personal

To the odd birds!

Productivity...how do you find it?! I’m at my personal best when the rest of the world is at actually at lunch!

I am semi-functional in the morning, but somehow manage to get a surge of great ideas right around the end of my 1 o’clock lunch break.

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0479.jpg


So what does that make me, I often wonder. Not exactly an early bird. Not exactly a night own. But I guess whatever bird is it that thrives in the afternoons?

Here’s to the odd birds among us. :)

Happy Friday!

Time Flies. Like, for real.

 

Little did this kid know that she’d change our family’s life forever.

You know how some kids kinda come out of the womb looking like they need just a little time to grow into their head? (#letsbereal)

Yeah, well, not this kid. My eyes saw nothing but the cutest, pink faced baby in the nursery that day so many years ago. The minute she was born, it was as if she could have had the word “sweet” tatooed on her forehead - she really was a gentle little soul, a funny kid that grew in goofiness and now morphing into a young woman I have extensive eyebrow/Sephora conversations with.

WHERE. DID. TIME. GO? *insert silent weeping here*

I love this kid and am so proud to be her auntie.

Happy birthday, baby girl. You are so incredibly loved.

P.S. And yes, I know you’ll eye roll at this photo. BUT I’M YOUR AUNTIE AND IT’S PART OF MY JOB DESCRIPTION. :)

IMG_1295.jpg
 

My Wimpy Dreams

My dreams, turns out, are way too wimpy. Like, insert the *womp, womp, womp* sounds right here wimpy. Upon this realization, amazingly enough, I didn't cry. :)

It's a little more than halfway through 2018 and also that time when I like to look back and forward all at once. To assess goals, to dream up new ones, and even to stop and awaken the parts of my heart that grow sleepy and comfortable with complacency when things still seem to have a ways to go. 

I'm reading this book right now called "All In" by Mark Batterson. In fact, I've already finished it and am actually going back and reading it a second time. Yes, it's that good and I highly recommend you stop reading this for one moment, go order it on Amazon, and then come back and continue reading my blog post. :)

GOSWAMY, Ritu_EDITED21.JPG

 

The one thing that stands out about this book isn't that it gives some new and improved way to do things, to structure goals, to make dreams come true - nope. In fact, the main reason this book is phenomenal because it's actually kicking me in the @#$ in the best way possible and in fact, making me see that perhaps, JUST PERHAPS, my dreams are a bit too small. It's making me frustrated, but frustrated in a good way, frustrated in a way that makes me see that IF I say I know God, do my dreams reflect that? Am I playing offensive or defensive in my career goals, my marriage, hell, even in the my daily THINKING?!? And so far, after evaluating my lovely and structured plans for 2018, the answer is bit of an embarrassed "uh, oops. Dang, I live and dream WAAAAY too small!"

In a way this book has fanned the flame of a a fight that's been awakened in my sleepy heart, a frustration that is birthing much needed change. It's a little scary and a little exciting and a whole-lotta convicting to know that a huge chunk of me FORGOT big time that it's about charging forward to FOLLOW Jesus, not charging forward and dragging Him along to follow me. It's getting me to suddenly dream up new goals that seem impossible to achieve, but moving forward with them because in God's world "impossible/crazy" is actually the norm. 

Today I am reminded that while the idea of "reaching for the sky" is awesome, a life given over in trust to the leadership of the Almighty makes reaching for the sky seem like child's play. His plans are far greater, far grander, and ridiculously more than I can ever imagine or dream of. And while the scared/excited/frustration/fight emotions are certainly still all present in me from this huge reminder, I am finding more confidence and wholeness in what He promises of my life than even what I can dream up of my life on my own. 

P.S. Just so you know, I learned about the book "All In" from the amazing story teller and spoken word artist Hosanna Poetry - someone ya'll need to follow as well. :) 

 

Avoiding the Camera...no more

Everybody has got some hang up about themselves that makes them avoid the camera. For myself, I never was a fan of the fact that I looked like the mirror image of a deer caught in the headlights because my eyes were round or that I inherited my dad's jawline with a healthy dose of chipmunk cheek along with it. When I smiled, I swear my two front bunny teeth reached out and touched the camera to say what's up.

Aaaaand let's not talk about the two caterpillars  served as my uni-brow. I mean, eyebrows.

Now that I'm older, I'm not saying I'm over certain hangups about myself. No, no, no.....Not saying I don't have those days when I secretly cringe at a photo that's been posted on social media from a family gathering or a hangout with friends.  (How the heck does one of my eyes look bug-eyed and the other normal? Seriously.....HOW?!?) I see my age showing. I see the lines of white hair that stick out  more. Yes, man'm, I sho do see them. 

However......and you knew this was coming....even in that moment I am staring at an imperfect photo, already relentlessly listing all the criticisms I see in my face - well, it's then that I, too, have to scold that voice and also remember about the other things I ALSO see in that photo. A memory made. A crooked smile and a face that looks like I was weirdly constipated because my loved ones and I couldn't stop laughing long enough to take a "perfect" photo. The signs that show I am aging because it means I was basically given another day to live and another moment to remember with friends and family in a photograph. Eyebrows? They and my tweezers get a long just fine.

And shoot, those bunny teeth? If they're showing, it means I was smiling and happy. So yeah, I'll take 'em.

My point is this. Just because I'm a photographer, doesn't mean I don't understand the weirdness and hangups that come with avoiding the camera. It does, however, remind me big time of the more important stuff - that I'm fortunate enough to have moments like that in my life that are worthy of being captured on camera, that I got people to share those memories with, that I had lots of reasons to smile and celebrate and take both the cute and not so cute photos. 

These caterpillar brows and bunny teeth are avoiding the camera no more. And they're on a mission to remind others the same thing. 

Cheers to existing in photos - bunny teeth grins and all. 

The camera OBVIOUSLY loved us. 

The camera OBVIOUSLY loved us. 

 

 

Wonder Woman Needs Mac N Cheese

It has been one of those weeks.

The kind that can only be summed up by the use of emoji's. Mostly the "smiling ice cream" emoji.

The kind where you are stoked to go home and eat some Kraft Mac N Cheese for dinner.....with jumbo marshmallows for dessert.

The kind where a snuggle with the four-legged fur monster feels like a bit of heaven at the end of a long day.  

The kind where opening a jar on your own makes you feel a little bit like Wonder Woman again. Also, is it possible to have a pet penguin?

Happy Friday, everyone. YOU SHOW THOSE SPAGHETTI JARS WHO'S THE BOSS!

 
 

Joy is in the grand things....but also in a bowl of beef chow fun.

When 2017 rolled around, I, like many others, wrote down goals, hopes, and dreams to celebrate the fresh start, the new beginning, the clean slate. This list, of course, had the usual exercise/fitness goals, business aspirations, etc., but this time around, unlike other past goals/hopes/dreams lists and resolutions, I also wanted to be intentional about finding those things to be thankful for - the tidbits of joy that I know are present around me, no matter if I recognize or acknowledge them. It could be a financial goal hit, yes, but just as importantly, it could be in the fact that I got to enjoy some McDonald's french fries. (Because who doesn't experience some joy in some MCD french fries??!!?)

I recently was told by a friend that you will always find what you are looking for, be it bad or good. This could apply to situations, life, even relationships with people. So yeah, in this case, I figured that it wouldn't hurt to be more intentional about documenting the tidbits of joy or things I could be thankful for at the end of each day. I recently flipped open my journal entry from a few days ago and this is what I found:

Today I am thankful for:

  • beef chow fun
  • working from home
  • reminders from Scripture to love like Christ did
  • an easy day
  • opportunities to network
  • repaired glasses
  • a new journal
  • warm pajamas
  • a clean kitchen sink
  • blogs about time of the month woes (can I get an amen, ladies?)
  • early bedtimes
  • smooth writing pens
  • new days and new chances
  • banana chocolate smoothies
  • Krazy glue

I think too often that I have the type of personality that gets caught up in the obsession with achieving the bigger goals or the bigger, more dramatic and grandeur seasons of life that I forget to enjoy the little bits along of the way. Things to be thankful for and pockets of joy are in crazy abundance all around and without a doubt my favorite thing about 2017 so far is being able to recognize them. 

Happy Wednesday!

A gift of....lists??

I like lists. Most days. Helps me stay on track, remember stuff, blah, blah, blah. Necessary, but not always fun. Like that one time you stuck a peanut up your nose and had to get it removed by the doctor.

Necessary, but not fun.

BUT...this book may change my mind. Lists might actually rate a 10 on the meter-o-fun....who knew?

Here goes! #52listsproject

List 1: 

List your favorite characters from books, movies, etc.

  1. Mary Poppins
  2. The Cat in The Hat
  3. Punky Brewster
  4. Strawberry Shortcake
  5. Ramona Quimby
  6. Claudia Kishi
  7. Jem
  8. Corey Matthews and Topanga Lawrence
  9. Eric Matthews
  10. Steve Urkel
  11. DJ Tanner
  12. Katniss Everdeen
  13. Mickey Mouse
  14. Cinderella
  15. Big Bird
  16. Wakko
  17. Scooby-Doo
  18. Sadness
  19. She-Ra
  20. Pinky
  21. Buttons and Mindy
  22. Slappy Squirrel
  23. Rainbow Brite
  24. Carlton Banks
  25. Agnes Gru

 

 

 

 

Life, Hope, and Beauty

 

"Cause I've been waiting my turn
Pressure's on
Now your heart is beating
To the sound of my name,
Come on out and find me..."

-Christina Grimmie

As I sit here staring at a blank screen, the haunting and beautiful voice of Christina Grimmie flows in soulful melody through the speakers. I couldn't really think of much to really say except that this weekend's tragic events in Florida occupy the space of my thoughts. Though far in distance, I find that as I get older, these events don't seem so far anymore and the people? Not strangers, but fellow humans that I wish did not have to suffer through this. 

It's often said that though artists have various mediums, various channels by which to express their art, we can still glean inspiration from each other. The potter to the dancer, the sketch artist to the musician, the painter to the photographer. It's quite beautiful actually, this connection. 

I first came across Christina Grimmie's music when I was looking up various performances by the incredibly talented dancers, Keone and Mari Madrid. Maybe it's the loss-for-words, graceful movement, maybe it's the heart and soul of Christina's voice, maybe it's the beautiful notes of every key struck on the piano. Her song, "Find Me" immediately pulled at my heart in for a listen. Whatever it is, the joining of these artists produced something beautiful and worth sharing. Maybe, in the wake of all of these tragedies, it's tiny glimmer of a reminder that there's still beauty, there's still life, there's still hope. 

#prayfororlando 

Motherhood or Not *insert freak out here*

I just recently returned from visiting my new nephew. And it's only been a day or so since my return - and already the withdrawals are kicking in bad. These chipmunk cheeks have that "I'll-steal-your-heart" kind of effect on this auntie. 

I get asked when my husband and I are going to have kids. Like, a lot now. It gets asked more than what we do for a living, I think. And if I'm being totally honest, the question has started to make me more and more uncomfortable with each passing year - you can practically see the neon-flashing sign across my forehead that brightly lights "AWKWARD" for all to see when this subject comes up. My skills at operating in avoidance mode have reached pro-status - I really should get award for it. 

I write this openly not because I'm anywhere closer to the answer, but more so as perhaps a therapy of some sort, to at least get used to talking about it openly without being paralyzed by fear that I'll never know what to decide. I am very career-driven, still have a lot I wish to do and accomplish, love a neat house, and quite frankly, internally freak out at the thought of driving a mini-van. 

I even fear what it will look like when my beloved dog won't get as much attention the baby. #let'skeepitreal #don'tjudgeme

I often talk to God about everything because I know He loves me entirely, but even on this subject, I have skillfully left it out of my prayers. Is it because I'm afraid of the answer? Or afraid of not even hearing the answer? Yes and heck yes. And yet, even in this cloud of confusion/don't-know yet state, I cling desperately to the small glimmer of hope that God is God and He is good and yes, His plan for me isn't horrible and I need to stop worrying. And sometimes a small glimmer of hope in God is all I need to start the journey of at least being able to openly discuss it. 

To be continued...

 

The first time I was told I was fat...

As I pondered writing this post, I couldn't think of any other title. Because really, how many ways could you nicely title a story about the time that you were told you looked like you gained weight? Kinda limited on your options for sweet sounding story titles, you know?

I consider myself fairly healthy. Yes, I try and eat right, exercise regularly, and absolutely believe  that health is a gift to be treasured. I also believe it means balance which of course translates into moments of yes-I-sometimes-think-chips-look-prettier-than-an-apple." And chocolate? I'm a woman, 'nuff said.

This past weekend I was pulled aside by an individual at a party to be told that though I may not want to hear it, it looked like I had put on some weight. The worst part was the chuckle that followed the comment. 

And BOOM.  Just like that, someone just got bumped off my Christmas card list.

If I wrote cards. Anyway...

After playing it off and trying to graciously explained that weight-lifting causes some extra bulk, I walked away and continued to mingle with other folks at the party. But oh, man, that mortified feeling never quite left me that evening. 

Looking back on that  I realize that what bugged me even more wasn't really just what I was told, but the fact that I was so bothered by it and couldn't pull a Taylor Swift and just shake it off. Insecurity reared it's ugly head and was staring at me in the face with it's taunting grin -  no matter how hard I tried to strain and look away. I even went home and spent time examining my legs for any trace of cellulite. #pleasedontjudgeme

That simple statement of "I looked fat" suddenly had more power and hold over me than the more powerful truths of what God has said about me over and over and over again. That I am made in His image. That I am entirely loved. That I don't have to be a certain way to be accepted or validated. That He actually delights in me and sees me way beyond my physical attributes.

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." - Psalm 139:14

Suddenly all that confidence I thought I had, all the truths I knew in my heart and mind momentarily went down the drain as a result of the rudeness of another individual. Yep, it was kinda sad.

And if I felt that bad over that one time comment, I can't imagine what it must be like for women who hear this kind of talk on a daily basis. About their weight, their hair, their skin, what they do, or don't do, how smart or not smart someone thinks they are, what education they need...basically, here is where your deficit is loser! Now go fix it. 

Needless to say, the struggle of surviving through hurtful and abusive words is real for many women.

What I reminded from this experience isn't necessarily that I should just try  not to think about it. Because truth be told, I just don't have that willpower. 

No, it's way  more than that. I am reminded that I can actually forgive the rude words of someone else because I am greatly forgiven by a perfect God for the times I have used my words to hurt, whether intentionally or unintentionally and even forgiven for a lot worse that I have done. I am also reminded that my security about how I see myself needs to be rooted in Christ and no one else because He is the only one whose opinion and love for me doesn't change based on my outward appearance, what I do or don't do, whether I feel awesome or not. And while that kind of love and acceptance sounds crazy and nonsensical, it's also crazy fantastic as well. 

So yeah, dearly beloved woman who might be reading this: I don't know you and you don't know me. And I know you're reflex is probably to kick the person who so lovingly said something awful to you (I had to restrain my foot as well, believe me). But I hope somehow you'd know that there is One who loves you entirely and regards you as way more than your outer appearance.  Take care of your health yes, but also know that He's crazy about you and His acceptance of you isn't swayed by what is seen by the human eyes. 






30 Days of Thanks | Day 10 | Sister, Sister

I  used to wish I were an only child. I remember the pink pages of my Hello Kitty diary being filled with complaining for my very unfortunate lot in life, to be in constant company of not just one, but TWO of these beings called sisters. These rants came especially on the days when a favorite blouse went missing only to be "accidentally" discovered in my sisters' laundry pile. Or during the times that the lesson of sharing was highly emphasized in any situation involving chocolate or toys or a chance at the Nintendo controller. One wrong, cross-eyed look sometimes set into motion a spiral of fights, slamming of doors, and a vow that you will never get passed my half of the room!!


The pettiness as well as the crazy fun of our childhood together as sisters makes me smile. I don't know exactly when it happened, but in the wildly-woven fabric of our story, of our relationships, as life propelled us into the growing pains of adolescence and adulthood, I am reminded, so strongly, that I wouldn't trade the two gals that God decided a long time ago would be my sisters. Like, I actually love them. #whaaaat??

It's crazy to me to recall when the fights no longer were about toys, but were about missed phone calls. When it became less about sharing clothes and instead about sharing time. When it became about marriage, kids, careers, faith, failures, victories, and facing the unknowns. When it became about being unafraid to say that, this is harder than I can express, you're my sister, and I need you in my corner. 

I'm thankful that my Hello Kitty diary rants and wishes about wanting to be an an only child never came true. I look back and realize that God knew, far more than I ever did, that having siblings would be one of the best gifts I ever received.













30 Days of Thanks | Day 9 | Modern Medicine & Miracles

I'm not a fan of visiting the doctor's office, the sound of the automatic doors that slide open upon entering a hospital, the smell of a hospital, the charts all over the walls that show immense details of your digestive system, your bone structure, and the colored-chart of your epidermal system. It's immensely unnerving to me how one place such as a medical facility could hold such pivotal moments for people.

However, despite my sentiments and qualms about anything doctor/medical/hospital/colored-charts/automatic-sliding-doors-related, I can't deny my gratitude for how modern medicine also plays a significant part of great miracles.

In a series of unexpected events of the past two weeks, some friends of our recently welcomed this little miracle into the world. He was a a tad early, but fought like a champ every step of the way. I think he gets that the fighting spirit from his momma. :)

Looking back, even if the medical world ain't my cup of tea, I sure am thankful that God's hands worked through modern medicine, weird-sounding monitoring machines, and knowledgeable doctors and nurses to make sure that mommy and this little guy could come home.

#30daysofthanks

30-Days-of-thanks


30 Days of Thanks | Day 8 | Sibling Birthdays

My sister is a big of a nerd when it comes to her birthday. And when I say "nerd" I mean it in the most affectionate/loving/I-have-to-say-it-this-because-I'm-the-big-sister way. Even if it doesn't necessarily involve a huge birthday bash, jars of jelly beans or a rainbow-colored pony with some glitter, the girl will make it known to everybody and their momma that she's so happy because it's her birthday.

The thing is, she's like this with EVERYBODY'S birthday, not just her own. I remember one year, as we were shopping during my own birthday, she decided that it was important to announce to the sales associate at the shoe store that it was my birthday. Half of me was touched, while the other half of me wanted to give her a noogie.

As nerdy as she is, I guess I can appreciate her feelings about birthdays. After all, it's a celebration of life, the anniversary of the day God decided to make you real, to put forth His awesome plans into motion through you.

I love my siblings and for every year that they get to celebrate life, well, now that's something I'm always super thankful for.

Happy Birthday to my nerdy, little sister.

Oh, and this right here? A unique gift for birthdays or any occasion. Re-purposed keys that allow you to inscribe a message to the recipient and then meant to be passed on. Check out the story of the Los Angeles based company, The Giving Keys - they're just as cool as having a rainbow-colored pony on your birthday. Really. 

#30daysofthanks
The-Giving-Keys-birthday-gift

30 Days of Thanks | Day 7: Power Girl Books

People say to me all the time, "You have no fear." I tell them, "No, that's not true. I'm scared all the time. You have to fear in order to have courage. 
I'm a courageous person because I'm a scared person." 
- Ronda Rousey

I know nothing about the MMA (mixed-martial arts)...except that I would never willingly step into a cage knowing there's a good chance it'll be the last time I see my teeth.

However, when I learned about Ronda Rousey, I was immediately intrigued by her story not only as a judoka, not only as an mixed-martial arts fighter, or even as an Olympian, but as a woman whose story is paving the way for female-empowerment in a new way.

It's a little disheartening to see that young girls look up to other female role models based solely on appearance, the level of family drama broadcasted on social-media or their latest news-headlining vacation, or what they ate for breakfast. Don't get me wrong, I love fashion just like any other gal and yes, sometimes I get sucked into clicking on that latest Yahoo article about the scoop on someone's dating life. However, the women that stand out in my mind with the story worth reading about are those who are build their lives and careers around being advocates for women to have a healthy mind-set of their bodies, women who are fighters for their hopes and dreams, women who are real with all ups and downs, women who know that their work is influencing younger generations of girls for years to come.

I love reading and even more so, reading about the lives of individuals who are helping to shape the world for other women in meaningful ways.

Check out My Fight, Your Fight by Maria Burns-Ortiz and Ronda Rousey - I highly recommend it.

#girlpower
#30daysofthanks
Ronda-Rousey-My-Fight-Your-Fight

30 Days of Thanks | Day 6: Mistakes

You're never, EVER thankful for mistakes when you're in the midst of making them or even immediately right after it. Like, the day after, the month after, even perhaps the months and years after. Why? It's too painful, as if someone just sprinkled salt onto a freshly opened wound. I just really grossed myself out saying that. Further evidence that I was never meant to work in the medical field.

In thinking of things I'm thankful for, mistakes were obviously ranked waaay low on the totem of pole of subjects to write about, to express gratitude for. Reflecting on a few of them make my skin still crawl a little bit to this day. I was that kid who cringed to get a paper or assignment back in school and find nothing but red marks decorated generously across the incorrect answers or across the words of an essay I thought I poured enough effort into. I remember when I was a kid and made the mistake of thinking it was funny to call somebody "retarded" just because everyone else was doing it and I wanted to fit in. After getting in trouble for this, I learned that the words I casually threw around for fun could have a much harder and hurtful impact on someone else. Or that time I made the mistake of thinking I could wing it for a spelling bee competition, aka was too lazy to study and got my butt kicked after the first round after misspelling the word barracks. Learned the hard way that laziness and arrogant assumptions get you absolutely nowhere.

Growing older, mistakes were found in things beyond what a red marker could tangibly write on, stuff that was a little more serious - certain relationships, perhaps in regretful words that tumbled out,  even in a negative attitude eagerly burst forth that should have been restrained instead, certain choices in what occupied my time, etc. They go on and the list won't stop as I continue to live this life. And I'm learning to be ok with this. Slowly and at snail-paced/molasses speed, but learning.

My point? Mistakes simply suck but I can't deny it's profound effect on how they continue to help shape me as a person. Do I wish for mistakes? Hell no. In fact, in my tiny world, my secret wish is to never make mistakes anymore, to be as near perfect as possible...every day. I wish to take back, re-do many, many parts of my life just like the next person.

As self-absorbed and as gross as that sounds, I think deep down we all wish for perfection to some degree. It's kinda embarrassing and I'm super thankful that I don't have the ability God does to make things perfect. Because in essence, my idea of perfect also means that I wouldn't mature. A mistake-less existence would mean that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to grow.  It means that I wouldn't learn the crazy beauty of what it's like to be forgiven or to forgive, to let go, to have courage to speak up, to have the wisdom to stay silent. Mistakes teach my naturally impatient personality to wait. Mistakes prod at my heart to see bigger than what's immediately in front of me.

Do mistakes still make me cringe, cry, hide, and break down into that ugly hiccup-weeping where I can barely get a word out because of the tears running down my face and the snot plugging my ability to breathe? Yep. But for as long as God can continuously take my repeated mistakes, my cracks, imperfections, and turn them into something awesome and fill them with grace, I'll always end up just fine in the end. This is a truth for me that I fight hard to cling to every day.

#mistakesarelikeourmiraclegrowth

cracks-on-pavement

30 Days of Thanks | Day 5: Movie Quotes

It's not THAT old.

But seeing as how this movie came out when I was in the 9th grade and I'm now zyxerdaffsd;jfkjsadf years old....it feels a teeny bit dated.

HOWEVER! Thought-provoking, heart-tugging movies never go out of style for me and that's how I feel about watching "Mr. Holland's Opus".

I once heard another photographer talk about how she took the time to be inspired by other forms of art, ones that you would never think had anything to do with her own. She talked about watching ballet, movies, dance performances. In it, there is inspiration that awakens the other senses of a human being, perhaps even driving their creativity even more.



This was such a great reminder because so often, I get very caught up in following rules. And not necessarily in a way that's cute or endearing, but more like annoying and kinda controlling and ugh, you just end up feeling like the biggest loser because the world just caught a peek at something you're embarrassed about. And blech, I hate the feeling and hate admitting it even more. It's especially frustrating when I have these moments and discover  with incredible dismay that it's crept it's sneaky way into my photography. Have to do it this way, have to follow that process, have to structure it like so and so. All in the attempts to be, ironically, free and creative. 

I recently watched Mr. Holland's Opus and a line he said tugged at the controlling parts of my heart...

"Play the sunset..."



And in that tiny line, but profound line, I am reminded to let go. To photograph with a heart and mindset of freedom. To capture what I think is beautiful and creative and free and cool and inspiring and awesome. To allow myself as an artist to feel and create and put my own stamp on it instead of being confined by the unforgiving talons of fear or rules or the lie that this has to fit this box or that in order to be beautiful, worthy to be called art.

To play the sunset.
#30daysofthanks

30 Days of Thanks | Day 4: Handwritten Cards

Handwritten cards. I love them more than the present they are sometimes attached to.

There's something pretty awesome-sauce, high-five-fist-bump-worthy about the thought that someone took the time out of their day to stand in the card-aisle at Target or Paper Source and then took more to dig out a writing utensil from the depths of their purse or desk drawer and think of something to adequately express their hilarious birthday greetings, their anniversary best wishes, their love for you in their life.

Handwritten cards are awesome reminders that I have been undeservingly blessed with friends and family who'll stand in the card aisles just for that extra way to say they care.

#30daysofthanks


30 Days of Thanks | Day 3: Evidence

Her toys are currently scattered all over the floor of our home. And for some reason, it doesn't stir up the OCD in me.

In the office, in our bedroom, in the living room, in the hallway, in the kitchen. A tattered pink rope, a drooled on, half grey from dirt, half green tennis ball, a weird looking squaky toy whale named Wilhelmina. (Get it?!? A whale named Wilhelmina! The w's?? Deep down, I know my husband is in awe at his genius wife.)

The armrest area of one of the couches is worn down, scratched at and probably smells a little weird. This is probably due to the fact that when we first got her,she discovered she possessed the balancing skills of a cat and made perching on top of the couch armrest her a daily habit. Our duvet cover to this day, still maintains an old patch that was sewn on to cover a hole she created in the middle of the night as we peacefully slept. #hercreativeskills #morningsurprise #wecantsew #atleastitwasntpoopsheleft

She's eaten garbage, among other things, will faithfully "help" you clean up any scraps of food that drop in kitchen, and needs the "You are my sunshine..." lullaby before she settles down to sleep at night.

Is this a post from a crazy dog lover about their dog? Yep, you bet it is.

Because when you have a four legged furball that is the first to respond with drooling kisses when you cry, the first to greet you with unabashed joy every time you step through the door even if it was just to throw out the garbage, has the superhero ability to ease up the creases of worry on your forehead with a single nudge of her cold and wet nose....well, you can't help lose your heart to the world of her unconditional love. And I am thankful for the scattered toys, the weathered-down couch and simply the happy evidence around our home of her presence.

#30daysofthanks


30 Days of Thanks | Day 2: Ice Cream Memories

It didn't start off as a great day for me.

I mean, thank God for doctors and all, but as I get older, the more and more I become horribly anxious every year I go in for a routine check up. In all honesty, the thought of any possibility that my healthiness and healthy ways could be interrupted even for just a bit makes me shut down and freeze in absolute terror. All I could think of as I sat in the stark white examination room was why-oh-WHY didn't I call my mom to come with me? Because seriously, there are some days that I just need someone to hold my hand as if I were 5 years old again.

I don't know if it was the feeling of being scared-like-a-kid-again-morning I was having, but coming home after the doctor's visit to snack on a cup of mint chip ice cream made things feel a little better. Ice cream is fantastic on a whole lot of levels, but the memories it brought back were far sweeter than my little words can describe or capture.

Ice cream was serious business in my house growing up. I think the love of it may be some kind of genetic addiction thing that we all never got over. My ol' grandpa loved it long after his false teeth could handle it, my dad often joked that it always life better, and there are something, like, a million summer memories with my sisters that always involved Dad, Baskin Robbins, and the important decision to make between a cup or sugar cone.

I even recall the fact that when Dad couldn't find a spoon to dig into the pint of ice cream in our freezer, well, a fork would do. Try it. You'd be surprised at how well it actually works.

It was kinda nice that in the midst of this adult life, a small cup of mint-chip ice cream can bring an awesome boatload of childhood memories back to life and prod a smile out of an anxious face.

#30daysofthanks


30 Days of Thanks | Day 1: God's grace

A friend of mine recently took on an interesting challenge in honor of her recent birthday. This challenge entails 1 year/365 days of finding something in her day to be happy about. From finding joy in the mundane to the spectacular, she's documenting it all.

Hence this post. A challenge as long as a  year loooong makes me a little nervous, but perhaps that just goes to reveal the level of doubt I am a little embarrassed to admit I carry too much of. Almost as if I can hear an audible whisper that wonders if I'll even find something to be thankful for during the rest of this week. Well, how 'bout 30 days? Game on. 

Day One. I am thankful for God's grace. Seriously. Because whether I feel like being thankful or not, whether I "feel" deserving of it or not, whether my circumstances show happiness, sadness, apathy, joy, struggle, or triumph, heck, whether I believe it or not, it is always God's grace that remains a constant. I know that as a human, I am as fickle as the direction of the wind, yet God's grace is this rock-like anchor that remains present like crazy in my life. 

And I can't live without that crazy, rock-like anchor kinda of grace.

#30daysofthanks