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.