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Showing posts from October, 2017

31 Days: Rest

This is me in a tiny hotel room in London. What I wanted to do was rest because it had been so many hours since I had left home but there was a huge city to see and no time to rest.

I want to look at my life like this. I've spent too much time sitting on my couch resting. I want to write on this blog more, I want to work on my house, I want to cook for myself. There is so much out there to do. Too much to spend time on my couch resting.

You would think that after spending 31 days writing that I would want to rest. But it has invigorated me to write more.

I hope you will continue to visit my blog to see what I do instead of rest.

31 Days: Refine

I feel like this 31 Days has refined my writing skills and refined my desire to do this blog. And it has refined my faith in myself that I can chose a task and accomplish it. I think this is the first time I've not missed a day of posts.

It feels good to get back to this blog and I've been refining my ideas of what I want it to do with it in the future.

And now before I use the word refine one more time, I will end this 30th day post.

31 Days: Follow

Today was the fall carnival at my church and I am so glad that 12 people decided to follow my pleas and decorate cars for the trunk or treat. There is an elementary school only blocks from my church that has almost 1000 students. Many of those students live in neighborhoods that aren't safe for trick or treating so my church hosts this fun, safe event for them.

As followers of Christ, we should reach out to those around us and do what we can for them. Even it that is just a cake walk, some face painting, and bags of candy, I hope that the kids who came to the carnival today felt God's love for them through an afternoon of fun.

31 Days: Connect

When I visited Canada for an earth science editors' conference last month, the hotel I stayed at had several inuksuks around the property. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia website, in Inuktitut, the term inuksuk means "to act in the capacity of a human." What is more human than wanting to connect with people?

One of the best things about attending professional conferences is connecting with people who do the same kind of job as you. If you go to the same conference every year, you build strong connections with people that always attend with you. It is wonderful to have connections like that if you have a question or need a second opinion on a problem. It's essential if you work in an environment where you are the only person who does your kind of job.

It is scary to go into those situations to connect with people. Walking into a room where I don't know anyone or I do know them and their job title intimidates me can be terrifying. It is so rewarding though.…

31 Days: Overcome for Five Minute Friday

This is how I like to think of myself. Like St. George slaying the dragon. Overcoming obstacles and fears. Persevering against those who try to knock me down.

I didn't always think of myself this way. I used to take what was handed to me. I used to accept how people treated me. I thought if I nodded and said yes, it would make everything ok. But people still left.

So I overcame that mentality of being who I thought I needed to be. I slayed the dragon of insecurity. I overcame my feelings of inferiority. I overcame my self-doubt. I have overcome the need to change who I am to please people. Now I am just me.

And in the overcoming, I have overcome the need to pretend. I have overcome playing different roles for the people I am with.

I have overcome the need to be anyone but me. I have overcome the feeling that I am not enough.

I have overcome the dragons that made me doubt myself and now I rest my head on the one truth that matters. I am a child of the most high God. Overcome that,…

31 Days: Change

Last year my theme for 31 Days was ways I could change based on the prompts given by Christina Hubbard. I thought I would review my progress of the past year.

Day 1: Walk. Walking is motion and I think I have done a good job of moving forward. I feel better about my life than I have in a long time.
Day 2: Paint. I haven't painted anything in the past year but I have worked on some decluttering projects.
Day 3: Wardrobe. I'm not back into my skinny wardrobe yet but I've been trying to appreciate my body as it is and I'm learning to accessorize with new jewelry while I work on the weight loss.
Day 4: Brew: I have been switching to tea after my morning coffee has kicked in and I have succeeded in starting and ending my day with prayer.
Day 5: Silence. I'm still not good with silence but I'm not as anxious about hearing God as I used to be.
Day 6: You. I hope that I am better at listening to what other people need. I know that I feel better when I do.
Day 7: Test.…

31 Days: How I Enjoy Wasting My Time

This is a photo I took for insurance purposes when I was getting ready to go on a trip. I wanted to use it because my favorite way to waste time is watching tv. Then I started looking closer at it and realized it has so much more in it that illustrate my pastimes.

A Netflix envelope. Yes I still get DVDs but I also watch Netflix online and I have a Hulu account. Some day I will do a post on how many DVDs I own.On the bottom shelf of the table is a cross stitch project I've been working on for eons. I love cross stitching, I don't know why I don't do it more.To the left of the tv is a package containing a sample of a countertop for my kitchen along with a box of design books.. I love wasting time looking through magazines for home improvement ideas. Also in this photo are my Bible and the folder full of notes I've taken from sermons I've watched on tv. Studying God's word is the best way I can think of to turn my love of tv from a waste of time to time well spen…

31 Days: Revise What You Look For In Friends

Once again I'm combining two prompts: revise and what you look for in friends.

I used to wish I had friends that were cool. Ones who knew all the hip restaurants. Ones who watch the same tv shows as I do. Ones who wanted to do cool things like my city's monthly art crawl.

But I got something better. I started going to my church's book club and I got to know some really genuine people. Ones who are awesome cooks and have served me meals better than any restaurant. Ones who tell me about tv shows I've never watched. Ones who bring me so much joy every month when we get together.

These people have changed what I look for in friends. I now look for people with strength, courage, and leadership, just like the lion symbolizes. And I have found exactly those kinds of friends in my book club. I am so glad that I  revised what I was looking for, I'm so much better for it.

31 Days: Work

In 2015 my company went through a restructuring and at the same time, they rearranged our office space, moving people around so they were grouped based on the new organization chart. This office was temporary, only for about a week or so but the work continues when you work on a monthly journal. A coworker thought my set up was so funny that she took a photo of me in action.

Work is what keeps me up at night. How will I get all of the work done, not just in my day job but also in my part-time job, and the work I want to do on my house? I have over 50 papers to proofread on the shelves in my office. My record is reading six in a day. I have a dream of days at work where I could actually put my head down and get work done. Then my email dings and I am awaken from my dream by a problem that needs my attention right now.

I am so lucky to have part-time work that I can do at home that helps me pay my bills. But some days I long for a life where I only have one job and no work to do after …

31 Days: Light

Every Sunday I go to church so that God's light can shine on me and prepare me for the week ahead. Sometimes that light wraps me in God's love and sometimes it shows me what I need to be working on.

First thing this morning someone came up to me and started quizzing me about the plans for the fall carnival I am organizing for next week. As he offered his ideas on what I should be doing and how I should be doing them, I found myself getting more and more irritated. God's light was showing me that I usually take ideas as criticism and that I do not take criticism well. So instead of continuing to be irritated, I counted to ten, listened to the ideas, and realized that this person was just trying to help.

God also shined His light on how far I have come in handling my mistakes. I was liturgist today and instead of reading Hebrews 11:8-12 and I started reading Hebrews 1:8-12. The pastor tried to tell me I had chosen the wrong chapter but I thought he meant that I should stop …

31 Days: My Dream Job Is To Give

As I was thinking about today's post, I wasn't sure what to write about the Five Minute Free Write prompt Give so I chose My Dream Job from the Write 31 Days prompt. Then as I thought about my dream job, I realized that to give is my dream job.

I want my writing to give to people, to help them adjust to big life changes. Even if my proofreading skills could be put to use for writing that has this goal, that would be my dream.

The shell can symbolize victory over suffering. That's what my dream job would give people, victory over suffering.

The best part of my dream job is that I could do it from anywhere. I want to travel and see the world. I've written about how I would love to live in Paris. I could write or proofread in Paris. I could write or proofread on a train to someplace else. And as I give myself the life I've dreamed about, hopefully me living my dream would give to those who read about it the courage to live their dream.

I can't think of a better j…

31 Days: Discover for Five Minute Friday

In 2010 I was in New Orleans for work. I had a free morning and I wanted to see St.Louis Cathedral so I headed out from my hotel to find Jackson Square. Except I went the opposite direction I should have and discovered the Garden District instead. It wasn't what I set out to see but it was a discovery none the less. Instead of finding a grand church, I found streets lined with beautiful homes like this.

Isn't life so much like that? You have your mind set on one path and you discover something completely different. And so often that discovery is so much better than what you set out to do.

The problem is that so often we don't let ourselves discover the beauty in the difference or even the beauty in the journey to the discovery. We get so blinded by what we expected or wanted that we miss the chance to discover something wonderful.

Luckily instead of turning around and heading back to my hotel, I decided to see what I could discover in the opposite direction and I saw beau…

31 Days: Brave

About a month ago, I made a trip to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. It is 250 miles south of the Artic Circle at 62.4540° N, 114.3718° W. That's way north. It took me 12 hours of traveling to get there. I was terrified. I'm not afraid of flying, I was afraid of going all that way by myself. Of navigating 3 airports, of finding a hotel shuttle, and visiting a new city on my own. But I did it and look at how my bravery was rewarded. I saw the Northern Lights.

For the most part, I did just fine navigating by myself. I did take a wrong turn in the Calgary airport when heading to the gate and was met with locked doors and the fear of missing my plane but I took comfort in the fact that 3 other people had done the same thing.

I also survived being the first on the agenda of the conference for earth science editors, the purpose for my trip to Yellowknife. 

I had some of the best fish and chips of my life, twice, in this place called Bullocks' Bistro.

I saw this plane lan…

31 Days: Share

I'm combining the Five Minute prompt Share with the Write 31 Days prompt 10 Things You Like About Yourself.

I have a great memory for birthdays and anniversaries and I'm still old school and mail cards.I'm really good at finding typos and mistakes. Even though I often struggle with resisting the urge to conform, I march to my own drummer and have since birth as evidenced by the photo above.I've invented some pretty good dishes, like Saturday Shrimp.Before the internet, my friends always asked me "Who starred in that movie?" or "What was the name of the tv show?" They still count on me to remember the history of our friendship.I have a wide range when it comes to music taste. There is everything from Pavarotti to Pink in my iTunes library.I can keep a secret.I love that I am left handed.I'm awesome at making people laugh.I am a child of the most high God.

31 Days: Grow

No, this isn't my backyard. This is Monet's garden at Giverny. About the only thing I could relate to in this garden was this

We call this polk in Oklahoma and I was so excited to see this invasive plant growing in such a beautiful place. In defense of polk, you can eat it but according to my father, it is more trouble than it's worth to prepare.

Right now I have a love/hate relationship with the word grow. By this time in the year, I can usually stop having the lawn guy mow my grass and spend that money on something fun like new sweaters for fall. And by now I can usually spend some time outside getting rid of volunteer plants like polk but Saturday's high was 90 and I don't do yard work when it's that hot.

Here are some before and after photos of my backyard. My dad helped me clean it up this spring. Unfortunately, things have grown back some since then but I hope to get back out to my yard when the weather cools off and get the backyard whipped into shape.

31 Days: Read

Seven years ago, I had another blog and I did a post on the number of books I had. For today's post on read, I decided to revisit the number of books I own. I developed some categories in case I decided to pick one to tackle. Here is the count:

Theology: 96
Travel: 61
Self-help: 52
Fiction: 40
Literature: 38
Nonfiction: 16 Home: 8
Fitness: 7

And on my Kindle, I have 168 books. I didn't categorize those other than to count that I've read 17 of them. (Thank you book club!)

In case you think all 318 of those books are displayed neatly like the photo above, here's a photo of another shelf that is more realistic.

I won't bore you with a photo of the boxes of books that I have. Or the screen of my Kindle.

I thought this would depress me to count all of the unread books but instead it has inspired me to read more. I use the excuse that I read all day at work but really it's so much easier to veg in front of the tv, especially at the beginning of the new season when m…

31 Days: Remain

Today I gave this stewardship testimony at my church. We are going through a difficult time financially so it is crucial that the congregation remain steadfast in their commitment to the church, both financially and with our time. I cannot begin to repay what this church has given to me. I will remain here forever.

For some background, my pastor used lyrics from Tom Petty "Stand My Ground" in his letter to the members about the stewardship campaign. He also placed those lyrics on the church's marque, just like he put Prince lyrics on the sign after his passing.

As I was working on this talk Friday, a Tom Petty song randomly played on my iTunes. That is out of 6583 songs, only 24 of which are Tom Petty songs.  If that isn’t a sign from God, I don’t know what is. It’s as close to a burning bush as I’m probably ever going to get.
I love that our church puts Tom Petty and Prince lyrics on our marquee. When I passed out Frisbees to TU students in August, it was what they remem…

31 Days: Try

When I read today's Free Write prompt, this song by Colbie Caillat popped into my head immediately. I love the message of this song. Here is a portion of the lyrics:

Wait a second, Why should you care, what they think of you When you're all alone, by yourself Do you like you? Do you like you?

You don't have to try so hard You don't have to give it all away You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up You don't have to change a single thing

Who isn't a little too hard on themselves? We need to stop trying to be like anyone else and just be ourselves. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. We need to try to remember that.

31 Days: Invite for Five Minute Friday

Is there anything better than receiving an invitation to do something fun? This is a photo from a concert that my friend invited me to attend with her. It is the band Dawes. The evening was so much fun. We grabbed dinner at a restaurant my friend had never been to and then we stood in line for the general admission show. Since we were the third and fourth people in line, we were able to get right up next to the stage. It was one of the most amazing evenings I've ever had.

It was so nice that my friend, someone I met at church, remembered that I liked this band and invited me to join her at their concert. It is hard to make new friends after a certain age and this invitation from her made me so thankful that I had someone to go out and have fun with.

I think invitations are one of the best things that being the part of a church bring to my life. On my first Sunday there, someone invited me to attend a Sunday School class. The next invitation I received was for the women's book…

31 Days: My Most Memorable Trip

My most memorable trip was the three weeks I spent in Europe in 2013. It was my 50th birthday present to myself. That year, I wrote about it for 31 Days. It was a dream come true and I've dreamed of going back ever since, especially to Paris. The photo above was the first time I laid my eyes on Notre Dame. The next time I go back, I'm going to attend a service there.

Can you imagine worshiping God every Sunday in the splendor?

Our first stop was London. I can't believe we were this close to Kensington Palace, the home of William and Kate.

We also saw Windsor Castle, where the Queen spends her weekends.

Stonehenge was amazing.

My sister and I were talking at dinner tonight about the burgers at this restaurant. They were so good we ate there twice in one week.

We took the train to Paris and I fell in love with that city. Both my sister and I feel at home there. We were so excited when we had our DNA tested and it said we were western European. We took that to mean our ancest…

31 Days: Remember

It is ironic that the prompt for today is remember when I almost forgot to do a post. Luckily, I have 8 minutes left in the day.

I've been trying to remember why I wanted to do a blog. I know that one of the main reasons was after my divorce, I only found one blog that talked about divorce from a Christian perspective. Also, most Christian blogs were written by happily married women who used endearing terms like "the hubs" and "the littles." I wanted spiritual nourishment from someone I could relate to instead of someone who had everything I dreamed of having.

I thought, if I felt like that, there had to be other women out there like me who need to know that God still loved them and had a good plan for their life despite their heartbreak.

As I type this I remembered that another thought I had for this blog was to help others like me who wanted to cook good meals for one without getting tired of leftovers or wasting ingredients when trying to cut recipes in hal…