficult for me to approach Him with the freedom I used to enjoy. And thus, I have been kept from an abundant walk of joy with Him.

As I type this, I see now (if only a little glimmer) the reason God came down and died upon a cross for humankind. He loved us so much that He wanted to restore broken creation and, more importantly, restore perfect relationship with Him.

The pains I experienced were not God's fault. The pains are the result of the brokenness of creation and the sin that is so ever-present in the world.

But God can use my pains.

Just as He is now using them to show me more of the depth of WHY He came to die.

He came to make things right.

He came to make things new.

He came to cleanse those who would receive Him from sin.

He came to show us that It Is Happy To Love when we realize that He IS Love.


Even still, I look forward to the day when I reach the place where there will be no more pain as the result of my love.

As His Word says in Revelation 21:4

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things will be gone forever."

Thank you, Jesus!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy First Day of Autumn!


I thought yesterday was the start of autumn, but then I googled it this morning and discovered that for the United States, the start of the autumn season is TODAY!
Fun fact for ya: For Europe, the start of Autumn is tomorrow, September 23rd (at least for this year.)

I am taking so much delight in the fact that this year the start of autumn actually feels like autumn - even right here in Orange County, CA!

Gray skies, mysterious clouds, crisp air, a perfect fall breeze.....

It Is Wonderful.

The season of autumn brings much to look forward to. In my family, we have traditions for pretty much every type of event year-round. However, the fall season holds the majority of our favorite traditions.



I'm looking forward to pumpkin pie, nights around the fireplace at my parents house with the whole family, coffee and creamer, pumpkin patches, family dinners, lots of picture taking and more.


I'm also looking forward to the experimentation and creation of my own traditions as well. I plan on trying a few new seasonal recipes and maybe discovering some new candle scents. I'm going to buy some autumn tea flavors and I might even attempt some autumn decorating of my house this year.

The turning of a season.

The expectation of the future.

The contentment of today.





What about YOU? What are some of the ways you make the autumn season special? What are some traditions you look forward to year after year?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Little Miss Heidi...

Tried to stay tidy,

While eating her

CURDS AND WHEY.

I am SUPER excited about an awesome technique I just learned. I can now make my own whey and my own cream cheese (curds)!!!

There are a few ways to do this depending on what dairy product is being used, but I learned to do it through separating the curds and whey from Whole, Organic, Plain Yogurt.

Here's the first picture I took of the process (sidenote: I went out to Tuesday Morning and bought this awesome wire sieve after work)


To get the whey out of the yogurt, you put a thin towel (I found the perfect one today!) and use it to line the wire mesh strainer. The strainer goes over the container that catches the whey. Then, pour the yogurt into the towel. The whey will slowly start to drip into the container below.


This is a picture of the yogurt that has already started to release some of the whey.

You can let this process occur all day, but I only had the afternoon. To finish the process, you tie the ends of the towel across a long spoon and let the towel full of the yogurt hang into a long, wide-mouthed container (a vase is suggested.) Then you put it in the fridge overnight and pour the rest of the whey into the whey jar. The solids left in the towel are used as cream cheese or sour cream; it has the ability to taste like either item depending on the setting. It is SO delicious.



This is what the last step looks like before it goes in the fridge. Do you see that glass jar full of the clear, yellowish liquid? That's the whey! Tomorrow morning I will pour the rest into that jar and then I am planning on reusing the yogurt container to store the cream cheese.

What, you may ask, are the practical uses for whey?

The most important use is Digestion. Taking a straight spoon or two of the whey a day is an excellent way to improve your digestion; it is rich with enzymes.

It is also used to ferment foods and beverages. Sauerkraut and pickles are the next two recipes I want to try and both those recipes call for whey.

So, my friends, as you can see, I am quite excited about this new style of cooking.
I still have so much to learn and I really want to properly introduce you to my new cookbook (which is more like a life-transformer tool) but that will have to wait for another day.

Oh, and I promise I've been thinking about lots of spiritual stuff lately too.

Mainly, Contentment.

But I just had to share my excitement of these cooking ventures with you all.

Deeper posts to come soon :-)


*ps - did you all get the literary nursery rhyme reference at the beginning of this post?

Just checkin'

;-)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Contentment. Awwwww…….

After a long evening of cooking, I am settled in on my couch, letting my hair drip dry from my shower over the edge of the cushions.

My body is tired but not exhausted.

My brain is alert but calm and quiet.

My heart is content and satisfied.

There were lots of things on my roster for what I wanted to accomplish today after work. Lots of those things didn’t get done. (i.e. progress on painting my walls, vacuuming, folding the basket of clean laundry, cleaning my patio and watering all my plants)

But there were lots of things that DID get done. I just didn’t realize how long it would take to do them.

But do you know what I am excited about???

I am excited that I am not stressed out about what I didn’t do and that I am more excited about what I DID do! THAT is an accomplishment for me. Like I wrote about here, I am really learning to slow down and embrace each day, even if the day has a ton packed into it!

I want my heart to be content and my spirit to be calm, even if my pace of life does not slow down.

So, partly because I want to prove that I actually did something tonight and more because I am just really excited about a bunch of new recipes I am learning and my new focus on cooking in my life, I have decided to show you pictures. (taken with my iPhone of course!)




Above is the remainder of my Homeade Chicken Stock. Some stock was used to prepare the Cream of Mushroom Soup.



Above is Homeade Cream of Mushroom Soup. Made with the chicken stock and homeade cream cheese!



Above is a full jar of fresh chicken salad and then a bowl of remaining chicken waiting to be used in another recipe.

I also hardboiled a bunch of eggs for an easy snack, sliced up some cantaloup, and made a quinoa salad with some yummy fresh ingredients.

I'm having so much fun learning to cook in a new and healthy and old-fashioned way. I am sure sometime in the near future I will introduce you to my new cookbook that I got at my friends house over the past weekend, and I am sure I will write about all that I am learning about our American food products. But for now, I have much to learn and I am simply excited to share the photo's of my process :-)


What about you? Is there anything that your heart is finding contentment in?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Words. Friendship. Rest.

I seem to have run out of words the past couple days.

I not only seem to be at a loss of words to put on this blog but also at a loss of words flying around at rapid speed in my head.

And I am mucho happy about the latter.

On Friday, I wrote about striving and the constant motions of words and questions whirring around in my head. That night, I headed up to my best friend’s house in Northridge. We actually spent the weekend at her parent’s house; a place which I have come to know as my personal retreat getaway in the last couple years.

My weekend was FULL of words. What would you expect if you hadn’t seen your best friend for three months because she had been out-of-state??

Words exchanged across a tiny wooden table in the corner at Starbucks.

Words exchanged in the shady corner of the backyard with a tissue in hand and tears running out the corners of my eyes.

Words shared a foot across from each other as we shared the bed and talked about the things best friends talk about late at night. More words shared even with our backs turned because we were trying to sleep but we still had more to say.

Words in the kitchen while making our snacks.

Words of exclamation while watching Planet Earth videos.

Words while driving. Words while resting. Words while laughing.


It felt SO good.

My friend and I? Well, we both do words well!

The combination of the flowing of words and the receiving of words, rest and play, productivity and pampering has resulted in some of the most mentally peaceful days I have had in a long time.

The lightening speed of words zipping around in my head isn’t really occurring right now. In fact, I have actually caught myself a couple times in the past few days not thinking about anything.

I would all of a sudden realize, “Oh my gosh! I was just not thinking about anything!”

THAT hasn’t happened in a long time. And it felt good.

I still have a lot of the same questions that I have been asking myself. They aren’t all answered. But I don’t feel so panicked about needing having the answers all NOW. I will continue to search (especially from the Lord) and the answers will come.

But the main thing that this weekend of words, friendship and rest showed me was that the main thing is Jesus.

It is all about KNOWING JESUS.

I knew that. But I needed those three things (words, friendship, and rest) to remind me of that and to refresh my soul.


And to my dear friend and her lovely mom and wonderful family, thank you SO much!

Friday, September 10, 2010

I Am Striving.

It’s true.

And I don’t know how to stop.

According to my outside actions, it may not look like I’m striving, but OH! My mind is running. My thoughts are racing. I feel desperate to figure IT out.

To figure WHAT out?

Everything.

Who am I in light of the life experiences I have gone through in the past few years?

What is my purpose amidst a world that has more suffering than I realized?

What little steps can I take to make myself a more balanced, understanding, and wise person?

How can I prepare myself, set myself up, for God’s will in my life?

What the heck IS God’s will in my life?

How do I rid myself of the spiritual pride that I thought was finally gone and I keep rediscovering?


How? Why? What? Where? When? REPEAT.

When I can barely fall asleep from these (and other) thoughts racing through my brain at lightening speed, and when I wake up from a restless night of sleep only to find that my “sleeping” brain was still running all night and when I am once again going the through the motions of the morning aware that my brain is still on full-speed ahead mode, I become exhausted emotionally.

Why can’t I just “Be Still and Know that He is God?” That’s sounds nearly impossible.

However, I think I have an inkling of what the root of all this is.

Could it be my spiritual pride? Could it be that I consider myself relatively important? Because one thing I DID realize yesterday is that my mental state right now isn’t exactly giving the impression of a person who is saying, “I must decrease that He must increase (John 3:30)”

I feel like all the striving in my thoughts keeps putting the focus back on me, Me, ME!

I talked over the phone with my friend yesterday and after our conversation she sent me a text urging me to sit down in the Word for at least 5 minutes and meditate on Psalm 103.

I actually did. And it actually helped.

“Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name!”

Oh, how I hope that THAT verse becomes my heartbeat and the meditation of my mind. But I know I can't do this alone and in my own strength.

Left alone, I strive. In fellowship, I am encouraged back to meditation on God's Word.

Perhaps that's why God created us for community.

Thank you, Lord, for friends that lead us back to Your Word and to Your Heart. My mind needs much renewing. I pray that you would surround me with encouragment to put my eyes back on YOU Jesus. To my heart back in Your Word. Thank you for Your patience, gentleness, and love.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My New Journal.

I am thankful for spiral bound journals.

Spiral bound journals make me SO happy!

I KNEW I liked spiral bound journals better than regularly bound journals but last time I needed a journal the cutest design caught my eye while I was in line waiting to buy clothes at Ross. (You know, the bins where they snag you with last minute things you forgot you "needed" and you stare at it for so long while your in line that you get sucked into the good deal)

Anyways, I was standing in that line, saw the journal, LOVED the front cover, realized I only had a few pages left in my other journal, and I decided to buy it. Plus, it was SO cheap....it was too perfect!

Except for the fact that it wasn't spiral bound.

I knew that was going to be a problem. I argued with myself that it would be fine. I told myself that I would still write in it as much even though it wasn't a spiral. I would still carry it around and be excited to put my pen to paper whenever I had a spare minute. None of my habits would change despite the lack of a twirling siding.

But my gut had known better.


Not even a fourth of the way into this journal, and I no longer was picking it up. I was no longer carrying it with me. I seemed to have lost my zeal for journaling, for brainstorming, and for jotting out my prayers.

I started to try carrying it with me again but each time I did I still never used it. I just had no interest in writing while I had to keep one side of the journal from closing on me while I wrote (due to the lack of spiral binding of course...) I knew the journal wasn't going to be balanced on my lap as I wrote and I would be frustrated instead of relaxed.

So today, I broke down.

I usually have a serious rule that I don't start a new journal until I have filled up Every. Single. Page. of my old journal.

But today, I made an exception.

I bought a pack of two spiral bound journals for six bucks (even better than the deal on my last journal!) and I have already written three pages in the course of today!

It was SO lovely!

It laid flat on my desk because it could bend all the way.

I got the full use of the paper because the crease wasn't folding due to the regular binding.

I could hold it in my lap, ponder for a bit, and then jot down what came to my mind, with ease and comfort.


After today, I have hereby made a solemn vow that I will never again buy a journal that does not have spiral binding.

Not matter how tempting the cute front cover may be.....

Saturday, September 4, 2010

You're Gonna Miss This.

Last week, one of the members of our church life group was house-sitting for her sister and she offered to host our weekly gathering at her sister’s place.

So, [fifteen-minutes-too-late] Adam and I jumped in our super-clean [thanks Adam!!] Explorer and drove down to a city we haven’t been in for almost two years. It was the city where we started our married life together.

The house we met at that night was just a couple blocks away from our old church where we used to spend SO much of our time. It was also just a very short drive away from our first (and second) apartment.

So, after our life group ended, Adam and I decided to drive down to our apartment.

It was so weird.

We hadn’t been back to this area since we had moved into the town home we bought in November 2008. There just hadn’t really been any reason to go back.

Driving to our old apartments, we passed by the CVS that we would always stop at for daily necessities.

We passed the Brueggers Bagels that we always looked forward to eating at right before church on a Sunday morning. It was always two cheese jalapeno bagels for Adam and one try-something-new-every-time bagel for me.

We passed the El Pollo Loco, Rubys, Starbucks, Baja Fresh, and Rubios that we had eaten in so many times enjoying a date with one another or a time of fellowship with our friends from church.

We passed the park and movie theater where we had gone street witnessing with the group from church. And where we had played Frisbee and Smash-Ball on a summer night.

And then we entered our apartment complex. We drove in the same entrance we used to always use. First, we drove over to our one bedroom. Then we drove over to the other side of the complex to where we had our two bedroom.

Had it really been almost two years since we in that complex? Together, we talked and talked about details that we remembered.

Things we did in specific places.

Conversations we had and the exact locations we had them in.

Trips to the laundry room.

Driving around late at night trying to find a parking lot.

Carrying my piano up those stairs.

Remembering what our place looked like inside.


I didn’t know it then, but we were building memories.

I mean, I knew that one day I’d remember those days but, in that first year, I never really stopped to realize the preciousness of each day and the fact that I would cherish those memories in the future.

Back then, I was too focused on building.

Building our marriage. Building our relationships. Building and keeping up with all our activities. Getting ahead in school. Building for the future.

I never realized I would miss that time of life. I occasionally would tell myself I would. And I’d sing along in the car to the country song, “You’re Gonna Miss This” and remind myself to open my eyes a little more.

But I didn’t actually believe it.

Now I do.

But from that experience, this is what I have learned.

Cherish today.

Ok, so things aren’t perfect. I still have to finish painting my less-than-halfway painted walls. I still have to get my piano tuned. I still have to do this. And that. And this other thing. And that other thing.

That’s ok.

I’m gonna miss these days someday. I don’t realize it or think about it enough, but I am building memories NOW.

Our first year of marriage, I was just living. Every-day-daily-life living. And now, those daily-life-days are memories. Beautiful memories.

And my today will, someday, be a memory.

At this point of my post my parents are probably reading and smiling to themselves saying, “Finally, she is realizing this! Hopefully she is actually getting it!”

My parents know very well that I have a tendency to always look ahead to the next thing. Ever since I was a young child I wanted the next stage of life. When I was in junior high, I just wanted to get to high school so that I could prepare for college. Two years into college, I was married.

My mom has always said to me that I am her “April Child Dreaming of June.” (lyrics to a song about always dreaming of the next stage of life.)

I’m going to [try to] start allowing my mind to slow down. Maybe my pace of life won’t slow down. But I want to be more aware of soaking up my days and enjoying the little blessings and even the struggles that life is offering me today.

I want to take more pictures.

I want to write and journal about my daily experiences.

I want to steal those hidden moments to embrace it all.



Because tomorrow, today will be a memory.


This song below PERFECTLY describes me. Minus the arrival-of-children part. That is the one part of the song that hasn’t quite happened. Yet :-)

And, for all you who pretend you don’t like Country Music, this song is going to bring out the truth. After listening to this song, there is no denying that Country Music is awesome.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Distractions.

How attached to technology are you?

I know I am VERY attached. My mind is constantly aware of where my phone is. My fingers are constantly pressing the text message icon on my phone. I am constantly wondering if I have a recent email or if anyone has updated their status on facebook.

Thanks to my iPhone, I can have instant access to satisfying my desire to KNOW.

Touch the little Facebook icon and BAM! I can follow the lives of all my family and friends.

Touch the little text message icon and BAM! I can see if I got any new messages that I wasn’t aware of when I walked away from my desk 5 minutes ago.

Touch the little email icon and BAM! I can see if I got a new email.

And if any of these features take more than 15 seconds to upload, I start getting a little frustrated.

Hello??? Don’t you know I want to see NOW???


Instant gratification. That is the mindset of the culture we live in.

I try to stay away from the mindset of instant gratification but I get sucked in so easily. It is very easy for me to adapt to technology that gives me answers faster and faster but it is much harder to adapt when, for some reason, I can’t get those answers right away.

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I was having some quiet time with the Lord after work. I was in our spare bedroom, where the sunlight wasn’t blaring in brightly, and just enjoying stilling my heart before Him. By habit, my hands reached for the cell phone laying at my side I checked my email. I sent a text message. I answered the text that I received in return.

Ok….time to get back to my quiet time. I lay on the futon for a few minutes, eyes closed, praying. When I opened my eyes to read the Word, I saw it. My cell phone was still next to me in the same spot I left it. I reached for it AGAIN! What can I do now that I haven’t done 5 minutes ago???

I picked it up but realized [thankfully] that it was NOT necessary to unlock the screen. I laid it under the futon and enjoyed the rest of my quiet time distraction free. Out of sight, [sorta]out of mind.

I don’t want to technology to control me. I don’t want it to control my actions. I don’t want it to consume my thoughts.

What do you think about technology and it’s addictive powers?