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!). 

Link up or comment below!

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

Friday, February 24, 2017

It's Raining, It's Pouring

Have you heard about the weather in California lately? It's been a little... rainy. I'm thankful for the rain, I really am, but it can be a little tiresome. But the great thing is, for every few rainy days, we seem to get a few bright days! There truly is a silver lining to every cloud.

When it is raining and we're stuck inside, here are some ideas that we like to do:

1. Watch something on Netflix and cuddle. Honestly, why am I even putting this on the list because isn't that what everyone does??

2. Make food together. It could be dinner for you, dinner for someone, a yummy treat, whatever! It's fun to whip something up with your spouse/family.

3. Play a board game. This never used to be my go-to, but I really enjoy a good game now. My favorite? Pandemic!

4. Read a book. Daniel and I do this together sometimes, but it's also fun to do with your kids. I used to read books with my siblings! Read a fiction book you are all interested in or a book about the Bible.

5. Go to a bargain store and pick out something small. There is  TJ Maxx close to us and sometimes we like to go there and buy little things for our house! 

6. Go to the library! Who does love a good trip to the library? It's one of my favorites.

7. Put on your rainboots and walk/play in the rain. I think it's so cute that when it rains, my youngest siblings rush out there with their boots and jackets. As long as you are prepared, it's kind of fun to dance in the rain!

8. Paint or draw together. Daniel and I have done this in the past and despite our lack of artistic skills, it can be pretty fun. 

9. Look at Pinterest! We like to look at the humor pins together or look at house stuff and dream about the future.

10. Go bowling or roller skating! Just a warning though, everyone else might have the same idea! (-:

What are some of your favorite rainy day activities?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Getting Pretty

I've always loved a lot of girly things, but I've never been much good at makeup or hair. While I know that beauty is not everything, or really much of anything, I still enjoy adding a little extra touch most days. Don't worry, these tips aren't from me, but rather the beauty "experts".

Baseball makeup-- this is the way I do my makeup most of the time. It's nothing fancy but it's a basic and pretty (and inexpensive!) way to makeup daily.  

When I want to be suuuuper fancy, I love doing this copper look. It helps that you literally have to have no skill to do it! 

If I really want to show that I have skillz, I use this windshield wiper approach. #justkiddingistilldont

I'm no model (I know, surprise!), but I used this tutorial for the pictures Daniel and I took this fall, and I thought it turned out pretty well. Photo makeup is surprisingly different from regular makeup! 

On my second hair day, I often do this waterfall braid to make my ponytail a little more fancy. I know, so exciting!

When I want to come up with new hair ideas, I like to refer to this pin. The girl has similar hair length/cut to me so I can figure out how to do most of the styles!

And when I want to do something really out there, I wear this party bun! It makes me feel a little self conscious, but I love that it's different and fun.  

What are your favorite hair and makeup tips? 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

14 for My Valentine

Does your significant other have a million little wonderful things they do that you don't always acknowledge? I know my hubs does! Sometimes I need to look up from my own little world to remember them. Plus, what better day to say cheesy things about my husband?!

You are my today and all of my tomorrows.
Thanks, Daniel, for all that you do! 

In a sea of people, my eyes will always search for you.
1. Making dinner every night
2. Fixing things around our house
3. Thinking of great gifts for me
4. Taking care of our cars
5. Being the "pick up" man for little things we need
6. Cuddling me when you wake up in the middle of the night
7. Being steady when I am filled with fear
8. Providing for our family 
9. Praying for the two of us every night 
10. Giving up things that you like to do to spend time with me
11. Being an awesome birthday-card-maker for all our cards
12. Drawing my embroidery designs for me and helping out with all my DIY's
13. Giving awesome massages
14. Doing the Bible readings with me every day

Where you lead, I will follow
These are just a few things, small and large, that Daniel does for our family that I often forget or overlook. Even if you think your spouse doesn't deserve appreciation, think a little harder. 

Not our dog, but love this shot! Maybe someday we will have a dog (-;
What are you appreciating your spouse for today?

Friday, February 10, 2017

What Inspires You to Blog?

I only write on my blog twice a week, but I still have many days where I am wracking my brain trying to come up with a good post. What can I write about that will interest my readers, will be something I'm interested in, while not being something I've already written about? When you've written more than 400 blog posts, I think it can be a little hard to come up with new material! In fact, I was thinking that I should write a post with ideas for blog posts when I remembered I had written one a few months ago. Ooooops. #memory

You can find that post here

One of the prompts that I had shared was What inspires you to blog?

I first started by blog in 2012. It seems like forever ago! When I stumbled upon The Small Things Blog on Facebook, I'd literally never even heard of blogging. I read her blog for a while and started looking at other blogs that she would share. I became obsessed with the idea of blogging.

It's funny, because when I started blogging, my blog was not at all like the blogs I was reading (i.e. fashion and beauty blogs), so I'm not sure why they inspired me so much. Nevertheless, I felt like I had something I wanted to share with the world. 

Since then, I have steadily plugged along. My blog has not become big and famous like I dreamed it would. Maybe someday. But for now, I keep writing because I love to write and I love to encourage others. I read/hear so many things that inspire me to keep writing. The wheels in my head get turning and I want to share it with someone. So thank you for being the someone I can share it with! 

My dream is that these words will be guided by God and will encourage somebody when they need it most. My dream is that someone will stumble upon my blog and want to know more about Jesus and what he has to offer. I blog because these things keep brimming up inside me and I want to share them. I think we all need someone to hear us out. Pure Joy is a special place where the honest thoughts of my head come out on paper (aka the internet) and you come along to read... thank you!!

What inspires you to blog? 

P.S. If you enjoy reading, I hope you will follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Bloglovin

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Thoughts on Tipping

As a believer (and just as a hopefully kind person), generosity is something I aim to live out. It's not always easy, but I believe it is necessary. I try to be very frugal on spending money on myself but more generous towards others. I like this ideology because it helps me remember that money is not my own.

Yes, we work hard for our money, but I do believe it's all from God. Some people may work harder and make more money, but some people work just as hard and make less money. I really do think a huge amount of that is situational. So as long as I am in the top 1% of the world, I believe that I will do what I can to bless others.

My thoughts on tipping stem from this idea. Granted, I'm not super hardcore about this and I won't argue with you (very much) about it. I've never been a waitress/hairstylist/etc. To me it's not about how much money they make per hour but that my values shine through to those who have service positions. 

I generally always give 20-25% as a tip. This is because I factor the tip into my budget. Honestly, the tip is not a rating of their service but a gesture of goodwill toward others. Therefore, unless I had absolutely horrible service, I wouldn't give them less of a tip. I know there are some who believe that people should "work" for their tips, but I'm just not of that mindset. 

So here are some reasons why I personally feel compelled to give a good tip:

1. Before a meal, I always pray. There may be people watching, including my waiter, and I would want them to feel positively about me.

2. The money is not mine, it belongs to God. It has been given to me to put to good use.

3. Many in "service" positions make less because tips are a part of their income.

4. I want to appreciate people for their work!

If I am going to do something luxurious (ie, have a nice meal out, get my hair done, etc), I factor in the price of the tip. If I can afford to pay $60 to get my hair done, shouldn't I include the tip in before deciding to go forward with it?

These are just my thoughts are the matter-- take it or leave it! I'd love to hear your thoughts on tipping! 

Friday, February 3, 2017

There's Always Hope

Sometimes I find that I'm so used to reading the Bible that it doesn't have the emotional impact on me that it should. I find that I don't always think of the characters in the Bible as real people-- which, of course, they are!! There is a particular story that always brings me to tears when I read it and that is the story of Judah. 

Judah is one of Jacob's twelve sons (who later became the 12 tribes of Israel) and Joseph's older brother. Judah and his brothers were so jealous of Joseph that they wanted to kill him and then decided to sell him into slavery. When Joseph is taken into slavery in Egypt, his father Jacob is devastated. And for years, Judah and his brothers lie to their father and tell him that Joseph was killed by wild animals. 

Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood?  Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” Genesis 37:26-27

A few years later, Judah has moved away from his family and raised sons who were so wicked that God killed them! Judah ends up in a mess when he sleeps with his daughter in law (who was dressed as a prostitute). When she finds out she is pregnant, he wants to kill her! He is stopped in his tracks when he is told that HE is the man who did it. 

Then, when Benjamin is going to be taken as a slave in Egypt (remember, Judah had no problem selling Joseph as a slave earlier), Judah begs to replace Benjamin as the slave. The reason is that he promised his father that he would care for Benjamin!

“Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father.” -Genesis 44:33-34

What a change! Judah is a completely different man than the one whose jealousy would leave him to sell his brother as a slave. He can't bear the thought of causing his father more pain. Reading these verses always brings me to tears. Gone is the man who would bring great pain on his father by his own selfishness. 

I think the reason that Judah has to go through all this pain is that God is using it to humble Judah. Judah has been taken through the wringer, but he's come out on the other side a different man. And what great God we have, that He would choose to work with us on a personal level to change us. 

As you can tell, Judah was a man who is deeply flawed. He made huge mistakes and caused much hurt in the lives of those around him. Yet he was also a man of great change. He went from a selfish man who would do anything to take care of himself to a man who would give up everything to care for his father and brothers. 

There is always hope! For you, for me, for those we care about! Don't give up. If we can learn anything from Judah, it is that redemption can find anyone. 

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

P.S. If you want to read more about the story of Judah, read from Genesis 37 to Genesis 50!