Friday, April 21, 2017

Marriage Isn't Perfect (And Neither Is Anyone Else's)

I recently posted a picture on Instagram that showed a surprise egg hunt my husband planned that ended with me getting a bunch of "coupons" (read massages, dinner, dancing, etc) and a booked reservation to Mexico. I posted this because it was something absolutely loving that Daniel did for me and I want to brag on him. I think we should brag on our spouses and the awesome things they do for us!

Later, I scroll through Instagram myself and think, gosh, that girl has a perfect life and a perfect husband/kids/house/whatever! I wish I had that! 

We all need to remember that what we see on social media is only what others want and choose to post. The perfect couple is not really the perfect couple. The perfect husband isn't perfect, and neither are the perfect kids. These pictures/posts are only a snapshot of reality. Which is good, in my opinion, because I don't want to see people putting down their spouses/kids for the mistakes they make! 

My husband who surprises me with trips to Mexico, makes dinner daily, works crazy hard and teaches at church makes mistakes too. And in case you were under any crazy delusion that I am the perfect wife, let me tell you... I am not! I fail and let Daniel down often. 

We are not the perfect husband and wife, and neither is anyone else. That's because we are sinners. Two sinners combined cannot make perfection. BUT we are perfect for each other, perfectly designed for each other to help each other grow. We both have habits that drive the other one nearly insane. I think God made it that way to help both of us grow in our characters. 

So just remember when you are comparing yourself to others (whether it be a couple or not), the important thing is to compare yourself to you. Are you becoming the person you want to be? Is your marriage heading in the right direction? 

I think it's fantastic when people post about their spouse doing something awesome. I love it when people post about how much they love their spouse. Instead of becoming jealous, I try to see that as a great thing to strive towards. I want to be encouraged rather than begin playing the comparison game. 

I love my husband and my marriage SO much. I will continue to post about how much I love him and brag about the awesome things he does. We don't have the perfect marriage but we are striving to have a wonderful marriage. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Learning to Accept Change

Dealing with change can be difficult. Even if it's a positive change, many people struggle with change. I know for myself, change is a struggle because I like routine.

Even with wonderful changes, I found myself afraid of the change that it would bring. So how do you get yourself out there to embrace positive change (and accept what you might consider "negative" change)? I am no expert on the matter, but I tried to think of how I attempt to approach change.  What works for me might not work for you, but hopefully, if you too struggle with change, you will find these tips helpful!

1// Try to see the change from all perspectives. If it's a change that you feel is negative, try to put a positive spin on it. A setback can become an opportunity for growth. Try to remember that even in the painful and the ugly, God is bringing about something beautiful in your life. 

2// Pray! No explanation needed for that one!

3// Take care of yourself. You don't have to be strong all the time-- if you are struggling with change, it's okay to baby yourself. Have compassion on yourself, just as you would on someone else going through a big life change.

4// Remember it's okay to ask for help. You don't have to go at it alone! Enlist a close friend to share your fears with. Allow yourself to be completely honest about what you fear from the change (if it's a positive change, what are you afraid of?) 

5// Improve your emotional wellness. Take time to nurture yourself and just BE, without having to DO.  Read a psalm or listen to a few hymns. It might be through yoga, deep breathing, journaling, or whatever else eases your mind. 

6// Realize that change is an emotional experience. Change, even when it's positive, typically means you are losing something. If you are a highly emotional person (like me!), allow yourself to delve into the emotions you are feeling. Instead of trying to ignore the way you feel, take the time to understand WHY you feel that way.

I'd love to hear from you! How do you accept change in your own life?

Repost from August 7, 2015

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday loves

It's Friday! I could not be more excited that I have yesterday until Tuesday off work (the clinic is on spring break). I hope you are having a wonderful week and that this weekend will be wonderful. Here's what I am loving lately!

The Jamie Ivey podcast... Jamie interviews inspirational women every week. I just found these podcasts recently so I have been listening to one every day on my way home from work! They are so fun and uplifting. 

I am dying to have these adorable shoes. They look so comfy and perfect for my work! What is your current favorite pair of shoes? 

I'm trying to improve my Instagram with tips from Helene. She has so many awesome tips! You can follow my Instagram to find out more about my day to day life. 

My favorite store, Downeast Basics, is having a sale. I highly recommend you check it out! Their clothing is gorgeous, well made and modest. The swimsuits are so cute and I love this cinched skirt. 

Don't forget to read the book for the April book club. You can find out more here. Marriage Matters is the book we are reading and I can't wait to share it with you!

My new embroidery design is for sale on Etsy. It's colorful and fun, I hope you'll check it out!

So that's what's on my mind lately! Share your favorite links below! 

Now I'm headed off celebrate my brother's birthday by sledding the day away (whyyy is there still snow?!). Hope you have a wonderful weekend. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

You Can Do It

I started my last clinical rotation last week. I must admit, I had no idea that it would be the way it is (ie working looonger than 8 hours and hardly having a break). There are a lot of things that I like (the patients, the job, the people I work with), but it's just so dang hard to keep up. 

Three days into the job, with my frustration and anxiety bubbling up more each day, I had a complete little breakdown on Wednesday night. My ever-so-patient husband listened while I explained all the things that I wanted to do (blogging, embroidery, Bible study, exam prep, running, spending time with my loved ones) that I suddenly did not have time for. I couldn't stop crying or feeling so anxious. It felt so overwhelming. I suddenly was reduced to working, eating, and sleeping. 

But you know what Daniel said to me after it all? He said, Danielle, lot's of people work more than this. At first, this made me super annoyed. It's just so awesome when your complaining is interrupted, right?! But then, I had a little attitude adjustment and was able to see this as the wise statement that it was. 

This might be hard, and it might not be exactly what I want. But there is always a way through it, if it must be done. 

There are those days. When you feel overwhelmed, overworked, under-cared-for, exhausted, lonely, whatever. I'm so thankful for the people who are there to support me on those days. Like my mom, who made my the beginning of this week so much better by surprising me with a delicious lunch, helping us look for a new rental home, and bringing me (and my boss!) coffee at work! Or my friends Holly and Forrest, who kindly spoiled us while we stayed with them for a visit this weekend. Or my awesome hubs, who goes above and beyond to help me out around the house and listens to my rants. 

If you are having one of those breakdown, overwhelmed, ugly days-- I pray that you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. I hope that you will give yourself a little grace but not wallow in self-pity. I hope that someone will be there for you the way my people are there for me. And if there is anything I can do to help, please leave me a comment below or send me an email. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Answered Prayers

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Luke 17:12-19

photo by my brother, Colton (: 
This is an excerpt of the Bible that I think shows human nature pretty darn well. There are ten men who have had their incurable disease miraculously cured by Jesus, yet only one goes back to praise God. After receiving healing, the others were too busy to thank the one who healed them!

Side note: If you are wondering what a Samaritan is, they were a group of people living in Israel who were hated by the Jews (and vice versa). So basically, the only person who expressed thanks was the person who was supposed to "hate" Jesus. 

The point of the story is that it's so "normal" of people to receive the greatest gift and not appreciate it, even just moments later. These nine ungrateful men weren't a rarity, it's true of all of us. Once things are going well for us, we tend to forget about how our lives were before. Even if the most miraculous event happened to us, soon it will be forgotten and taken for granted. 

I think how many times I've prayed for things that happened and then didn't even thank God for it. I've heard before that we should thank God for an answered prayer twice as long as we prayed for it. So if I prayed for 2 years to be healed of a disease, I'd be thanking God for 4 years if I was healed!

A few years ago, when Daniel and I were in the process of getting his getting married and getting his immigration visa, we tried to do this. We had prayed about it for about 6 months, so for a long time afterwards we thanked God. It was actually a real lesson in being grateful. It made me remember how desperately I had prayed that Daniel would get his visa. Now that he had it, I didn't want to stop being thankful for it!

Don't forget to thank God for His blessings on you. Happy Tuesday, friends!

Friday, March 31, 2017

March Book Club: Daring Greatly

Guys, I can't believe that it is the end of March! This year is just flying by (which I say every single month, btw). I'm excited to share my thoughts on Daring Greatly by Brene Brown! 

Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis on Goodreads: Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Whether the arena is a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation, we must find the courage to walk into vulnerability and engage with our whole hearts.

In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. The book that Dr. Brown’s many fans have been waiting for, Daring Greatly will spark a new spirit of truth—and trust—in our organizations, families, schools, and communities.

My thoughts: First of all, if you haven't already, go check out Brene Brown's TED talk. It's super interesting and is what inspired me to choose Daring Greatly for March. She is an engaging writer who has lots of awesome advice/research. That being said, I had difficulty with how detailed and long this book was. In certain spots, I wasn't as interested in the material and found myself skim reading. In other parts, I was completely engrossed. 

I loved the fact that Brown shows us that we ALL have vulnerability, no matter how strong we think we are. In her research, she found that vulnerability was inextricably linked to shame. Unfortunately, to overcome that, we have to acknowledge the shame and vulnerability in our lives (darn!). It's not an easy road, but I thought this book gave some great suggestions for how to open ourselves up. 

Brene's ideas on scarcity (the never-enough problem) were awesome because it's a trap I constantly fall into. She notes that the never enough mentality is with us often... we wake up and we haven't had enough sleep, we don't have enough time to do everything we need to, we aren't smart enough, pretty enough, healthy enough.. as you can imagine the list goes on and on. 

Overall, this book reminds us that vulnerability isn't a weakness, it's a strength. There is NO person on earth (seriously, none! not even the most perfect person you can imagine), who doesn't experience vulnerability and shame. Accepting vulnerability is the way to experience great strength and to be a better friend/spouse/parent. I'm not a parent yet, but there is a pretty awesome section on parenting too. 

Honestly, the biggest reason that I didn't rate this book higher was the language. I don't like reading a bunch of language, especially when it is completely unnecessary in a nonfiction book. 

Read this book if: You struggle with vulnerability (and if you read the above, you'd know that you're kidding yourself if you think you don't!) and want to understand it/find overcoming strategies. 

Inspiring thoughts from the author: 

I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. With that definition in mind, let's think about love. Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can't ensure, who may stay in our lives or may live without a moment's notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow-- that's vulnerability. Love is uncertain. It's incredibly risky. And loving someone leaves us emotionally exposed. Yes, it's scary and yes, we're open to being hurt, but can you imagine  your life without loving or being loved? Daring Greatly, pg 34

Shame can only rise so far in any system before people disengage to protect themselves. When we're disengaged, we don't show up, we don't contribute, and we stop caring. Daring Greatly, pg 192

The counterapproach to living in scarcity in not about abundance. In fact, I think abundance and scarcity are two sides of the same coin. The opposite of "never enough" isn't abundance or "more than you could ever imagine." The opposite of scarcity is enough, or what I call wholeheartedness. Daring Greatly, pg 20

Please comment and let me know what you thought of Daring Greatly! Go over to Morgan's blog to check out what she thought.

Don't forget to check out our April book, Marriage Matters! You can look at the January and February books here. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Stitched with Pure Joy

I'm so excited to share that I have officially opened an Etsy shop for my embroidery! I wanted to share some of the pieces I am selling. I have a lot more pieces that I have made, but unfortunately I've given them away without getting an Etsy-worthy picture. I will be slowly adding more pieces as I make more, since I think I've finally got a picture groove going!

I'm also hoping that my friend Jessica will be listing her pieces on here soon! We have made a range of different "styles", so I think that'll be cool. I hope you'll check out my shop and contact me if you have an idea of a custom piece you'd like!

Perfect for a kid's room! 

One of my favorites, a monogrammed necklace! Flowers can be in any color!

I wanted to try something on a colored background... turned out fun!

This awesome and huge world was made by Jessica and I!
If you like the shop, I'd love for you to share this post, favorite my shop on Etsy, or send a link to a friend!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Life Lately

I'd love to hear what's been going on in your life lately! Here's what's been going on in mine...

My life has been busy, but mostly just with work/school. I work 7:30-4 every weekday and then I study 3+ days a week. I'm just about to finish up with my second clinical rotation and jump into my third clinical rotation (in a private outpatient physical therapy clinic). My graduation is set for July 15 and I will hopefully be taking my national physical therapy exam on July 18 or 19!

I've been listening to this song a lot lately. It's just SO true. Life goes so fast, so you better savor it.

A couple of weeks ago, I went skiing for the first time in 13 years. Whyyy is skiing fun you guys? I don't get it. But we have a fun time with friends from church and I only fell painfully once. 

In February, I had my first folk dance performance, complete with these lovely costumes!

The most wonderful thing that has happened lately is that THREE people who are very dear to me made the decision to get baptized within the last month or so. First my little sis, then my little brother and my friend Lauren! We were thankful to be able to get a ride to LA to join in celebrating Lauren's baptism. Also in LA, I got to spend the afternoon at Balboa Island with my friend Naomi. 

Oh, and I also finally got to meet my good friend's cute baby! So many good times!

Melissa's baptism

Colton's baptism
Meeting Woody

Lauren's baptism
Yesterday, we celebrated my best friend Bekka's birthday (with celebrations continuing on Saturday). My friend Jess and I made Bekka this world map that we are super proud of! If you like it, you will soon be able to purchase it at my Etsy shop!

Dinner with laughs
World embroidery
Last but not least, spring has sprung! The rain stopped long enough for me to get this gorgeous picture.

So what's been going on with you lately? Please share in the comments!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hello Spring!

It's the first day of spring, one of my four favorite seasons! I'm soo excited to be occasionally breaking out t-shirts and shorts (and then the next day be bundled up in sweatshirts, but whatever). 

Spring is full of just a few of my favorite things... 80 degree weather, floooowers, blue skies, bike rides, longer evenings, picnics... the list goes on!

Here are some things I'm hoping to have fun with this spring!

1. Add yoga to my weekly workout plans
2. Go fishing
3. Discover two new hikes 
4. Volunteer somewhere 
5. Buy an outdoor seating set
6. Invite guests over to enjoy our outdoor seating set
7. Book our trip to Mexico
8. Bike rides
9. Create 3 new embroidery designs for my shop
10. Take a day trip to Santa Cruz
11. Brighten someone's day 
12. Send 5 cards
13. Pack a picnic for Daniel and I
14. Sell something on Etsy
15. Go to a wedding (already booked!) 

Okay, so what fun things are in store for you this spring? I'd love to hear your ideas! 

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Ordinary

I've been in a pretty rushed season of life lately, where I seem to be doing something every moment. Every weekend has been full and each week jam packed. When life gets busy, I forget to stop and breathe. I need to remind myself to be thankful and joyful, instead of rushed and thoughtless. 

There are a LOT of big things in my life that I am so so so thankful for, but I need to also be thankful for the seemingly ordinary things, the things that are amazing but we forget to think about. I want to be more purposeful in life and part of that includes realizing all the things that are right in front of me! 

Here are a few things that I've been trying not to take for granted:
// My dishwasher
// My microwave
// Glass cleaner
// My washer and dryer 
// A camera
// My laptop
// A shower
// Tap water that tastes delicious
// A grocery story just 5 minutes away
// Phones
// Mail
// A library 

These are just a few objects that are the unsung heroes of everyday life. I don't have to have them, but life would be so much more difficult without them! We call them ordinary, but really, they aren't ordinary at all. What "ordinary" things are you thankful for? 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Poor and Needy

In our Bible class, we did a study on the "poor and needy", which just so happened to be led by one of my awesome brothers. The Bible talks a LOT about the poor and needy. It's all through the Old Testament and New Testament. 

My whole being will exclaim, Who is like you, 0 LORD? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them. Psalm 35:10 

But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind. Luke 14:13

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. Proverbs 29:7

These are just a few of literally hundreds of verses in the Bible where God talks about caring for the poor and needy. It's not just a request-- it's a requirement. Look at this parable that Jesus gives in Matthew 25: For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

We can't directly care for Jesus, but we can (and must) care for his people. 

The interesting thing that we talked about is that poor and needy doesn't have to mean financially poor. There are SO many people in the world that are poor and needy. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that every person is poor and needy in some way. It could be emotionally, financially, physically, spiritually. 

It's a major theme in scripture that we are to help the poor and needy. It's not enough just to give a few donations to charity every year or be nice to the people around us. I think it means much more. It means to be actively seeking those who are poor and needy in our lives. It might be a close friend who you suspect is going through a hard time or someone new in your life that you think is hurting financially.

But you know what? It also means that in some aspect, we are poor and needy AND that is okay. It's okay and it is good for us to share that with others. God doesn't ask us to do it on our own-- He asks us to look out for each other. I love this. It means that we are to look after those around us that we suspect may be hurting in some way. But it also means that we have people who are looking out for us. 

What are your favorite verses about the poor and needy? Leave a comment below if you know someone who needs praying for! 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Reflections on Psalm 115

What is your favorite Psalm? We have been reading through the Psalms in our Bible study and it's always neat to be reminded of these beautiful poems/songs of praise! I wrote a post on tips for approaching the Psalms here if you want to check it out. 

Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.

Why do the nations say, “Where is their God?”
Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. 
But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.
All you Israelites, trust in the Lord—he is their help and shield.
House of Aaron, trust in the Lord—he is their help and shield.
You who fear him, trust in the Lord—he is their help and shield.
The Lord remembers us and will bless us: He will bless his people Israel, he will bless the house of Aaron, he will bless those who fear the Lord—small and great alike.
May the Lord cause you to flourish, both you and your children.
May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to mankind.
It is not the dead who praise the Lord, those who go down to the place of silence; it is we who extol the Lord, both now and forevermore.
Praise the Lord.
Psalm 115

The book of Psalms is full of many wonderful passages, but this one particularly struck me when I read it the other day. I love the beginning. Not to us, but to Your name be the glory. How often do we as humans try to grasp at glory for ourselves? But really the glory is all due to God. Without Him, we are nothing. People are often faithless, but He is always faithful. 

In this day, when it is so common for unbelievers to mock our God, I am comforted to find that this is no new experience. These days, people might not worship actual idols, but we definitely have a world full of things that pull us away from God. It's SO tempting to live for the things that fill this world, but this passage reminds us that they are fake and perishable.

It is so much better to put our trust and our time in the Lord. He promises that He will bless those who trust in Him-- not always in the ways that we expect but always in the way that is best. What could be better than this awesome promise? 

So if we have this promise, then it is our job to praise God. If we don't spread the gospel, who will? Who will do the work if we don't hold ourselves responsible? I'm often tempted to give myself a free pass because "someone else" is doing the work. This psalm is reminding us that that's NOT okay. If we know these things about God, we must praise Him and we must share with others!

What Psalms are you reflecting on lately? 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Solomon, Winnie Mandela, and other hilarious things.

I am writing this, drinking my disgusting cup of coffee with cream and NO syrup. Ick, seriously how the heck do people drink black coffee and whyyyyyyyyyy?

You guys know I love TED talks. I have been listening to a few, hoping to find an inspiring and helpful one that would rock my world. I might have found some, but I can't get past this one. Want a good laugh? Watch this right now. Every time I watch I do a good ugly laugh/cry. 

Love it. The grammar, the humor, Winnie Mandela, everything. One love. 

Then, there's looking on Craigslist for puppies. I find the offers to be highly amusing and legitimate. 

That grammar, so good. 

Something else that makes me laugh? 

These memes. 

So true, so true. Want more? Follow my Pinterest board!

I hope that some of these gave you a good laugh. Now excuse me while I go write back to all my spam mailers. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Our March Challenge

Happy March, friends! 

Those of you who don't know my husband won't understand the enormity of this-- a few weeks ago, Daniel told me that he was going off sugar for the month of March. At first I thought he was joking, because it just seemed so unDaniel-like! He asked me to join him in it. I was very reluctant (still am), mainly because I didn't want to give up sweetened iced coffee and Starbucks refreshers. 

But I wanted to support him, so I am joining him on this challenge-- but with some caveats. My caveat is that I will allow myself 2 sweetened coffees OR refreshers a week. I know this is cheating but I just can't even.

This is what I/we ARE doing:

- Cutting out all junk food (ice cream, baked goods, candy, any dessert items)
- Eat cereals without added sugar, eggs, or smoothies for breakfast
- No sugary drinks (BUT Danielle can have up to 2 iced coffees or refreshers a week)
- Eat more veggies and protein as replacements for sugary foods

We are NOT:
- Cutting out fruits, because I believe fruits are healthy and good!
- Doing this forever

Want to switch up your morning routine? Try a smoothie bowl! No added sugar necessary!
So why are we doing this? Or rather, why is Daniel doing this? He told me that he has done a lot of reading about people cutting sugar out of their lives and how good it makes them feel. I'm hoping that we will feel really awesome! 

Another crazy thing I'm doing is beginning to train for a half marathon. Seriously, every time I finish one I swear that I will NEVER go through that again. So, here we are again. Let's see how it goes. 

So, what crazy things has your spouse talked you into doing?? May your weekend be truly blessed. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Book: When Breath Becomes Air

How can it already be the last day of February? Also, today is my husband's 31st birthday! It also happens to be book club day! I hope you enjoyed When Breath Becomes Air as much as I did! 

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads: At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor making a living treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. Just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air, which features a Foreword by Dr. Abraham Verghese and an Epilogue by Kalanithi’s wife, Lucy, chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a na├»ve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a young neurosurgeon at Stanford, guiding patients toward a deeper understanding of death and illness, and finally into a patient and a new father to a baby girl, confronting his own mortality.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.
Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.

My thoughts: This book is a tearjerker, for sure. I was reading this book in the car with my in-laws and Daniel, bawling my eyes out. The author, Paul Kalanithi, is no longer alive (this isn't a spoiler, the book starts out that way). Paul tells about his life as a surgeon who truly cares about his patients. His character really shines through and I grew to feel that Paul was someone I wish I could have known in person. His wife finishes the book after he died and what she writes to her daughter is very telling of the man he was: "Please know that all the wonderful things people are saying now about your dad are true. He really was that good and that brave."

This isn't a story a man who is unafraid of death. He says he doesn't want to die, he wants to continue living with his family and being a neurosurgeon. I appreciated this because I find it hard to relate to books where the author faces death with no fear. He didn't want to die, but he did it with grace. Another thing I really loved about the book was an insider look at the life of a neurosurgeon. I never thought about a surgeon's perspective and it was quite fascinating. 

Read this book if: You can read a book that it is heartbreaking, yet inspiring. This was a great book but I would not recommend it if you are going through a death in the family or another hard time, just because it might be too hard to read right now. Also, only read this book if you can handle coming to adore an author who dies at the end. 

Inspiring thoughts from the author:

Our patients' lives and identities may be in our hands, yet death always wins. Even if you are perfect, the world isn't. The secret is to know that the deck is stacked, that you will lose, that your hand s or judgement will slip, and yet still struggle to win for your patients. You can't ever reach perfections, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving. When Breath Becomes Air, pg 114-115

That morning, I made my decision: I would push myself to return to the OR. Why? Because I could. Because that's who I was. Because I would have to learn to live in a different way, seeing death as an imposing itinerant visitor but knowing that even if I'm dying, until I actually die, I am still living. When Breath Becomes Air, pg 149-150

Now, I want to hear your thoughts! Head over to Morgan's page to see what the thought of the book (and to check out her adorable new son!). 

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Don't forget to join us for March's book, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown!