Friday, September 30, 2016

Joys of September

September has been a busier month than August, but thankfully this semester is going well so far! I have finished my (first draft) of my doctoral project AND submitted it by the first deadline! Whoo!! I am taking several electives and am the class president this year, so it's all keeping me pretty busy. However, I haven't been overwhelmed yet and that's a good thing.

Overall, it's been a good month. I've been able to exercise consistently and keep up with my chores for the most part. The house has stayed clean most days and the clothes are washed, so that's all that counts, right?! I visited my grandparents in New Mexico for a weekend and it was so nice to see them.

Other than that, I have been keeping busy with school, family and friends. As you probably saw, I've been stitching as much as possible and it's been AWESOME. Seriously, you should start now. Oh yeah, and I've been watching our family home videos on repeat. So there's that. 

Also, this video. I can't even. 

Now, I'm thankful for cooler weather (I hope!), changing leaves, and a new season. I can't wait to share my fall with you, my dear friends! Have a joyful and blessed weekend. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My Newest Hobby

I have recently discovered my new favorite addiction hobby which is perfect for a slightly nerdy coffee-drinking, scrapbooking, book reading writer like myself: embroidery. I used to cross-stitch when I was younger and could never get that into it BUT I can't stop embroidering. Seriously. One night I stayed up until 1 am to finish my flowers.

I think the cool thing about embroidery is that 1) it's gorgeous, 2) it's pretty easy to make it look good, and 3) it's cheap! I went to the craft store to pick up embroidery floss and almost fell over when I found out that they are only 40 cents each. What?! And with the internet and all these newfangled things like Youtube and Pinterest, you can learn any stitch you want and find a myriad of patterns.

Here's what I've worked on so far and here's my Pinterest board for what I hope to do! 

A shirt I made for my sister
A work in progress... tiny cacti on my shirt pockets. Daniel says they don't look like cacti :( #hatersgonnahate

For these, I've free-handed them but many websites offer a pattern that you can print. You can also buy patterns from Etsy or the local craft store. Soo, there you have it, my new favorite hobby! 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The 22nd of September

It's the first day of fall! It's the first day of fall! It's the first day of fall.

I know everyone loves fall based on the 12954274 blog posts, Facebook posts, Pinterest posts, and Instagram posts I've seen. I, too, am a little fall happy. It's no secret that fall is the time for pretty sweaters, thick scarves, tall boots, and decadent foods (although I will admit that I am not a fan of pumpkin spice anything). We all know what fall represents so I don't think I need another ode to fall. 

I could not agree with Anne more. Without further ado, here is my fall themed bucket list.

// Find a dang corn field or hay ride. Seriously, last year I tried and tried. I'm determined this year.
// Decorate for fall (duh). It's exciting this year to have my own little house to decorate.
// Pumpkin mums-- that's all I have to say. 
//Go on at least 3 hikes to enjoy the beautiful trees.
// Make at least one fall-themed craft.
// Go on a picnic.
// Take pictures of fall leaves!
// Buy a fall candle and burn it so my house smells wonderful. 
// Take family pictures. This is something I wanted to do last year and never ended up doing. 
// Make a pumpkin pie (for Daniel, who loves it)
// Be thankful!

What's on your fall bucket list? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Reflection on Modesty

One of the things that saddens me most about our society is the increasing lack of modesty that is accepted and encouraged. It's hurting our children and our teens, teaching them that to be attractive and cool they must show off their bodies. Here are some of my thoughts about the word "modesty" that I share in love

Modesty isn't about being good, frumpy, or unattractive. It is about honoring your God, your body, and your (future) husband. It's about honoring the women around us and teaching them a healthy love of self. It's about honoring the men around us and helping them not to be so focused on our bodies. Note, the key word is help

I'm all for loving and celebrating a strong and healthy body, or any body really, but I am also all for doing it more discreetly. 

There are certain standards that I have made for myself but there is no hard and fast rule.  To some, these may seem so extreme and to others these may seem to be completely immodest. I'm not suggesting that we will ever all agree. There is no Bible verse that says that shorts must be this long and shirts must be this high. Modesty IS subjective but it should be done thoughtfully. 

Instead, maybe we should think about each piece of clothing and the attitude we portray when we wear it. What about it do we like? What does it cause others to be drawn to about us? Why are we wearing it? My definition of modesty might be a little different than yours, but I think if we are truly examining our motives, we will come to similar conclusions. 

For modesty to truly be modesty, it must come from the heart. It's not a set of rules and meaningless standards. If we follow all the "rules" yet don't care why, it doesn't mean a whole lot. I'm sure there are fantastic followers of God out there who wear clothing that is immodest. I'm sure there are many modest women who don't truly love God. Modesty doesn't equal godliness. 

So what is your view on modesty? 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Live, Not Exist

28,000 days. 672,000 hours. 

That's how long the average person lives. Those hours and those days matter, because you won't get them back. If you got to the end of yesterday and thought, Phew, I'm so glad that's over with, you just wasted a day of your life that you won't ever have again. 

I've done it myself and I've seen so many do it. We wait and we wait to have a better life. We wish for more and we are glad to get through "these days". We want to get through to the weekend, to our vacation, to the next year. I am so guilty of this! I rush through each day, trying to accomplish as much as I can.

Sometimes, we just need to slow down. Realize that this is a moment we will never have again. How do you want to spend it? I love this quote: Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for someone to fall in love with you, for life. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now.  

I don't want to get to the end of my life and think Boy, I sure rushed through life. I want to think of how I appreciated my time, how I used it to do good. I want to have lived intentionally. I want to have shown the world a little more of God. I want to have shown those around me that I love them. I want to make a difference, however small. 

We can either spend time or waste time. Either way, it will pass. BUT wouldn't  you rather spend it? May we live instead of just exist! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

20 Writing Prompts for When You Are in a Rut

Sometimes coming up with a topic for a blog post can just feel so HARD. It seems to come and go in spurts-- sometimes I have endless ideas and sometimes I can't think of a single one. At those times, I go to my trusty source of ideas-- other bloggers who have posted lists of blog prompts. I thought it would be fun to come up with my own list to contribute. 

1. What is your all-time favorite song and why?
2. What drives your faith? 
3. If you have an afternoon to yourself, what do you do?
4. What person, dead or alive, would you like to meet?
5. What's your favorite quote?
6. How do you deal with anxiety?
7. Do you like your job? If you could be anything, what would you be? 
8. What inspires you to blog?
9. Write a list of your spouse's best qualities.
10. What is your favorite season and why?
11. Write a bucket list for fall.
12. What's the best book you have read this year?
13. What were your favorite books as a child?
14. Make a list of your favorite blog posts of all time (yours or others).
15. What's the best thing that ever happened to you?
16. What's the best advice you've ever heard?
17. Write about a hobby and share why it brings you joy.
18. What is your favorite Bible verse?
19. What are you afraid of and how do you overcome it?
20. Write about a typical day for you. 

What's your favorite prompt? Do you have any you would add?

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Place I Live

Over the past few months, I have been working through a list of prompts about thankfulness. Today, my prompt was "I am thankful for the place I live..." so I did some thinking. What am I thankful for about our little city? 

We recently moved and I love the place that we live. It's very close to where I grew up, but a little more rural. We live in a granny flat in the backyard of a house in a tiny country neighborhood. To paint the picture, when we walk outside, there are goats on one side, an aviary behind us, and at least five dogs. Oh yeah, and don't forget-- chickens! It's wonderful. 

Before this, Daniel and I did a short stint living in the "city". Now when I say city, I don't mean city like New York or LA, I just mean we lived in an area that was extremely crowded, busy, and never quiet. Besides animal noises, it's so much more quiet here. I don't feel afraid to leave the windows open or the door unlocked.

I have a great neighborhood (with 2 killer hills) to walk in without being afraid. I live about 6 minutes away from my best friend. Our house is in the "country", yet we are only 3 minutes from the freeway. We can quickly pop into the grocery store if we need to. There is a great running trail that is about 8 minutes away. 

Just minutes away is Main Street, a quirky little street full of fun places to explore (and good food). We live a short drive from Lake Tahoe and a short(ish) drive from San Francisco. My family lives closeby and school is 45 minutes (which is further than I would like, but oh well). 

Did I mention that we live just a few minutes from Apple Hill, a place where everyone revels in fall. Apples, caramel, cider, and pumpkins, oh my!  

I love where I live and I am SO thankful for it. 

Why are you thankful for the place you live? 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

5 Ways to Find Balance

If you're anything like me, you have a ton of things to do every. single. second. Balancing school, work, God, family, friends, chores, exercise, and just life in general can become nearly impossible. Here are some ways that I attempt to find balance as I muddle through this adventure of life! 

1. Prioritize. This one seems fairly obvious, I suppose, but I think it can often be forgotten. Prioritizing what is most important to you at the beginning of each day can really help to make sure that you don't feel like you've accomplished nothing. If you get only the big things done each day, I find that the little things will fall into place. 

2. Turn off the phone. We are so constantly bombarded with the need to be on top of what is going on right this second that it really can detract from our ability to focus in the moment. Disconnecting from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, can really help you to focus on the task at hand and complete it more quickly (by the way, as I was typing this I quickly checked Instagram for 10 minutes). 

3. Take time for yourself. It might seem counter-intuitive, but taking time to relax and enjoy life can energize you to go about your life with renewed vigor. Taking time for yourself might mean a good book, a walk, time with friends, or anything that makes your soul happy. 

4. Laugh. As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine, and I think it's absolutely true. Don't you just feel so much more balanced when you are happy? I know I do. There's something about laughter that just loosens you up and makes you more ready to face life. Find a way to laugh, a deep belly laugh that makes you feel really alive! 

5. Remember that you will never be perfectly balanced. Sorry, but you just won't. You'll have days where you don't get a thing done. You'll have days when you eat badly and watch Netflix all day and don't fix dinner or exercise. Those days will happen and to really find peace, you'll have to accept them and even embrace them. 

I'm not sure that this is exactly "balance" but I thought it was funny (: 

These are ways that I personally find balance. How do you find balance? 

Friday, September 2, 2016

What is Meaningful to YOU

Friday, yay! I've made it through the first week of school and it has been good! Now I get to enjoy a four day weekend. 

Sometimes I find myself so trapped in what is meaningful to others that I forget that it isn't meaningful to me. Take for example, traveling. So many thrive on the idea of travel. For many years, I've tried to believe that I too love travel. It took me many years to realize that I don't think I actually like traveling the way other people do. My idea of a great vacation is relaxing a lot, reading a lot, eating good food, and being around people I love. Whether that's in my own home or a thousand miles away doesn't matter all that much to me. 

It's easy to get swept away with whatever is popular to do. You think, everyone loves such and such, I need to love it too. Everyone loves this book that is so boring, what's wrong with me? Everyone is doing so and so, I need to do it too! 

I need to step back and realize that just because it matters to someone else does not mean that it has to matter to me. My life needs to be filled with meaning and purpose, but it needs to be my meaning and purpose. Whether it's in the big things, like the job you do, or the small things, like what type of music you listen to, make sure that you don't pursue life according to someone else's passions. 

This has changed my life a lot because it's helped me realize that I need to stop doing things just because it's "the thing" to do. Whether it's listening to music I don't actually like, reading books that I think are stupid, or pursuing goals that don't mean anything to me, I'm working on defining my own meaningful life. 

Take a moment to reflect on what is truly meaningful to you. It might be something that everyone else thinks is weird. But find it! Find what makes you feel fulfilled and purposeful. In the big things AND the little things. Don't do it because it's popular, do it because it's what you love. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Around the World

As I have mentioned before, I am a big fan of a website called The Dating Divas, where they share all kinds of awesome family stuff. There are date nights, family activities, games, etc. It has been a great source of date ideas for Daniel and I. 

For Christmas last year, I wanted something special to give Daniel. I had pinned this date idea before, so I decided to give it to him. They give you all the printouts for your passport, "ticket", etc. To make it extra nice, I didn't print it at home but went to a print shop and had it printed on extra fancy paper. I think it turned out really nice! It's called a "Passport to Love", which, of course, my brothers thought was hilarious when I gave it to Daniel on Christmas. 

Each month, I planned a different country for a themed date night. We have really enjoyed them so far and it has encouraged us to have food and watch movies we never would have experienced. However, not being a very creative person, I had a hard time creating dates for some of the places and we ended up not doing much besides eating and watching a movie. 

I was excited to find out that they just added new stuff to the post and you can actually buy a preplanned evening for 12 different countries!! WHAT?! I wish I'd had that at the beginning of this year. 

So what do you think? 

**I do get compensated if you purchase things from my links. I hardly ever promote products but this is a product I love and believe in!