Tuesday, May 23, 2017

When God Calls Us

Here am I, send me!

The cry of Isaiah, the prophet of God, when God asks someone to deliver a message to Israel.

The thing is, that wasn't an easy message to deliver. It was an unpleasant message and wouldn't have been a fun task. The people who heard him would have probably greatly resented him. 

Isaiah's words are the words that should come from our mouth when we are called, no matter where. God won't call me to the same place that He calls you. It might be crazy hard, but if God has called us there, He will lead us through.

Sometimes God calls us to do hard things, things we never imagine we could do. It may be so far out of our comfort zone. Like Moses, when God called him to lead the children of Israel. Moses didn't believe he could do it. He didn't want to lead that many people. But he did it anyway and God walked him through every step.

If God calls us and we follow, He WILL lead us. That doesn't mean that every step forward won't be hard, but we'll be able to do it. We might squirm a little on the way, but if it was easy, then it wouldn't really be pushing us. God pushes us so that we learn obedience.

When I think on some of the things God has called me to do, it's been so worth it. Sure, they made me stick out like a sore thumb because everyone was doing something else. You have to flounder a little bit sometimes. But in the end, it's been just what I needed to be doing. 

And there is always more. When we are finished with one thing God has called us to, there will be another. But I hope that when God calls me, the cry of my heart will always be, "Here am I, send me!"

I hope you find the courage to go where God calls you! 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Finding Gratitude

My blog name, Pure Joy, comes from a Bible verse that says to consider everything, even trials, pure joy. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance (James 1:2-3).

It's hard to be joyful when you aren't grateful. I've become much more intentional about being grateful in my life these last few months and years. It's funny, because I went on a hike the other day and I thought to myself, I will never stop noticing how beautiful creation is. 

And it's so true. EVERY time I go outside or on a hike or a run, I notice the little things. The wild grass blowing in the wind, the clovers, the artful shape of a tree branch. These things are never lost on me. 

Yet, with other areas of my life, it's so much harder for me to find gratitude. Why is that? I can't really say, but it's something I am acknowledging in an attempt to change. Really, it's not good enough to have gratitude for some things. I need to be grateful for everything, not just creation. I need to be thankful for my house, even when it's not cleaned. My clothes, even when they are old and not so stylish. My long hours at work, because I'm learning a lot. 

I often find it much easier to be aware of the big things I'm thankful for (my health, my family, my faith). It's wonderful to be aware of these things, but I also think it's important to acknowledge all the little things that make up your life. I hope you will join me today in stepping back from it all and finding gratitude.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Following Jesus

In theory, following Jesus is quite easy. He sums up everything he wants us to do in one simple command,

Love God, Love others.

It sounds simple. In fact, it's pretty easy to love God because He is so good. He has given me life and health and created the world. Because I'm so thankful to God, it's not hard for me to feel love for Him. But the way God tells us to show love for Him is to love others. 

Loving others, now that is a little bit harder. Loving people gets messy. Loving people is easy when those people are nice to me. It gets tricky when those people who I am supposed to love (everyone!) are hateful, rude, and just plain unloving. How do I love someone who treats me horribly? How do I love someone I don't even know? How do I love someone I don't even like? 

Jesus hasn't called us to be like everyone else, though. He hasn't called us to only do what we feel like doing or love who we feel like loving. He has called us to love 

Following Jesus doesn't mean that life will always be easy. We are told that we will be blessed for following him, but we are also told that sometimes we will go through trials. Some definitely go through more trials than others. It doesn't seem fair to us and I don't know the answer why. 

Yet, there is such beauty in following Jesus. My life is so full from following Jesus. There are times that it is hard. Sometimes I'd rather not show love. Often, I fail at showing love. But the wonderful news is that following Jesus means that Jesus will help to carry my burdens. What a comfort it is to know that in the hard times, I have someone SO much greater to watch over me. 

I hope you remember that enormous blessing that comes with following Jesus. Have a joy-filled weekend, friends. 

P.S. You can read another post I wrote about following God here

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Race Always Hurts.

In 2010, one of my best friends asked me if I wanted to participate in a mud run. This mud run was 3 miles and I'd never run 3 miles in my life! In fact, I felt like throwing up from running more than a few minutes. I did exercise often, but I was definitely not a runner.

That summer, I ran every day of the week with my mom, until we were able to run 4 miles. Over the next 7 years, I have run a couple 5Ks, a couple 10Ks, and 3 half marathons. I will never be a fast runner (in fact I am a s.l.o.w. runner), but I always finish the race.

I am now training for my 4th half marathon this summer! For us non-runners, training is SUPER important. I found out that not training well can really break me. Are you a novice runner or looking to train for your first run? Here are some tips that have REALLY helped me!

1. Using a training plan. I use Hal Higdon's training plan for novices. I found that I can adjust it to be 12 to 14 weeks long, so that I can be as prepared as possible. Be careful not to train too long though, or your body might get burned out.

2. Make sure you are strengthening your body... your legs are especially important but so is your core! Strengthening your muscles helps them to endure through all the torture (-; It's important to incorporate strengthening and stretching into your workouts. 

3. If you are running more than an hour, make sure you bring along water and some sort of supplement. I use this handheld water bottle (as long as there are places to refill along the way). I always use raisins as my supplement (I eat a handful every 20 minutes of a run longer than 1 hour). There are many supplements out there, but make sure you don't switch them up on the day of your race.

4. Find something to listen to that motivates you. For me, this is podcasts. I'm loving the follow-up to Serial, Undisclosed, or the Jamie Ivey podcasts.

5. Pay attention to the course! My first 1/2 marathon, I dragged two of my friends along. I was so excited to find a nice trail run... which turned out to be the worst mistake ever. This trail run was SO hilly that I thought I was going to keel over. I had been running flat courses for training, so I was not prepared at all. If you are doing a hilly run, make sure you train for it!

6. End your long runs with a recovery food! For me, this is often just a chocolate milk, but there are all kinds of post-workout recovery foods. 

What are your best tips for running a race? I'd love to hear!! 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Spring Party Planning

Happy Friday! This April was my mother's birthday and we decided to try to make it extra special by having a surprise party. It turned out to be quite fun and tasty so here are a few tips for spring parties.


I got pretty much all my decorations at Target, either in the decoration section or the dollar spot. I found pretty white luminaries, a cute banner, striped straws, flowered plates and gold napkins. Luckily, my friend Bekka had saved up lots of glass frappucino jars, which made adorable drinking glasses. The party was at my mom's house, so I used a lot of her pretty china to put out the food.


I didn't have a "theme" with the food because I wanted to pick lots of foods my mom would like.

Pimento cheese sandwiches: You can buy Pimento spread at the grocery store! Make sure to use white bread with the crusts cuff off for the perfect tea party style.

Paleo Thai meatballs: These were yummy and easy to make! However, mine did not turn out nearly as pretty as these pictures!

BLTA wraps: My mom lettuce wraps, which is why I chose these! They were easy to make and tasty to eat. The recipe made a lot, so this is a good one for a crowd.

Sushi: You can't go wrong ordering sushi rolls!

Tomato bisque soup: From Safeway, this soup is thick and creamy!

Cucumber mint fizz: I chose these pretty drink because my mom loves cucumber and mint. I personally didn't like the drink all that much, but hopefully most did. Here are a few other drinks to try instead.

Party punch: I can't find the exact one we used, but this one is very similar!

Lemon tarts: Only two ingredients! Lemon curd can be found in a jar with the jams.

Mini pineapple upside down cake: Only the best dessert ever!! These are a little messy to make, but they are SO good.

The day of the party was almost ruined when my siblings missed their flight, but it all turned out okay! We managed to surprise my mom big time and we had a great evening of food, chatting, and games with friends.

Are you having a party soon? What are your best party ideas?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Welcome, May!

We are one quarter of the way through 2017! This year has been so good to me this far. I feel like I am busy but happy most of the time. I'm even accomplishing some goals I've set for myself! Here's a recap of some of my favorite times from 2017 so far, as told by photos. 


Our church hosted a fabulous young people's gathering back in February. I had a great time with friends and with 7 girls crammed into my 600 square foot home! It culminated with Melissa choosing to get baptized!

Bekka and I had such a great time at our first folk dancing performance. Our costumes were a little embarrassing but it's such a fun activity! Every week, we attend dance lessons that are given by a couple in their 80s (wow!) 

 More fantastic news! Colton (my youngest brother) also made the decision to get baptized. We had a fun ski weekend with our friends. I must say, skiing is not for me.

Daniel and I headed down to southern California with friends. I went to Balboa island and got to witness the baptism of my friend Lauren. These are some of my dear sisters and friends.

Birthdays with my BFF are the most fun. We celebrated by going out to dinner, where we were absolutely pampered by our waiter! I got a yummy pizza (mmm... I'm so hungry!). We finished off the celebrations with hot tub time, dancing, and a sleepover. Love my girl time!!

As you probably know, I started my Etsy shop, Stitched with Pure Joy, where I sell handmade embroidery creations. This is one of my favorites, a labor of love by my friend Jess and I. What would you like to see on embroidery?

I'm also super thrilled to fulfill my dream of hosting an online book club. It combines my most favorite things: blogging, reading, inspiration, and friends. I hope you will join for May! 

Here I am getting baby love from my little buddy. Daniel and I hitched a ride with Justin to LA for the weekend. We visited our friends Holly and Forrest, as well as attended a wedding.

At the wedding, wearing our very best (aka my little brother and sister's clothes). I love this guy!!

A friend who is dear to my heart! Enjoyed getting pampered and having girl talk. 

I posted this picture, reveling in the little beauties of the earth. Who would have thought that grass and clovers could be so pretty, but they are!

Here's a great photo of my little bro, who will be super mad if he ever sees this! I guess we shall see if he ever reads my blog... (-; A few weeks ago, he bought the favorite foods of everyone in my family (sushi, pizza, Chinese food, etc) and had a dinner for all of us. It was so much fun to all eat together, play games, read the Bible and sing together! I wish I had a picture. 

I'm so mad that I didn't get any "people" pictures of my mom's surprise birthday party. This is a picture of the food all set up. It was so fun to plan it and surprise my mom! I'll be sharing more about the party with recipes on Friday.

What have been your best times in 2017 so far? I'd love to hear!

Friday, April 28, 2017

April Book Club: Marriage Matters

April was such a good but crazy month! I didn't do much reading this month, but I did manage to finish Marriage Matters. I'm sharing my thoughts below!

Rating: 3/5 

Synopsis from GoodreadsCan Ordinary Marriages Become Extraordinary?

He snapped at her during breakfast. She brought up a past mistake. He walked out angry. She left without saying good-bye. An ordinary day in an ordinary marriage. But what if things could be different? What if the moments that seem the most ordinary moments of annoyance, conflict, pain, or cold indifference could become moments in which you're able to understand God's incredible agenda for love and begin to do something new?

Winston T. Smith, drawing on his extensive experience as a marriage counselor, offers a simple yet powerful prescription for changing your marriage. He shows how examining the everyday disappointments and irritations in your marriage will help you understand yourself, your spouse, and your need for God's love. Change begins with seeing day-to-day interactions from a different perspective, taking simple steps to love one another more effectively, and then learning how to take those steps over and over again. Interactions that used to devolve into pointless annoyances and fights can become an opportunity for God's activity and love to become increasingly evident and powerful.

The principles in this book will take your marriage to extraordinary places and lead you into a deeper relationship with an extraordinary God. Don't settle for an ordinary marriage, learn to live out God's extraordinary love in your most intimate relationship.

My thoughts: First of all, any book about strengthening marriage is a winner. If you are reading a book about marriage with thoughts of genuinely improving it, good for you! This book had a lot of great things to say about marriage from a Biblical perspective.

I love his ideas on how to overcome selfishness in marriage. It's something we probably all struggle with and it's important to remember that it's not okay. I thought it shared a good amount of advice for both men and women in many different situations of marriage. He talks about hard times in marriage, conflicts, fears, emotions and how to deal with these areas. 

This book also had questions at the end of each chapter to use for yourself or together with your spouse. I thought these were really good and helped draw out some wrong attitudes I've been holding.

That being said, the author drew a lot of points from what I consider faulty theology. While I could recognize that they were still important points, I found this off-putting. Overall. however, I could still enjoy the book for all the great advice it had to offer. 

Read this book if: You enjoy reading marriage books or haven't read a lot of marriage books. This book probably doesn't have anything new to offer that I haven't read before, but if you haven't read any marriage books it might be a good place to start. 

Inspiring quotes from the author: 

It's a common mistake to believe that loving others is the same thing as making them happy. And, of course, your gentle, patient, kind, generous moments will undoubtedly contribute to his or her happiness. But, still, you married someone who has the same capacity as you to be unreasonable, selfish, and blinded by the idols of the heart. Truly to love another sinner as Jesus has loved you will mean having difficult conversations, disagreeing, and even saying no to sinful and destructive behavior. If you truly love your spouse as Jesus has loved you, you'll sometimes get the same response Jesus got- conflict and rejection. Marriage Matters, pg 45 

No matter why you married, no matter what sins damaged your marriage, God's restoration will make it beautiful., not by hiding the past or camouflaging the scars but by helping you to see God's faithfulness and love in it and even using it to draw others to himself. Marriage Matters, pg 251

What did you think of Marriage Matters? Don't forget to check out Morgan's post and join us next month for How to Win Friends and Influence People!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

52 Dates for Two

I'm so excited about this date planning guide I bought from the Dating Divas website. It's easy to put together, you just have to print and cut out all the dates. Most of the dates are easy to plan on the spot, although some of them require a little extra prep. We try to have a date night every week (usually Friday), but sometimes the date night might just be collapsing into bed and watching a movie. As long as it's the two of us with no cell phones, it counts in my book. 

All 52 cards fit in a photo album, with a blank space next to them to add a picture from your date. So every week you can flip through these awesome suggestions and have a  pre-planned date! Make sure to take a picture to add to the photo album. 

Here's an example of two we have done: 

Breakfast in bed: It was Daniel's turn to plan the date, so he went to the store the night before. I'd say this is the best way to do it, otherwise you are going to be waiting for breakfast for a long time! He made eggs, toast, hash browns and fruit. It was super tasty and we enjoyed the meal while watching a movie.

A perfectly convincing "just out of bed" look (;
Planning a dream vacation: This was fun because we didn't just pretend to plan a vacation, we planned our trip to Mexico! We've been talking about it for a long time but we finally decide to go to Secrets in Riviera Maya. It's our first all-inclusive trip and I'm super excited!! I can't wait to eat all the food. 

The egg hunt... the last egg was a clue to find my booked reservation for Mexico! Yay!
I hope you'll check this awesome idea out! What are you favorite date ideas?? 

P.S. I receive a small commission for promoting products I love! 

52 Date Night Ideas for Two | thedatingdivas.com

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!