Tuesday, August 23, 2016

52 Lists Project: everything you love to do outdoors

For me, the best place for a fresh start or to begin a new project is on my birthday - the beginning of my year. So the year I was 21, I did a photo a day project (that ended up including an internship in Cleveland, meeting/dating my now-husband Adam, and going to New York to work for Vogue Knitting - so I'm retrospectively glad that I committed to documenting that particular year!), and the year I was 24, I knitted the sky (one row one a scarf each day in the color of the sky). So for 27, I'm doing lists. I'm going to roughly follow along with the book The 52 Lists Project.

A note on last week: I skipped last week, partly because I was out of town, and partly because last week's list was "obstacles that stand in the way of facing your dreams" - I already lived out my craziest dream, and the others are either current reality or very possible future possibilities.

A list of everything I love to do outdoors



1. Walking
2. Sitting by a fire
3. Camping
4. Hiking
5. Just being
6. Knitting
7. Playing with my Littles
8. Reading
9. Journaling
10., etc. Pretty much anything I do can be improved by being done outside, so let's save space and say "everything"

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Lift...


Social interaction is not something that comes easily to me. I all but envy those to whom conversation comes naturally, struggling as I do - observing, analyzing, painstakingly engaging, then agonizing afterwards over every perceived blunder. Really, from a purely logical perspective, it's not worth it. I could be perfectly content as a near-hermit, my only interaction being the predictably patterned banter of a barista or the minimal exchange of a weary grocery clerk.

That's what I did, for awhile. I had a group of people like me that I interacted with through the safe barrier of a computer screen, and I enjoyed it. But then Light shattered my dark solitude, and I discovered that the way of Love is one of community. So I attempted to embrace it - only to encounter a frustrating paradox. The grace of acceptance without understanding, the love, the community that was willing to sacrifice for its members... seemed to be something that no longer existed.

But a few days ago, I was forced to interrupt a conversing group in order to appeal for help (I'd locked my keys in my car), and was met with nothing but concern and practical assistance (which included a ride home to pick up the spare key, then a ride back to retrieve my car) - and I realized that I'd found what I was looking for. People who, instead of withdrawing into themselves or their cliques, gossiping or being simply unfriendly, and hiding behind impenetrable walls of Being Busy, are willing to give others a lift (literally or figuratively), in the name of Love.

It's Five Minute Friday! Each week a flashmob of bloggers gather, internet wide, to write for five minutes on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then link up and share a little comment love. For more info, more posts, and/or to join in, head here!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

52 Lists Project: things that make you excited

For me, the best place for a fresh start or to begin a new project is on my birthday - the beginning of my year. So the year I was 21, I did a photo a day project (that ended up including an internship in Cleveland, meeting/dating my now-husband Adam, and going to New York to work for Vogue Knitting - so I'm retrospectively glad that I committed to documenting that particular year!), and the year I was 24, I knitted the sky (one row one a scarf each day in the color of the sky). So for 27, I'm doing lists. I'm going to roughly follow along with the book The 52 Lists Project.


A list of the things that make me excited


1. Experimenting with knitting
2. Food truck rallies
3. Reading a new-to-me book
     a. or rereading an old favorite
4. A new kind of tea
5. Planning "adventures to undisclosed locations"
6. Talking to someone who actually listens
7. Finding a previously undiscovered local shop
8. Commuter trains
9. Hiking

Friday, August 5, 2016

Happy...



As I opened my computer to write this post, my littlest tiptoed to put a library book on my keyboard. Happy. So I stopped to read the book aloud, a mother owl telling her little one the ways that she can tell he's happy. "I know that you are happy when you giggle while you play; I know that you are happy when you have a lot to say..."

Everyone expresses (and experiences) happiness differently. I was amused this morning when we went to Whole Foods for groceries and stayed for Kids Club: Brooklyn sat in a chair next to me and watched with all her might as a librarian read a couple of books and a guy from the seafood department showed different fish (and a very squishy octopus), and Tobin bounced and squealed and participated (to the best of his 1.5 year old ability) in the hand motion songs. Then mini-me processed for a few hours before starting to talk about her favorite part of the morning, while my little extrovert continued "swimming" with his hands through lunch time.

It's easy for me to enjoy the little things with Brooklyn - we both get overloaded when there's too much going on, and prefer small moments of great wonder. The boys (big and small) like Bigger and Louder and More, "upgrading" adventures until they're wound up with delight, and we're ready to go home and take a nap.

So we look for balance. Quiet walks to the library, trips to the zoo with ice cream after, serial adventures with action to keep the active happy and periods of rest in the car for the introverts to process and recuperate... trying to find what makes everyone happy.


For more on happiness styles, check out yesterday's post!
It's Five Minute Friday! Each week a flashmob of bloggers, internet-wide, gather to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing) on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then link up and share a little comment love. For more info, more posts, and/or to join in, head here!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Happiness Dare


I've heard that gratitude is what we should focus on... that joy is better than happiness...indeed, that happiness is founded in selfishness and entitlement and should be avoided at all costs. But in her new book, The Happiness Dare, Jennifer Dukes Lee presents a different perspective.

"Happiness is the feeling of contentment that wells up inside of you when you are at peace with who you are and the life you've been given.
Happiness is a feeling, but it's also a decision. It's a choice we get to make every day, even on our hardest days.
Happiness is an outward expression of inward joy that is found in Jesus.
Happiness is a gift from a happy God.
Happiness is an offer extended to us by the Gospel - an offer of happiness forever, starting with happiness today." -from The Happiness Dare


Although the book released on Tuesday, I've had a copy for several months as a member of the launch team. The opportunity to read this came at a good time (as always) - wrapping up six months of introspection, mental housecleaning, and perspective shifting, direction for outwardly expressing inner revelations was exactly what I needed.


She begins with a Biblical defense of happiness, then launches into the five "happiness styles" (find yours here!) I am almost equally a Thinker and an Experiencer - and while I could have probably told you that without needing a quiz to tell me, I have found that consciously realizing that things like journaling, bright bouquets, knitting, and going for walks make me happy somehow makes me happier. Possibly because I'm appreciating them, instead of feeling guilty about them...

Later chapters cover tips for retraining your brain to choose happiness, with plenty of grace for hard times and deeply-ingrained negative thoughts and patterns. 


This book is definitely going on my "read yearly" shelf - a reminder for my somewhat melancholy nature to look on the bright side. And for daily encouragement, the #thehappinessdare hashtag marks many inspiring moments on Instagram. I signed up for the launch team because this seemed like a book I'd believe in - and, after reading it, I have to say that I unequivocally recommend it!

How do you feel about "happiness"?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

52 Lists: the ways you're a leader

For me, the best place for a fresh start or to begin a new project is on my birthday - the beginning of my year. So the year I was 21, I did a photo a day project (that ended up including an internship in Cleveland, meeting/dating my now-husband Adam, and going to New York to work for Vogue Knitting - so I'm retrospectively glad that I committed to documenting that particular year!), and the year I was 24, I knitted the sky (one row one a scarf each day in the color of the sky). So for 27, I'm doing lists. I'm going to roughly follow along with the book The 52 Lists Project.

A list of the ways that I am a leader an instigator



1. I do not consider myself a leader. I am best as second-in-command, complimenting and supporting a framework laid out by someone else. I do, however, consider myself to be an instigator...
     a. someone who disrupts the status quo
     b. who encourages others to question their beliefs, strengthening (or changing) them by examination
     c. who actively and vocally supports businesses and causes that are making the world a better place
     d. who is always ready to suggest an adventure
     e. and who thrives on pointing the beauty around us to others

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hidden...


Maybe it's natural introversion, or maybe it's a learned trait from multiple childhood friendship betrayals, or maybe it's a combination of the two... howe'er it be, I am an extremely private person. While I enjoy listening and drawing others into talking about themselves, their trials, and their desires, ask me how I'm doing and the answer is likely to be, "oh, I'm fine."

An acquaintance surely doesn't actually want to know what's actually going on in my life - a budding friendship might be blighted by my honesty - then a developed relationship might be crippled by the revelation of my past secrecy - and so on. There's never a point at which vulnerability seems like a safe choice, so I remain hidden.

But that is not a healthy way to live. We need accountability; people with whom to multiply our joys and divide our sorrows; people we can call and ask for prayer, knowing they'll accept a midnight trip to the ER with a sick toddler and the end of a day filled with tiny frustrations with equal gravity, grace, and concern.

I'd love to be surrounded by such people, but I recognize that is not a likely result of my tortoise-like method of developing friendships. So I'll continue on at my slow but thorough pace, letting the hares hop over me impatiently, put off by my taciturn exterior - and I'll be the more grateful for those who know me (and love me) enough to refuse to allow me to remain hidden in my shell.

It's Five Minute Friday! Each week a flashmob of bloggers, internet wide, gather to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing) on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then link up and share a little comment love. For more info, more posts, and/or to join in, head here!