Friday, August 31, 2012

reading recap: july + august

Some of my favorite memories from my childhood were reading a book under my covers at night with a flashlight. To me, a books have always been a way to escape the world and travel, even when you can't go anywhere.  There is a magic in books that can't be found anywhere else.

I don't talk about reading much on my blog, but in real life, one of my favorite things to do is curl  up with a good book. Rainy day? I'm reading. Cool evening? I'm on the porch reading.  Bus ride to work? I'm reading.

So, I've made the decision to share (monthly or bi-monthly) all the things I've read and my thoughts on them.  If you're a reader too, I'd love to hear your opinion or what's on your list.  AND let's be goodreads friends.  You say you don't know what goodreads is? Ah, it's book heaven. Facebook for books. With recommendations based on what you've read.

Book: Those Who Save Us
Finished: Early July

I picked this book up after reading this post by Elizabeth, and  it has been one of the best books I've read in a long while. It takes a real and honest look at the relationship between a mother and daughter during WW11. Writing from the perspective of the German civilians, it's a book that makes you look at perspective. The character depth was rewarding--I felt and sympathized with both Anna and her daughter, Trudy.

Book: The Weird Sisters
Finished: Early August

This book took me a while to get into,and not just because of the unknown narrator and juvenile behavior of the characters. I found the unknown narrator irritating-at first I thought I might have missed who was doing the narrating and kept going back to see, but then I realized the book was supposed to be like that, that there was no one narrator. For the majority of the book, I didn't connect with the characters or find them interpreting. I thought their lives and problems were flat and simple, very one dimensional. It wasn't really worth the read--but once I was 100 pages in, I felt invested and hoped for a great ending. I wouldn't recommend it to a friend.

Book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Finished: Early July 

This book initially appealed to me because of my interest in cancer research, but once I finished it, I was recommending this book to anyone who would let me talk about it. It's the story of a woman, Henrietta Lacks, whose cancer cells were unknowingly taken from her during her treatments, and revolutionized cancer research. The medical advances and height of advancements made from Henrietta's cells is contrasted to the life of her family--poor and struggling to make ends meet, with no knowledge of the life of their mothers' cells.  This story is so important and overwhelming, and on many levels, sad and depressing. There were parts of this book where I found myself holding my breath in horror, parts where I cried and sympathized with her family, and parts where I was in awe of the advancements made. It's worth the read.

The Hobbit
Finished: Late August 

I've read this book before, in middle school, but with the movie coming out in December, I wanted to read it again.  Some books are almost impossible to review. If a book is bad, how easily can we dwell on its flaws! But if the book is good, how do you give any recommendation that is equal the book? The Hobbit lives up to all the talk about it-and more. From a hole in the ground came one of my favorite characters of all time, the very reluctant and unassuming hero of the story, Bilbo Baggins. As a child, The Hobbit sparked my young imagination, causing wonderful daydreams and horrible nightmares. As a teen, the book made me want to become a writer of fantastical tales...or go shoeless, live in the hole and smoke a pipe. I will continue to read The Hobbit again and again, for the road goes ever, ever on...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

today i choose

to embrace the changes that have come into my life.
to learn to set boundaries between work and home
to let go of the things I can't change
to not define myself in terms of the job I hold

things around here lately have been quiet, I know.
in life, it's been chaos.
so much adjusting, so much change.

I like to think I've gotten better at separating work and home.
I know I've learned to appreciate Sam on a whole new level.

regardless of my situation now or any to come,
I can choose to look at life with grateful eyes.
and see all that I have been given.

so that's where we are--learning to see this new job and life for a time
with eyes that see the grace in it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Arm Party

a few weeks ago, I signed up for a fun arm party swap with much love illy and yellow heart art
today's the big reveal day where I get to show you the awesome bracelets my partner made me!

Jules is so talented at making bracelets--I'm in love with all THREE of mine she sent me!
I couldn't have made them, and they are the perfect colors and go so well together.
I hope she likes the bracelets I sent her--even though I copped out and didn't make hers.

aren't they awesome?!? she did a fabulous job.

You should head over to the party and see all the talent that went into making those goodies.
and next time, join us.
It's always fun to get a surprise package in the mail!

Monday, August 20, 2012

one blessed life

the more days that go by,
the more I see how much grace has been spilled over into every crevice of my life. there's a lot I wish was different. I long for Houston, throw a pity party every now and again. I'm not back in school yet, and I've yet to vacation all the places my heart desires.but when I look at my life the only thing I see is grace.

we spent the weekend in Houston
and I was completely awed and blown away by our friends.12 of our closest friends met us for dinner Friday night. and I left feeling loved to the core. notes from all of my friends and the sweetest gift basket you've ever seen. those friends are living and loving community in the truest form.

these are friends I'll keep for a lifetime.

we stayed the weekend with my former boss turned great friend.
the words and love and encouragement and empowerment from him is life-giving.
it's a friendship that started in the unlikeliest of places, and it's one that brings a smile to my face every time I think of it.

reunited and it feels so good.

it was a whilwind of a weekend that slipped by way too fast.
one whose memories will scroll through my mind for weeks to come.

this last month has been a journey.
I have grown in ways I never thought possible.
I have been encouraged and survived on words of friends like I never knew before.
I have found strength in myself that I never knew existed.

and yes, things aren't perfect.
and most of the time I long for what was in Houston.
but when I look on my days
all I really see is one blessed life.

Friday, August 17, 2012

friday's letters

dear weekend,

I'm so glad you're here. I've been waiting for this weekend since we left Houston. a friend's wedding, seeing good friends, baseball, I'm ready for it all. 

dear coffee,

i don't know what i'd do without you. let's stay friends forever.
I also found that you've rated our relationship #1. I feel the same.
if you're curious--see where your profession lines up in coffee consumption here

dear Austin,

i'm over the heat. sweaty bangs are not working for me. let's move on to fall.

dear running,

i love you. i love my new running group. even if we DO meet at 5:30 am on Saturdays.

dear blogland,

I really do love you. the women here are so real and encouraging.
I've recently stumbled upon this blog and this blog am in love with them both.

dear tea towels,

you are my newest obsession. cute and fun all while cleaning up? i'll take more of that.
or any of these.

by ohlittlerabbit on etsy; $8

by nellandmary on etsy; $19

by madderroot on etsy; $18

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

happiness is.

gold painted nails and toes
a 9pm run to the grocery store for ice cream.
a husband who willingly gives up the coveted best blanket
naps on the couch
rainstorms in the middle of august
a good book
dinner parties
hope of the weekend
a new menu planner
dreams of Christmas and hot chocolate
a 5th peanut butter and jelly sandwhich in 5 days

what's your happiness today?

Monday, August 13, 2012

longing for fall

while the summer air sits heavy on my chest
making it hard to breathe, hard to move
my heart is longing for fall.

living in Texas heat is our language.
hundred degree days lined up for miles

while northerners are breaking out cardigans
we're still scorched in the sun

maybe this summer I'm itching to get away
from the heat
to bring a new season
to bring new life
to bring fresh air

but these are the days we've been given.
you've been given some too.
are you wishing yours away? to something cooler,
something easier, something new?

I hope you'll join with me in enjoying the days.
even if they aren't the ones we long for.
these days are a gift we've been given.

Friday, August 10, 2012

bearing the weight

it's Friday morning and it seems like years ago that it was Monday.
5 short days that feel like a lifetime.
the weight of this season is heavy.
5 minutes into each day I'm ready to throw in the towel.
my heart is quiet in this season--when struggling to survive,
words seem like extra fancy gifts I don't have time to give.

this season began in a flurry. moving, changing, new.
it's now beginning to seem permanent.
it's hard and it's raw and it might not be over anytime soon.

and since the days will keep coming,
and this weight will still be here,
I've got to change how I'm bearing it.

because for now, it's draining me empty
leaving just the skeleton of the person I know I am.

i'm bearing it knowing it's a season
i'm bearing it knowing there's grace when I fail
i'm bearning it knowing it's for a reason
bearing it knowing there's a husband at home whose love is deeper than that day's struggles
bearing it knowing each day there's the promise of the quiet of the morning
bearing it knowing He's making me new

Monday, August 6, 2012

weekend snapshots

hello monday.
don't linger too long.
let's fly right on by and bring another weekend.

1. saturday afternoon nap light. getting up at 5 am for a 11 mile run guarantees a nap later.
2. dinner party cheeses and fancy drinks
3. grilling peaches. I'll eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, please.
4. viola! final dinner product. looks almost as good as the magazine picture it came from.
5. spontaneous Sunday afternoon movie date.
6. I crafted a bit for myself and whipped up this headband sunday afternoon. It might be my favorite thing.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

bitterness in my heart

For as long as I can remember, I've thought that I've got it all together.  I have a successful job, come home and cook dinner every night, run a small etsy shop, and find time to work out on the side. In reality, it's pride. It's me, showing off all I can do.

And then this new job. It's revealed a lot of my heart that's been there all along, I've just kept it hidden. I had "mastered" life to the point where I could shove those ugly skeletons in the closet for no one to see.

So now, when I'm not able to get satisfaction and happiness at work
when I'm not able to cook meals
when I'm not afforded time to relax at home
when I don't get the comfort that I want.

I begin to see that my heart has been angry, entitled, frustrated and jealous all along. I was just appeasing it with my self-righteous fulfillment. and in the midst of this, I'm finding I need a new heart. So I'm seeking the one who promises to remove my stony heart and replace it with a new one.

all I've been doing is pretending to know what I'm doing when I really don't. I need help from the only God who can change hearts. not self-help kind of help. santificaion  I want to be a new person.   and countless hours reading blogs, skimming pinterest, and endless tweeting don't solve the issue.

and so, this season hurts.
it's painful and uncomfortable
and it's showing me just how much I really worship control.

but this life is not for my happiness and control
it's for His glory
and for that, I want a new heart that holds no bitterness