Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Birthday Dad

[Photo taken July 2013, Burnsville, Minnesota]
Today is the birthday of one of my most favorite people, my Dad.
He may not have the same DNA that I do and he may not have raised me, 
but he is and will always be my Dad.

Dearest Dad,

Today we get to celebrate you and all the things we love about you.
You are always teaching and showing me new things.
You (and Mom) are my biggest cheerleaders.
You always tell me the best stories.
You can fix anything, be it a broken item or a bad attitude.
You love a certain young man just as much as I do.
You listen to me go on and on about girly things that are the least bit important to you.
You are always praying for me and with me.
Your hard work, drive and determination helps me to do the same.
You are the best tour guide I know.
You show me unconditional love and grace.
You are always willing to learn new things and in doing so 
you remind me that embracing change is a good quality to embody.

There is no daughter who is more proud of her Dad than I am of you. Here's to 53+ more birthdays.

Happy Birthday!

Your Fave Daughter

Thursday, November 28, 2013

For this I am Grateful

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought." 
- Matthew 5:5 MSG

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever." - Psalm 118:1

"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough." 
- Mesister Eckhart

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

For this I am grateful.

For family, friends who are like family, and friends all over that make life rich.

For a relationship with the Creator and the promise of eternal life through the death of Jesus Christ.

For health and exercise.

For travel and the opportunity to explore new places.

For technology which allows me to work from home and stay connected to those I love.

For California with its incredible weather that allows me to spend as much time outside 
as I would like.

For my pets and their faithful companionship.

For the opportunity to be truly free as an American.

For knowledge and the continued opportunity to learn and grow.

For a church that I love.

For music that is the soundtrack to most of my days. It accompanies me while I work, exercise, relax, and go to sleep.

For hobbies that I love and am passionate about.  

Gratitude is a practice. Make it a priority.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Q&A from Allison

My friend Allison posted this fun Q&A over on her blog, and since life has been so busy lately, I thought it would be fun to take a few minutes and do this too!

1. What's the first thing you do when you get up?
I usually check email while debating rolling over and going back to sleep.

2. What is the third picture on your phone? Share it!

Third oldest photo:
View at Concordia

Third most recent photo:

Wendy and Novelle

3. What TV show are you most excited about returning this Fall?
The two shows that I am really excited about don’t return until the winter 
(The Bachelor and Downton Abbey)!

4. What is something really popular that you secretly (or not so secretly) loathe?
Definitely, Breaking Bad. I just don’t get it.

5. Do you have any pets? Tell us about them. Bonus points for pictures!
There are lots of pets at my house, but only one of them, a Yorkshire Terrier named Molly, belongs to me.

6. If you could put together one outfit that represents you perfectly, 
what would it be?
A cute dress, cardigan sweater, strappy sandals, pearl earrings, watch, and a fun bag that matched the dress and shoes.

7. What is your favorite adult beverage?
I don’t drink that often, but when I do, I go for either a Newcastle or Moscato.

8. What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
The Real Housewives of New Jersey

9. What are 3 positive words to describe you?
Sweet, Thoughtful, Detail-oriented (yes I know that’s two words)

10. What is your favorite Friday afternoon/evening activity?
Dinner with family and friends

11. A day in the life: What does your typical day look like?
My days really tend to vary throughout the week; but consist of work, time spent with family and friends and church activities.

12. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
If the weather weren’t icky half the year, I’d say Minnesota. Or Paris.

13. You've got a whole day to yourself...what will you do?
Sleep in, Starbucks run, thrifting or Ikea, manicure and pedicure, Thai food, a walk, a nap, and then end the evening with meeting up with family and friends for dinner.

14. Dream job?
I absolutely love what I do right now, but I’ve always wanted to do something involving weddings/wedding planning.

15. Least favorite chore?

16. When do you most feel like a rock star?
On those days when I unintentionally do a really great job with my makeup OR after powering through a ton of tasks.

17. What is something you are currently trying to improve within yourself?
I’m working hard on just being ok with the outcomes of things when they don’t go as I had planned.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

When I don't have words...

The late Senator Edward Kennedy, speaking about his brother Robert Kennedy, "Love is not an easy feeling to put into words. Nor is loyalty, or trust or joy. But he was all of these. He loved life completely and lived it intensely."

Robert Kennedy speaking about his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., "What it really all adds up to is love - not love as it is described with such facility in popular magazines, but the kind of love that is affection and respect, order, encouragement and support. Our awareness of this was an incalculable source of strength, and because real love is something unselfish and involves sacrifice and giving, we could not help but profit from it." 

From local photographer, Tara Whitney (on her Instagram feed, accompanied with the quote below), "There are things about my life that make me feel deeply alive, and grateful to be. They fit inside me right next to the things that hurt the most. Acknowledging them both, integrating them and giving them room and breath, has been what finally saved me from years of not living at all. If I can do anything at all with this space of mine, I would like to show that you can live a satisfying and beautiful life, even in the midst of emotional or physical pain." 

From Khalil Gibran, "The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain." 

Today I am feeling the urge to write, but the words won't come. I've been collecting the quotes above this past week from different things that I've been reading.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hello Fall, Goodbye Summer

Today marks the official end of summer. I love summer (minus the heat) and fall and am glad that my two favourite seasons piggyback each other. There are aspects of each of the four seasons that I love, but these two seasons make me happiest.

This year, a lot of people that I know have been so excited for fall to make it's arrival. While I am excited for this new season, I feel like I am holding onto the last few moments of summer like a small child trying to extend the last few minutes before bed time. It was an incredibly full and fun summer, which is probably why I am not wanting it to end. As I think back on this summer, my heart is full of joy. It was one of the best I can remember in recent years.

Looking back at my to do list for the summer, I realize that I only accomplished about half of the items that I had hoped to and yet I feel no sense of regret for not getting to those activities, rather I have a huge feeling of gratitude as this summer brought about several things that I would have never expected. So, in a way, I am starting to prepare myself for fall. For the new and unexpected surprises that will come that I couldn't even begin to encapsulate on a list. And while I'm at it, I'm going to enjoy my pumpkin chai while listening to my traditional fall playlist... 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Feels Like Home

For the last several years, with the arrival of fall, I always listen to two different albums, The Beatles, "Rubber Soul"  and Norah Jones', "Feels Like Home". As I was thinking of these albums, I started to consider items that remind me of home.

In Christian circles, we like to say that the church is not just the building. The same could be said for home. I have lived in the same area my entire life, in three different houses, but I wouldn't necessarily consider those places home. I love to travel; always have, always will. The older I get, the more I am able to travel. I also love building relationships and with the current means of social media, have developed some incredible relationships with dear friends all over the country, allowing me the opportunity to combine mine love of traveling and building relationships. 

When I think of home, so often I don't think of a building. No matter what city or state I'm in, I always manage to feel like I'm at home. Home is sitting around a table with family and friends, sharing and laughing. Home is getting off an airplane and meeting familiar faces on the other side. Home is being able to determine which direction the ocean is in. Home is flip flops, Tom Kha soup, soft served ice cream cones, my pink and red coffee mug covered with hearts, and my Ikea duvet cover. Home is phone calls, emails, text messages with words of blessing, encouragement and love. Home is discussing theology and politics. Home is discovering new things and finding adventures.

I know that I will live several places throughout the course of my life and irregardless of the location, I will always feel like I'm at home because my life is full of people who make me feel at home. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What does love look like?

Ali and me in Minnesota, July 2013

My friend Ali is currently in Thailand doing mission work and just loving up on the people there. Ali is a seasoned traveler and missionary. When I saw her in July, I was delighted to hear all about her upcoming travels. Every time that Ali sets off for a new location, she blogs, chronicling her journeys and the amazing ways that God shows up. As I was reading her blog today, this question stood out to me:

I know my job in all of this. It's knowing that I am loved and It's knowing how to love. Asking the fabulous questions momma Heidi asked us while in Moz:
"What does love look like?"

I'm in a season of online dating, struggling with being single, and looking forward to eventually being a wife and a Mom. As soon as my eyes hit the words on the screen, I stopped and thought of all the ways I'm being loved during this season. Love looks like:

  • Waking up to a text message from one of my dearest friends in New Jersey that immediately put at a smile on my face.
  • PSL's from McDonalds, a trip to Hobby Lobby, and lots of chats with my second Mom.
  • Taking care of me by spending the afternoon at the beach and reading.
  • Turning my phone off before I go to bed.
  • Skype date with two dear friends where we laugh, love and talk about the tough stuff.
  • Saying no.
  • Laughing so hard over dinner with the family that I almost fell out of the chair. Monty Python impersonations and Indian accents crack me up every single time.
  • Tuesday work days at a nearby Starbucks.
  • Learning how to knit.
  • John Mayer, Mumford and Sons, and Phillip Phillips Pandora stations
  • Going to bed early.
One of my goals this past summer was to be intentional in focusing on being grateful. As I write this list, I realize that a large part of my struggles the last few weeks was caused because I was choosing not to realize how much love there is in my life, no matter how it looks. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Letter to a Teenage Me

Summer 2005, Monterey, CA

Dearest one,

There is so much that you didn't know. So much that you have yet to learn. Here are just a few things that your twenty-four year old self has figured out for sure.

That boy you think is amazing? He's not all that. It's okay that things aren't working out because there's a much more perfect guy later down the road. I don't know how the story works out with this guy, but he brings you so much more joy than all the boys you met or had a crush on in high school.

Listen to your intuition. Pay attention to the Holy Spirit. He is constantly telling you what to do. Protecting you from situations you shouldn't be in. Giving you direction. You have good discernment, use it. Realize that God has placed you in every single situation for a reason. It may not make sense in the now, but trust me, down the road it will.

Always be kind. Smile at everyone you meet. Have good manners (there's a reason your mother sent you to etiquette class). Pay attention to how you're dressed. Always wear a watch (as you grow up, you'll find that you will have a plethora of them). Make a good impression. Work hard. Go the extra mile.

Be kind to those whose are older than you. They have more wisdom than you do. Let them pour that wisdom into you. They are always willing to share and help you with the shortcuts that they've learned. Just be willing to sit and listen (and ask occasional questions).

Be grateful. Really grateful. Not just the happy feeling you get when something is going well. The type of grateful that comes from being filled with joy. When you're anxious, remember to be grateful. This is still a hard one and it most likely will always be because you always have had a tendency to be a stress case and build up situations in your head. In those moments, stop. Just stop. Ask the Lord to give you peace in this very moment. Thank Him for what He's doing and what He's going to do.

Invest in relationships. The type of relationships where you're in it for the long run. People who you are accountable to and who are accountable to you. Who you'll go the distance with. After your salvation, these relationships are some of the greatest gifts that you have in your life.

Don't underestimate your gifts. You are incredibly talented. You have a passion for connecting people. You love explaining to others how to do new things. You are a planner. You are highly administrative. You love helping people. Let these gifts spill over in everything you do. They will get you far. Further than you could even imagine at such a young age.

Work really hard. Pour yourself into what you do. Don't be lazy with what you do. Everyone around you will notice when you work hard. You will feel great knowing that at the end of the day you've given your best effort with that days work.

Travel. Go lots of places. Save money and go see the world. You've always loved planes and seeing new places. Take in sights. Meet new people. Try new things. Your worldview will expand the more you leave Orange County.

Go to church every single week. Even when you've been out late the night before. Even when you have a headache or cramps. There is something incredibly beautiful about being part of corporate worship and a community on a weekly basis that you are unable to get anywhere else. Be in the Word. Every single day. The Lord is going to give you something every morning to carry you through the day. You have been given a very special gift in that you were raised in the church and you know that Jesus Christ died for you. Don't ever forget that this is the best gift you are ever going to receive and that your relationship with Him is the most important relationship in your life.

Always be giving back in some way. You have been blessed with so much in your life. There is something incredibly fulfilling about volunteering. Do it often and do it regularly.

It is ok to say no. If your heart is not fully invested in something, don't commit. You don't have to allow yourself to be pressured into doing things others want to do. Remember when I told you earlier that the Holy Spirit will guide you? If you feel something isn't right to do, don't do it. You're not going to want to have to explain to your loved ones later on your decisions when you knew from the beginning that you shouldn't have done it. Having healthy boundaries helps you grow.

Realize your beauty. You really are beautiful. It's ok to go make up free. You are actually really pretty with no make up. You will learn what clothes work best for and what you are most comfortable in. You love fashion and enjoy putting together cute, fun outfits.You'll realize that you feel most feminine in dresses and leggings. That you hate wearing shoes and would rather be in flip flops or wedges. That you have the most amazing curly hair. That you can never have enough moisturizer and sunscreen and that a little bit of lipstick goes a long way.

Read and watch the news. Stay on top of what's going on in the world. Read a lot. For fun. To learn. People take you more seriously when you know what you're talking about and can hold a serious conversation. You love politics which is a rarity for a young woman. Even though you think you're a liberal as a teen, you won't stay one very long. By the time you reach your mid-twenties, you'll be borderline Libertarian.

Keep pursuing your hobbies. Photography. Scrapbooking. Reading. Going on adventures. Share these activities with others. They'll bring you great joy.

Don't feel inferior to those around you because you have always dreamed of being a wife and Mom. The Lord has placed that desire on your heart for a reason. Trust that He knows what He's doing. His timing and His plans are way better than yours.

At twenty-four I don't have it all figured it out, but I know that each day I will learn more and more and keep growing and changing and dreaming.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Floating Lyrics

Just a few of the lyrics from songs floating around in my brain the last few days...

I am in California
but I am in Minnesota
in my mind

'Cause I know that when I see you I will be
Happy as the sun

You can rest your head
On my shoulder if you want to
Get older with me
'Cause a little bit of summer makes a lot of history

Just smile, sit a while with the
Sun on your face and remember the place we met
Take a breath and soon I bet you'll see
Without you I would never be me

You got me swaying right along to the song in your heart
And a face to call home
A face to call home
You got a face to call home

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you're not alone
Cause I'm gonna make this place your home

The best is yet to come, and wont that be fine
You came along and everything started to hum
Still it's a real good bet, the best is yet to come


Thursday, August 08, 2013

It's 100 Million Little Things...

...that make me feel grateful. Lots of little things that to someone who doesn't know me would think are no big deal. Today I am feeling most grateful for one the kindest and most encouraging emails from a dear family friend, Slurpees from 7-11, new craft supplies, Amazon prime shipping, my second Mom asking me if I wanted to go get a pedicure after I had thought to myself yesterday how desperately I needed one, a phone call from another dear family friend (who is married to family friend above), bold colors, fresh peaches, the afternoon breeze, my iPhone which allows me to do just about anything from anywhere I want, the confidence that comes with knowing that the Lord is taking care of all the big things that I would normally be worried about.

It's days like this where I hope that I never stop being grateful for all the big and little things that bring me joy.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

My heart is full

This summer's vacation was probably one of the best vacations ever. I spent 10 days total in Denver with my sister and her family and then flew to Minnesota to meet up with part of my family and see dear friends. My heart is so full with gratitude that it might burst.

Some of my fave memories:

Jimmy John's with Charissa as soon as I arrived in Denver.
Church at Red Rocks
Waiting for dinner at Sonic and talking on the phone with Lauren.
Walking around Denver, taking in the sights, snapping photos and eating ice cream.
Lots of laughs in the office.
Breakfast at Ikea and my plate full of syrup.
Regal vintage
John Mayer concert (the best concert I've been to yet).
Rick showing me where he grew up on Google Earth.
Kim praying over me before I left for the airport.
Running into Nicole in the airport.
Giggling in McDonald's with Shelly and Wendy as soon as I arrived in MSP.
Fireside Pizza where we enjoyed the best pizza that I've had in years (my Dad ate there in high school) + driving around taking in the sights.
Celebrating AJ's birthday with his family and mine.
Shopping at Mall of America
Lots of chats with Shelly and Brooks
Hugs and prayers from dear friend Lori. It was so amazing to spend time with her in person.
Sitting in the back of Emmaus surrounded by family and friends while David preached.
Ice cream and yogurt runs with AJ
Sitting around on the patio and in the living room telling stories, watching, You Tube videos, and laughing so hard that my whole body ached.

I could go on and on for days.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Weekend in Photos: Summer at Last

This weekend was super cruisy and tranquilo, the perfect start to summer!

Hanging out and watching The Next Food Network Star / 
Early evening walks & spotting the cutest cat / Sleeping in late / 
Verdana doors wide open with the cool breeze / Kitty cuddles / 
Reading all day and finishing an entire book in one weekend / 
Dinner with family and friends outside under the Super Moon / Staying up too late reading / 
Church & blessing sweet baby Novelle /  Iced Chai from Starbucks / Naps / 
Late night Dairy Queen run 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer, sweet summer

It's so hard to believe that summer is finally here! The first six months of 2013 flew by at lightning speed! Before I know it, summer will be over, so I thought I'd put together a list of things I want to do this year!

1. Go on a picnic!
2. Swim in the ocean at least once (I live in OC, spend my days in HB, and yet this hardly ever happens)!
3. Go to at least one concert (This is a summer tradition. So far, I'm seeing John Mayer in Denver with my sister and her boyfriend)!
4. Make peach cobbler!
5. Use my dSLR more often! 
6. Have lots of adventures (I'm headed to Denver and Minnesota next month)!
7. Go to a baseball game!
8. Write more on this blog!
9. Visit with my friend Kaila while she's home from Iowa for the summer!
10. Make some non-traditional s'mores in the fire pit!
11. Walk Balboa Island
12. Finish watching Ben Hur with my Dad!
13. Go thrifting more often! 
14. Take more video on my phone!
15. Get slurpees on  7-11!
16.  See more movies at the theatre!
17. Walk the wetlands
18. Go to the swap meet

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On Self Talk

Words. Discussion. Thoughts. Dialogue. Sentences. Spoken. Written. Said. Left unsaid. Each day is filled with so many words. Sometimes too many words. So many words that silence feels like a peaceful vacation. Words can be helpful or they can be harmful. My women's group recently started studying a book on the power of our words and how what we say impacts each other.

I got to thinking today that our words don't just impact each other, they impact each of us down to the core of who we are. I found myself saying things about myself out of judgment that simply weren't true. I am my own worst critic. If I want to change the way that I speak to others, I first have to change the way I speak to and about myself.

I am choosing to speak positively about myself. When I do something that I don't like, instead of becoming negative, I'm going to look for a way to frame said action in a different manner. If I want this year to be my best year yet, I need to not only work on completing the task list that I created at the beginning of the year, but I need to work on loving myself which starts with how I speak about myself. God certainly doesn't see me the way I do and he certainly is grieved by the way I speak to myself and about myself.

Here's to making some changes!

Friday, April 12, 2013

What's On Your...

I saw this fun list over on Jessica's blog and thought it would be a fun Friday post to do the same! 

Vanity: Victoria's Secret Divine lotion, eyeshadow applicators, toothbrush and toothpaste, face wipes and face cleanser, hair ties, bobby pins, and a comb!

Perennial To Do List: Apply for my passport, call my great aunt in Ohio, clean out my closet

Itinerary: Next trip is to see my sister in July and then to Minnesota to visit family and friends!

Fantasy Itinerary: Rotterdam and Amsterdam, Holland / France / Germany / Kyoto, Japan

Playlist: Elevation Worship, The Civil Wars, Bronze Radio Return, Train

Nightstand: Family photos, candle from Ikea, white tulips, lotion and make up remover wipes, coaster, Bible and books I'm reading (Duties of the Heart + The Year of Magical Thinking)

Workout Plan: I've been walking for about 45 minutes several times per week.

Iphone: Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Texts and photos from loved ones, Bible, Twitter, plus tons of other apps

Top 5 List: 1. Making 2013 my best year yet. 2. Helping my family be more productive. 3. Making time for fun activities. 4. Growing my "go the distance" relationships. 5. Growing in my prayer time.

Bucket List: Travel the world, become a wife and mom, build stronger relationships with my loved ones

Mind: Listening in on a conference call for this.

Blogroll: SisterDadLaurenKarenAllison, and tons of others

Walls of your favorite room in your house: Family photos, antique iron cross, Photos of Paris, jewelry organizer

Liquor Shelf: Barefoot Moscato, Trader Joe's Cocoban, Chocovine, Newcastle

Last Credit Card Statement: Forever 21 for clothes, Walgreens for face cleanser and photos, Starbucks, Trader Joe's, Amazon for a copy of "The Iron Lady" (all purchased in the last few days)

Screensaver: Favorite photos

TV Every Night: I hardly ever watch TV in front of the TV (I download online later on), but I'm currently watching the newest season of Mad Men.

Charissa, Lauren, Karen, Allison I tag you!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Five Fun Facts

My sister and sweet friend Allison both had posted these fun lists on their blogs 
and in an attempt to get back at writing on here regularly, I thought it would be a great way to start off! 

1. I prefer tea over coffee! I usually have tea  a minimum of twice a day (at least once being chai)! 
Coffee, for me, is either a dessert or an indicator to my family that I'm extremely tired.
2. I collect vintage handkerchiefs. My Mom, her Mom, my great Aunt, and my great-Grandma 
all loved them and they have passed on that love to me! 
I'm always on the look out for pretty handkerchiefs and vintage Pyrex!
3. I despise wearing pants and closed toe shoes! 
Any day where I can wear dresses and sandals or wedges is a good day in my book!
4. At any given time, I'm in the middle of reading at least three books! Currently I'm working on 
(which my second Dad and I are working on together)!
5. I recently discovered ipsy! I'm totally excited about this concept and 
was delighted to find that my first bag arrived last night!

Lauren I tag you!