Category Archives: Musings

Confessions of a Book Nerd…

My name is Bekah and I’m addicted to reading.  I know this is probably a great problem to have, but perhaps it has gotten a little out of hand.  Between the wonderful ebook and audiobook selection at the library (hurray for not having to leave the house) and my constant pillaging through amazon, I have accumulated quite the list lately.

Remember how my goal this year was to read 26 books?  Well I hit 27 books on July 31st.  Yea guys, I’ve ready 27 books so far this year.  For the sake of full disclosure, I have read 24 books since May.  MAY!  I know this is pretty typical of some people, but this is a lot for me!  It’s to the point where I feel weird if I’m not listening to an audiobook while cooking or cleaning…

Anyway, I’m not going to share the full list of 27 books with you.  But I am going to let you know what my top 10 favorites have been!  So here we go.

1.  “Soul Keeping” by John Ortberg

Favorite Quote:  “What matters is not the accomplishments you achieve; what matters is the person you become”

This book guys, it’s amazing.  It was refreshing and challenging in the best possible ways.  John Ortberg wrote one of my all time favorite books “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” and I’ve been a huge fan of his since.  If you realize that the rhythms of your life are becoming taxing to your soul, this book is for you!

2.  “Anything” by Jennie Allen

Favorite Quote: “The idea that we would actually hand it all over to God and say, “Go. Build it. Do whatever you want with all I have” . . . it is terrifying.”

Bonus Quote:  “We move and love and restore not to matter but because we have been moved, loved, and restored.”

I read this book in a whirlwind of 6 hours and it is by far one of my favorite books.  The concept of saying “Ok, God, I will do Anything” is scary and vulnerable in the best possible ways.  Jennie brilliantly tells us what it looks like to live life in light of eternity.  Life is so short in comparison and living in complete abandon is totally worth it.  My favorite part of all of it is that “Anything” looks different for each person.  For some it means “move to Africa” whereas others it could mean moving in to help an aging parent.  But surrender and obedience is the objective.  Surrendering to someone else’s calling is not obedience! Sigh, Just, GAH!  This book is so so good I could not possibly recommend it enough.

3.  “Jesus is_____.”  by Judah Smith

Favorite Quote:  “The greatest hindrance to recieving the grace of God is not their scandalous sins- it’s their empty good deeds.”

I’ve read a LOT of Christian and Theology books in the past 8 years because of school.  If I’m being honest, there is nothing in this book that I would consider new revelation to me or something I had never heard before.  But this is the book that I want to have 10 copies of to give out to people who are new to Jesus and just figuring things out.  It is so concise and Judah Smith is so easy to follow that another title for this book could be “the ABCs of who Jesus is.”  I totally recommend reading it and then giving a copy to everyone you know.

4.  “Dad is Fat” by Jim Gaffigan

Favorite Quote:  “There were times in my life when I had one thing to do all day, but I still couldn’t get to it. “I gotta go to the post office, but I’d probably have to put on pants. And they’re only open till five. Looks like I’m going to have to do that next week.”

This book is hilarious.  I will fully admit that the above quote depicts my life more than I would really care to admit.  This was one of the books I listened to on audiobook and I recommend doing the same.  Jim Gaffigan is just hysterical and I’m not sure I would have gotten the full comedic effect had I tried to read the book instead.  This book is truly so so funny and the audiobook is only 5hours long.  Get it!

5. “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkeurst

Favorite Quote:  “Knowledge is wisdom that comes from acquiring truth. Insight is wisdom that comes from living out the truth we acquire. Discernment is wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit’s reminders of that knowledge and insight.”

I am not the person who has a problem saying “no” to things.  I know a lot of people who overwhelm their schedules with things that suck the life out of them because they have a hard time saying no.  I’m not that person so I really thought this book wasn’t going to be for me.  But it was.  Because sometimes I say no to things that are still good in the fear that it will suck away my soul too.  The balance is knowing when to say yes and when to say no.  This is another easy read and I highly recommend it.

6.  “The Next Generation Leader” by Andy Stanley

Favorite Quote:  “A leader is someone who has the courage to say publicly what everybody else is whispering privately. It is not his insight that sets the leader apart from the crowd. It is his courage to act on what he sees, to speak up when everyone else is silent. Next generation leaders are those who would rather challenge what needs to change and pay the price than remain silent and die on the inside.”

I love Andy Stanley’s leadership podcast and listen to it regularly.  So I knew I needed to read this book and it did not disappoint.  He covers 5 different areas of effective leadership and I found myself going “YES!” over and over.  I’ll definitely be using this as a leadership training tool, a reminder to myself as a leader, and a rubric for leaders over me.

7.  “Garlic and Sapphires” by Ruth Reichl

Favorite Quote:  ““While cooking demands your entire attention, it also rewards you with endlessly sensual pleasures… The seductive softness of chocolate beginning to melt from solid to liquid. The tug of sauce against the spoon when it thickens in the pan, and the lovely lightness of Parmesan drifting from the grater in gossamer flakes. Time slows down in the kitchen, offering up an entire universe of small satisfactions.”

If you know me, you know that the kitchen is my favorite place to be.  I love food and eating and learning about food.  This book was right up my alley!  Ruth Reichl is a former food critic for the NY Times and this book is about that time in her life.  It is such a fun read!  She talks about her different experiences as she dressed in disguise in order to give untainted reviews to the people of New York.  This book is light and fun and will truly make you hungry.

 

8.  “Interrupted” by Jen Hatmaker

Favorite Quote:  “God does not change, but He uses change—to change us. He sends us on journeys that bring us to the end of ourselves. We often feel out of control, yet if we embrace His leading, we may find ourselves on the ride of our lives.”

This book is similar to Jennie Allen’s “Anything” the biggest difference being that Jen Hatmaker tells more about her personal story.  She talks about how different her plans were from Gods and how complete surrender has radically changed her life.  It’s great!  She’s so raw that I felt like listening to a friend talk about her journey.

9.  “Yes, Please!” by Amy Poehler

Favorite Quote:  “That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.”

I love Amy Poehler.  This book is as funny as you would expect it to be.  But I was also pleasantly surprised to see how inspiring it was.  She talks about her work ethic and why women should support each other.  Really great stuff.  I also really enjoyed reading her birthing plan.  That alone is worth getting the book in my opinion.

 

10.  “This Time Together” by Carol Burnett

Favorite Story:  When she almost peed her pants while talking to Marlin Brando on the phone.

I love Carol Burnett.  I blame this on my mother.  She obviously wasn’t really on the TV when I was young, but I was exposed to enough clips of her show to appreciate it.  Of course, I also appreciated her role as Miss Hannigan in the film adaptation of the musical  “Annie”.  This is also one I recommend listening to on Audio book because her stories in her voice just felt like listening to a wise person telling you about their life.  I loved hearing about her first days in Hollywood and her days in New York.  If you’ve ever been a fan of Carol, you will truly adore this book!

 

Tell me, what books have you been reading lately and love?  I’m needing more ideas to feed my reading obsession!

 

Visits with an old friend…

I picked up an old friend for a short visit the other night.  There is just something so comforting about familiarity that makes me smile.  We stayed up late just being with each other, just like old times.  Great friends can do that, pick up where they left off and never skip a beat.  That’s exactly how it was and it was delightful.

We watched Top Chef together and smiled knowing that our time together would come to an end soon.  That’s the worst part about short visits, knowing that they will end.  Knowing that the hurt of separation will be deep, painful and difficult.  But the key is to enjoy the time while it lasts; to bask in each others presence.  To just sit there and know that these moments are precious and times are short.  The key is to not focus on the moment that you say “see you later” but be fully in the now.

The next morning we said our goodbyes and indulged one last time in the moments that make my heart flutter.  It was sad that it was over and it left me feeling weighty, sorrowful, and automatically looking forward to the next time we will meet.  I already look forward to that moment when I can take the warm, fluffy crust and dip it in garlic butter.  When I can enjoy the perfection of melted cheese with salty pepperoni and smokey bacon.  Yes, the other night I caught up with my good friend Pizza Hut Pizza after a multi-month hiatus and 1 month of eating healthy.  The reunion was glorious, albeit very difficult the next day when I felt the need to drink 1 bazillion gallons of water.  But still.  The reunion was sweet and delicious.  I decided at 9pm that I wanted pizza, went and got some and it was one of the best “YOLO” moments in a long time.  I still don’t regret it.

Can you relate?

Do you ever go on health sprees and just need to break it with something utterly terrible for you  before you lose your mind?

Do you reunite with favorite foods the way you would an old friend?  Or is that just me and my stress eating/ binge eating/ food loving problems?

Giant Taco Piñata…

Sometimes I get an idea where it’s like an itch…These ideas are typically birthed out of procrastination or denial.  They come from the depths of my inner being that tell me that fun is more important than productivity.

So when it came time for me to work on my list of “things to get done before I have people over for a birthday party” the fun began to win out.  I NEED to finish painting my entryway.  You know, to try to give people a slight glimpse into “we aren’t crazy I promise” since currently our dining room is the first thing people see when they enter….  And the dining room currently has piles of flooring, boxes of ikea cabinet pieces, chandeliers we have taken down, and every tool and screw known to man.  It says “Welcome!  You could possibly die here!”… which is not really what I like to exude to my guests upon arrival to my home.  But it’s my reality right now folks.  This is how we separate the men from the boys.  We bring them into our house and say things like “please keep your shoes on” or “sign this liability waver” and if they say “Ok sweet!” we know that they are true friends.

So instead of ya know, actually doing things to make my house a better party area, I decided to spend time making a better party (because I LOVE a good party with activities and fun and the type of things that make people feel like they are a kid again).  

This Saturday is “Nacho Birthday, Lipsync Battle.”  Yes, it’s going to be epic.  Yes, there are going to be nachos.  Yes, people are coming prepared to battle it out using their favorite song.  Yes, some of my friends are taking this super seriously.  Yes, Brandon and I are doing an 80s song.  No, the videos will not end up on the internet.

But how could I possibly “plus” such a fun, flawless birthday party plan?  By creating a giant taco piñata of course!  So while I should have been doing productive grown-up things.  I sat for a couple hours and created a giant taco piñata!  Why?  Primarily because at this moment of my life I wanted to beat the crap out of something until it gave me candy.  It seems like the best possible way to say goodbye to my 26th year of life and to welcome in all the fun that 27 has to offer.  I’m pretty stoked about it really!

Here is the finished product!

(in the name of full disclosure, I definitely didn’t finish the whole thing because 3 episodes of Scandal later and I was pretty done with the project.)

Giant Taco Piñata

Because We Can…

Ephesians 2:13

Good Friday is such an important, beautiful day.  It’s the day that we humbly reflect on how undeserving we are.  How a loving and magnificent God saw it fit to send His son to die for unworthy people just so that He could dwell with us again.  It was always His intention to know us.  The scarlet thread of God’s love for man is woven throughout the Bible.  It’s the thing.  It’s what the entire Bible is about, a Creator wanting to reconnect with His creation.  That’s what Good Friday represents, the act of being brought near through the blood of Christ.

There are several Scriptures that I like to reflect on on Good Friday.  They remind me of the significance of the sacrifice, the importance of Good Friday to how we worship now.  I just thought I would take you on this journey with me…

Mark 15:37-38

37.  With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.  

38. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

How significant this is!  Christ dying on the cross removed the veil in the temple.  The very thing that kept us from being able to access God directly.  The thing that kept our humanness away from His holiness was removed by the act of the cross.  The temple was full of barriers because sinful people could only get so close to a holy God.

Romans 5:8

While we were sinners Christ died for us.

Sin kept us from having direct access to God.  Everything had to go through sacrifice (more on that in a bit).  We have all sinned, we are all sinners, but Christ died for us anyway.  He knew it was the only way for us to be able to have access to God again.  He knew that dying for us was the only way to remove that barrier.

Exodus 25:8

Then have them make a sanctuary for me and I will dwell among them.

I really encourage you to go read all of Exodus 25-31.  It lays out all the rules and regulations for appropriate sacrifice and the laws for being able to approach God.  It always shakes me.  It always makes me realize the depth of the wall of sin that separated us from God.  It makes the depth of why Jesus had to come that much more real.  He was the only perfect sacrifice. Without Jesus, without the works of the cross, we would not have the relationship with God that we are allowed today.

Hebrews 9:11-12

11. When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.

12.  He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.(Emphasis added by author)

Christ was it.  He was the final sacrifice.  He entered the Holy Place through his blood and gained our redemption.  No more goats, no more lambs, no more sacrifices of gold and silver and fine linen, no more going to God through the high priest.  Jesus came as the high priest so that God would not have to dwell in a tabernacle, he could dwell in us.

Ephesians 2:13

But now in Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

We couldn’t get to God, have eternal life, without the blood of Jesus.  Without this day, Good Friday, without the shedding of blood we wouldn’t be able to have the relationship with Him.  We were far away from God.  So far.  The barrier of sin was so wide there was no way that we could have achieved salvation on our own.  This is why the Gospel is so precious.  The love of God surpassed everything.  He knew we couldn’t do it on our own.  He knew that eternal life was dependent on a final perfect sacrifice.  So that we can be near God again.

Hebrews 4:16

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

I want you to join me in reflecting on the sacrifice of Jesus.  Focus on the purpose of the cross.  Worship Him and spend time today because we can.  Because before the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, we couldn’t.  Know that the body that was broken for you and the blood that was shed for you is beautiful in that it represents perfect love.  It represents that we can come boldly to the throne where before we could not.

Jesus decided you were worth it.  You were worth the pain.  Having direct access between Creator and creation was worth it.  We were once far away, but we were brought near through the blood of Christ.

Remember… EASTER IS COMING!

The Art of Procrastination…

I did it guys!  I finally did it!  After 9 months of having it, and two months of it sitting in a frame on the floor waiting to be hung, my diploma is finally up.

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Can I just point out how gaudy the size of my Master’s diploma is?  I’m not really sure that is a thing.  Are all Masters diplomas this large, or is mine some sort of mammoth anomaly? This diploma is all “in yo face!” to our undergrad diplomas and I kinda don’t like to attitude it’s putting off.  It’s a little showy if you ask me.  Totally unnecessary really.

Anyway, my point is to not start to give inanimate objects a sense of entitlement, but rather to talk about the significance of this diploma.  This piece of paper means so much to me.  It represents a lot of personal accomplishment in my life.  I personally think that every degree is an accomplishment.  It represents hard work, lots of money, and intention.  I think education is a beautiful privilege.  It’s a privilege I don’t take for granted for a single second.  If you have been able to go though higher education, consider yourselves blessed as many people have not been in a position to further their learning process.

It also represents a very “I can do this” season of my life.  I wasn’t a good student in undergrad.  I never applied myself.  My motto was “Cs get degrees” and as long as I could pass the class, I wouldn’t study at all.  When I decided to quit my job to pursue my Masters back in April of 2013 it felt WEIRD.  It was one of those things I said I would absolutely never do.  Suddenly, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was supposed to do it.  Going back to school was pivotal for me in so many ways.  I learned so much about myself within the process.  I learned that I am a learner, I’m a reader, I’m a writer, I’m a lover of Jesus, I have a purpose.  Getting my Masters grounded me in a time where I didn’t know how to keep my feet planted.  The whole process from start to finish was a time for me to rediscover who I am, find rest, be rejuvenated, and realize that I truly can accomplish anything that God asks me to do as long as I keep Him in it.

This piece of paper also represents provision.  We have 3 pieces of paper on that wall that represents thousands of dollars and we don’t owe a penny in student debt!  I don’t say this to boast, but to talk about how incredibly thankful I am for that fact!  My mom got a job at ORU the day before I graduated from High School.  This coupled with living at home rather than in the dorms allowed me to borrow a minimal amount for students loans compared to many people I know.  Because of our intentional spending habits, Brandon and I were able to pay off those student loans 3 years into marriage.  We also paid for Brandon’s undergrad and my Masters out of pocket.  God has blessed us tremendously in providing us with the right jobs at the right time.  I worked as a Coordinator of Student Services just long enough to save to get my Masters.  Brandon worked hard to keep his 4.0 GPA in order to maintain scholarships, even while working full time and being involved in church AND being a stellar husband.  We knew that not having student debt hold us back from what we wanted to do long term was more important to us than spending on frivolous things in the short term.  So we didn’t eat out, didn’t go to movies in the theatre, only went shopping out of “need” not out of want… the basic things.  I don’t regret it or feel like we missed out on something for a second!

I know that we are blessed, but I don’t think we are special.  We are learning the art of not putting off the things that you know you are supposed to do.  If you are supposed to go back to school, do it!  If you’re supposed to make a big move across the country, do it!  Take the steps today.  Life is too short to procrastinate.  Life is too precious, fun, and waiting for you to live it to procrastinate.  Do the things that help you find who you are and don’t waste your time on the other things.  You’re worth the investment.  Take the leap and do it!

Ramblings of a Congested Perfectionist…

Anytime I have gotten sick in the last 5 years it has been a direct result of me pushing myself at an unsustainable pace.  It’s my bodies way of say “hey, we can’t keep this up.” I then spend the time of recovery evaluating what needs to change to keep the sick, run, sick, run cycle from repeating itself.  This is exactly where I have found myself this week.  Laying on the couch, blowing my nose, popping Advil and evaluating my pace of life.

It’s interesting because usually I can tell when I need to slow down and pull back.  I can tell because I feel tired all the time and nothing is rejuvenating.  But this time it crept up on me.  I even did my due diligence and went to the doctor within less than 24 hours of the first sign of a sore throat.  Alas, after multiple tests I got the wonderful news that a virus was camping out in my nasal passages and I needed to “rest and wait it out.”  Awesome.  I totally have time to do that.  (*sarcasm*)  But in all honesty it’s always good for me to see that life can go on without me.  It knocks my self-importance down a couple notches.  Sure, my house is a WRECK and I’m basically dreading next week.  But in the grand scheme of things, it small potatoes (as my dad always says).

I think this is a big part of letting go of being a perfectionist.  Realizing that my abilities are not a means to an end.  My house will be clean again, other people will cover basic tasks.  It’s ok to not make a big deal out of small things.  It’s even better to recognize the difference between big and small things.  I think that’s a big part of recovery as well… knowing when something can fall through the cracks and it be ok.

It helps tremendously that I have a super laid back husband that is always urging me to evaluate “what is the worst that could happen?”  What is the worst thing that could happen if all the water bottle labels aren’t facing the same direction?  What if the house doesn’t get vacuumed every X amount of days?  Learning to let these things go is healthy.  Learning not to obsess about the small things will help me in the long run.

I think perfectionists do have their place.  I think having a keen eye for detail is different than obsessing over things being perfect.  That’s the difference.  I know that I am taking perfectionism too far if details become more important than people.  I should always be more aware of those around me than the piece of trash sitting in the corner of the room.  I’m not saying I won’t pick up that piece of trash, I’m just saying that I shouldn’t stop a conversation in order to pick up that piece of trash.  Does that make sense?

Anyway, I’m rambling.  It’s a cold medicine type of ramble and for that I apologize.  The moral of this story, I need to slow down in lots of ways.  I need to not wear myself down so much that my immune system laughs at me.  I need to slow down and be intentional about relationships rather than accomplishing tasks.  I’ll get there.  It’s a process.

Dear Parents At Disney World…

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My husband and I are HUGE Disney fans.  We got engaged at Disney World, we have gone every year since, and within 4 days of officially being Florida residents we excitedly bought our Disney World Annual Passes.  We love the magic, the wonder, the rides, the fun, and the food.  Every aspect of Disney is inspiring to us and we love our time dilly-dellying around the parks.

But since becoming Annual Passholders and getting the opportunity to take the parks at a slower pace, there is one outstanding issue with Disney World.  Parents.  You thought I was going to say kids, didn’t you.  Nope, the parents are the problems here.  So here are my tips for parents at Disney.

Dear Parents at Disney World…

Please Don’t Skip Nap time!!

I am so tired of watching warn out toddlers being pulled by the arm to meet Cinderella and looking at mom with a death grip saying “We spent so much money, you are going to go!”  Do you really think that a picture of your puffy-eyed screaming toddler with Cinderella is the memory that you want around?  Do you think maybe your kid is going to remember it as a “mommy-made-me” moment than meeting the fair princess?

Believe me, I get the expense part of Disney World.  My parents were pastors and if it hadn’t been for my gracious Grandparents, I probably wouldn’t have been able to experience Disney until I was in my 20s.  But trying to do it all, see it all, be it all is just going to keep everyone (including you) from truly enjoying the trip.  Even when it is just me and my husband, we took nap breaks because it can all be so tiring.  Don’t skip nap time!

Please Know Your Kids Limitations.

My baby sister (baby meaning 16) loves Disney with all her heart.  But she also shuts down in heat.  Her fair skin makes her bake instantaneously and she gets hot in 80 degree weather.  So even though she loves Disney, going to Disney in June is not going to be the best thing for her.  It’s going to keep her from getting the most from the trip.  What I would encourage you to do is assess what your child’s limitations are.  Do they get scared of Santa? Maybe don’t do meet and greets with characters.  Do they get hot easily?  Go in October or January – March (November and December are too busy.  Don’t bother.)  Does your 4 year old get tired of walking just around the mall?  Rent a stroller.  Know the limitations and don’t try to push them.  It’s too much money for you to spend to not get the most out of it.

Please Know the Rides Height Requirements.

I’m so glad I have figured this one out before I have kids.  There are so many rides that I love because I have great memories on them.  I can just imagine talking these rides up to my kids only to arrive at Disney to find out they aren’t tall enough to ride on it.  I have seen this happen over and over again (particularly on Splash Mountain).  Parents outside the ride are trying to console a devastated child.  All of the rides have height requirements posted online.  I highly recommend looking these over and measuring your kids before you start telling them how fun something is going to be.

Please Have Fun!

I am convinced that the families making the best memories are the ones who are letting loose and having fun together.  One of my favorite memories of my first trip to Disney was sitting in the Polynesian for breakfast and my dad and uncle singing along to every song.  I watch several families who are making similar silly memories as they dance together in Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor or sing along with Anna and Elsa.  Those parents look like they are enjoying the trip that they planned and budgeted for as much as the kids are enjoying it.  I think that’s what Walt intended; fun family time.

So parents, I know you’re doing a lot to get your kids to Disney.  I know that there will be meltdowns that are out of your control.  I know that you are doing a great job 365 days a year at being a parent.  Just don’t push the envelope.  Let it be fun for the whole family!

The “No Resolutions” Post…

Can’t we all just have New Years Resolutions that involve Netflix marathons and eating more burritos?  Cause I could totally jump on that resolution train since in the 3 days of  2015 that’s basically all I’ve done.  I mean, what do you expect?  Friends is on Netflix now!

Happy  2015 guys!

Happy 2015 guys!

Anyway, I have never been a “resolution” person.  Like many of you out there, I have made resolutions that have fallen by the wayside before February.  I think resolutions have a place in the lives of determined, well put together people who are really good at self-discipline.  I am not that person.  So every year I make goals.  I do think this is different because the goals that I make are long-term.  I mean, those determined well put together people probably get to December 31st after a year of accomplishing their resolution and think “I should keep doing this!”  But, again, I know myself.  If by some miracle I did get to December 31st I would probably be more likely to be like “Yay!  I did it! Now I’ll eat all the cake!” and everything I worked for goes away.

“But Bekah! Once you start eating healthy, you won’t be able to stop! It’s so great to feel great…”

Blah blah blah whatever.  I’ve been there.  I ate soooo healthy and worked out sooo much for 6 months straight.  I felt great.  Lost weight.  And lost all motivation to continue the lifestyle.  So it’s totally possible to go back to cake, guys.

I’m getting off track, again.  So this post is my “No Resolution” goals.  This is a list that I want to work on this year and build upon every year for the rest of forever.

Goal #1:  Read 26 books.

You can see my running list of must read books here.  It’s already pretty full.  Why 26 you might ask?  It’s a book every other week.  It made sense.

Goal #2:  Cook more with other people.

I really enjoy my time in the kitchen.  I love to try new things and the sense of accomplishment I feel when I make something for the first time (like the great Indian food day of 2014) is incomparable and mildly weird.  You can find out the recipes I’m hoping to conquer this year here.  But I haven’t shared my food experiences with people (other than my wonderful husband) because I’m always scared of what will happen if something doesn’t work out.  I want to learn to be ok with a dish not being perfect the first time and still be willing to present it on a plate to others and know that they will still love me.  I’m a recovering perfectionist after all.  I think this is a good step.

Goal #3:  Set some career goals.

You can laugh, it’s ok.  Right now my “career” has looked like “Get a Masters diploma and hang on the wall*.”  There are lots of things I want to accomplish that actually use my Masters in Christian Ministries (gasp!)  I just think I need to outline it a bit and…just… figure it out.

Goal #4:  Write More.

I really enjoy writing.  Like, really really enjoy it.  So I decided that I am going to replace 3 hours of pointless web browsing with writing each week.  (Don’t judge me.  You know you do it to!)

Goal #5:  Eat more healthy food than unhealthy foods.

So, here’s the thing.  Before we moved to Florida, we ate really healthy and both had a workout routine.  Then we moved to the land of sunshine and palm trees and instantly began eating like we were on vacation.  And since I wasn’t following my healthy foods plan, I began to make all the foods that I missed all at once.  I went from lettuce wraps, fish tacos, and zucchini lasagna to jalepeno popper mac’n’cheese, enchilada casserole, and baked pasta.  And it shows.  Big time.  So My goal is to cut the unhealthy meals to once or twice a week and bump the healthy meals back up to the majority of the meals.

So that’s it.  These are my 2015 goals.  Nothing too pretentious.  If I’m totally being honest, most of these are things I would do anyway (like reading 26 books).  It’s just a matter of determination.

I think I’m going to check in on this with you guys every once in a while.  I’ll let you know my progress, or lack thereof, and we will work through this together.  Sound good?  Great!

Now tell me, what are some of your goals?  Are you one of those put-together people that has actual resolutions?  What books should I add to my list.

 

*if I’m being completely honest, 6 months later and I just got the diploma in a frame… which is currently laying on the office floor.

2014 Where Did You Go??

I swear it was just yesterday that I was reflecting on 2013 thinking “How in the world will 2014 live up to this?!”  In 2013, I quit my job, went to grad school, went on multiple trips, and caught up with friends I hadn’t seen in forever.  I loved 2013.  I was scared to see it go and yet now I see how perfectly my 2013 prepared me for my wonderful and completely different 2014.

I’m sitting on my couch curled up next to the Christmas tree (Yes it’s still up!  Don’t judge my choices!), watching “30 Rock” and drinking coffee (Yes at 10pm!  Again, don’t judge me!) and realizing how utterly weird, quirky, surprising, stretching and amazing 2014 has been.  To truly recap all the happenings, I decided to compile this list of 2,014 things that happened in 2014…

JUST KIDDING!!!!

Here is my list of things that are significant from this year, that I want to remember, or that just stick out.

1. I read 20 non-school books.

2. I earned my Master of Arts in Christian Ministries.

3.  I cultivated a deep and unmitigated hatred of sand!  That stuff is the herpes of the sea and I don’t care what you think, I despise the stuff.

4.  I was asked by a random person in Target what kind of lipgloss I was wearing only for me to reply that I had just consumed a hashbrown from McDonald’s. (hashtag classy!)

5.  I conquered several recipes (pad thai, pasta bolognese, pot stickers, butter chicken, naan bread, pasta carbonara, and many others)

6.  I painted exactly 31 coats of paint, in 9 different rooms, while listening to 5 different audiobooks.

7.  We moved to Orlando

8. I became an annual passholder at Disney World!

9.  I learned how to rewire a garbage disposal.

10.  I walked out of my condo, onto the beach, and watched a rocket launch.

11.  I didn’t write a book.

12.  I did write enough grad school papers to equal a book though.

13.  The Chestnut Praline Latte at Starbucks changed my life.

14.  We sold our house by owner in less than 2 weeks.

15.  I watched and fell in love with the first 5 seasons of Doctor Who.  #nerdstatus

16.  The Buffalo Wild Wings spicy garlic mac and cheese was birthed within the depths of my kitchen.

17.  I realized that Brandon and I’s relationship more resembles Michael and Holly’s relationship from “the Office” rather than Jim and Pam.

18. I accepted that #17 was ok.

19.  I met the wonderful, amazing, Rock Star of a team that is the Victory Orlando Dream Team.

20. I discovered the Croque Glace’ at Epcot.  (It’s this thing.  It Changed my Life and my pant size.)

21. I found a love for writing for writing’s sake.

22.  I re-discovered my love for creating systems, and order, and helping people help others.

23.  My grandma went to be with Jesus.  We couldn’t be happier for her!

24.  We learned how to install an entire kitchen on our own.

25.  We decided not to ever install an entire kitchen again.

26.  I discovered Cookie Butter and it changed my life and my pant size.

27.  I learned how to get around most of Orlando without the help of Siri

28.  I got yelled at by Siri a lot (make. a. u-turn. will haunt my dreams for most of 2015)

29.  I saw a baby sea turtle and it was adorable.

30.  I drank 400+ cups of coffee.  Easily.  Possibly more. Because maybe you can measure a year in cups of coffee.

31. We fit all our belongings in a 7x7ft POD.

32.  I was super proud of #31.

33.  I learned that you should make your own opinions of people rather than take on your friends opinions of them.

34.  I developed an obsession with gel stain.

35. I realized that HGTV and Pinterest give you a very false sense of ability.

36.  I made Jabba the Snowman.

37.  I realized that it’s important to fight for who you are rather than let people push you into boxes of who you used to be.

38.  I ate more Thai-style Ramen than I care to fully admit.

39.  #38 will definitely happen in 2015.

40.  I wrote this blog post.

 

You did it.  I did it.  We all did it together.  2014 is nearing it’s end.  With all of it’s triumphs, embarrassments and discoveries we will leave it behind and move on.  I urge you to move on.  Leave the things of 2014 behind you.  Even the good things.  It’s time to focus on what 2015 has for us and not judge it by the measuring stick of 2014.  It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life, and I’m feelin’ good. (Buble’ anyone?)

What was your favorite part of 2014?  Did you have similarly embarrassing moments to my #4? Let me know in the comments!

Happy *almost* New Year!

 

 

I Hate Grocery Shopping!

I’m gunna be super real with you guys right now.  I have a profound and slightly unmerited hatred of grocery shopping.  It’s probably deeply rooted in my similar distain for all things inefficient, but that’s another blog for another time.  I have become a champion at putting off grocery shopping until the last possible minute.  In fact, let me be a bit transparent and let you in on the current status of my refrigerator…

Pathetic demonstration of grocery store loathing

Pathetic demonstration of grocery store loathing.

I know!  Pathetic right?  But what’s REALLY pathetic and somewhat of a personal trophy/ challenge/ an excuse to continue to put off grocery shopping is that I can still at this moment think of at least 3 more meals that I can get out of the few ingredients we have left.  Ten if I could convince my husband that salad is a meal.  But he follows closely to the Ron Swanson theory of “You just gave me the food that my food is supposed to eat.”

Now, what was I saying… oh yes, I was pointlessly going to rant about grocery shopping in hopes that I could get an “amen” from the peanut gallery. Or, if nothing else, put off my grocery shopping a smidge longer.

So, my official list of why I find grocery shopping to be the worst thing ever!

1. I ALWAYS get the cart with a bad wheel.

Always.  No exception.  I have even gone so far as to take my cart for a test drive in little circles in the front of the store to make sure that I don’t have to use what little patience I do possess to maneuver what I would liken to pulling a stubborn pack-mule through a grocery store. But alas, it never works and half way through my trip I am wrestling with a wonky cart looking like I stepped out of a Vita-meata-vegamin commercial.  Pass!

2.  Everyone else in the store.

It may come as zero surprise to you that I go to the grocery store armed and ready with a pre-organized list of every ingredient that I need in order to make meals for the next week.  It keeps me from pulling into my driveway post-trip and thinking “Crap, I forgot butter!”  Because believe you me, I will ALWAYS forget the items that are not on my list. But everyone else in the store seems to not be similarly prepared.  They are wondering around aimlessly with similar cart issues to the one stated above and… good gracious I fight my inner desire to gently nudge people out of my way with my incapacitated cart.

3.  There is always at least one item on my list that is completely out of stock.

Sigh.  Next!

4. I always pick the wrong check out line.

How is it possible that it takes me longer to check out than it did to navigate the entire store with my detailed list and a stubborn pack-mule cart?  Like why is this a thing!  And how do I inevitably find the person who doesn’t know the produce code for onions?  Like, do other people not get onions all the time?  Isn’t this something that my cashier puts in a gazillion times a day, but still has to look it up?

Patience is obviously not my forte’ and as much as I am still working on not living with a false sense of rush, there are some things that I just don’t feel doing.  At.  All.  Why?  Because I know it will be an opportunity where I have to make a choice.  I have to choose whether or not I am going to be calm and act like a well-behaved adult (a Christian one at that).  Sometimes the choice is easy, and others I have to choose to swing a holy bat at my flesh and tell it to pipe down.  And for me, grocery shopping as minimal in the grand scheme of life as it may be, is one of those opportunities.

So, tell me.  What are some of your opportunities for overcoming the places where you experience impatience?  Or are you one of those people that is always patient and that your office printer always behaves?  Let me know, I’m looking for heroes here!

Note:  I am fully aware that this is a major first-world problem!  I am so entirely grateful that my hatred of the grocery store does not stem from my inability to afford groceries.  I am just writing to make a point that sometimes the things that seem to be frustrating are not insurmountable when it comes to our patience levels.  Ok.  Carry on.