Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Not Alone Series: Make-up

Hi friends! Wow, it's Tuesday already - jeepers! Time to join to link-up fun with Jen from Jumping in Puddles and Morgan from Follow and Believe.

What are your thoughts on wearing make-up? Do you see a tension between a pressure from society and a God-given desire to be and make life beautiful? Is your use of make-up compatible with the idea that God sees you as naturally beautiful?

Really quickly, a friend shared this article today and I thought it was very appropriate! Thoughts?

Oh golly. I'll be honest and take the heat/credit, depending on how you look at it - this prompt was my idea. This is a question that has been tickling at my mind and heart for a while, and I'm still not sure how to answer it. There are a few stepping stone conclusions I've reached, but the path keeps going beyond my line of sight. As Tilly from "Miranda" would say, "bear with!"

So. Make-up. Stepping stones. I'm a bullet-point kind of gal, so here is the bullet-point list of what I know that I know:
  • God made me, and He didn't make mistakes when He made me. I hesitantly think that the logical conclusion is that He thinks I'm beautiful.
  • I like feeling beautiful.
  • Feeling beautiful doesn't come solely from wearing make-up {or wearing certain clothes, but that's a separate post}. Make-up can help me feel dressed up, which usually means there's an occasion for which I want to feel beautiful, but make-up does not make {ha! pun!} or break my beautiful-o-meter.
  • There is definitely a pressure from society for women to be beautiful. Society's standard of beauty a) has evolved over the years, b) is photo-shopped, and c) is profit-driven. I think women wanting to be beautiful has been exploited by advertisers, and the market has changed from enhancing natural beauty to changing your body to meet society's standard.
  • As much as I want my outward person to be beautiful, the inner person matters more. My character will shine brighter than any lip gloss, or it will be duller than unconditioned hair. 
Did anyone find a clear conclusion among those stepping stones? Me neither. But the path is leading in a good direction, I believe, so we'll just keep walking down this path.

My make-up routine is really basic, and it gets even more basic on weekends. I put some shadow and liner on my eyes, and a bit of concealer under my eyes and maybe elsewhere if a zit demands. Sometimes I wear mascara; sometimes not. I put chap-stick on at night after I brush my teeth, and I brush with toothpaste and baking soda. It's a good day when I remember to apply body spray. 

I think the most important aspect of make-up for me is making sure I'm comfortable without it. As long as make-up is a choice for me, then everything is alright.

When I was deathly ill sick on the couch on Sunday, my friend Rebecca came over to deliver some orange juice {she is so great!}. I had moved from my bed to the couch, period. No hair brush, no face wash, no daytime clothing, nothing! And it was absolutely fine {part of this nonchalance is probably due to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, that breathing comes before being beautiful, but whatevs!}. Both my inner and outer person are made beautifully, and that's what counts. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

San Antonio + Sickness

Well, gang, I'm home again, home again, jiggety jig. Our event in San Antonio, Texas, was fantastic, and now I'm home celebrating by...being sick. Yep, San An gave me a bug. But let's back up.

Tuesday morning before the crack of dawn, my parents and I loaded up into the car and set off for the airport. We had 6 bags to check {thank you, Dad's status, for letting us do that for free!}, and someone {read: me!} got bumped into first class! Yes and amen, right!?

I won't bore you with all the nitty gritty details of the week {I know you've been on the edge of your seats for THAT}; instead I will tell you that the event went way smoother than Mom or I could have ever imagined, hoped, or dreamed, and we got compliments right and left about how awesome everything was.

My favorite part was Friday night when we down the street to the Buckhorn Saloon and had dinner, dancing {with live music}, and sharpshooters. The food was fantastic, everyone was dancing or laughing at those dancing, and the sharpshooters walked around intimidating people before they started arguing over their girlfriend. It was absolutely perfect.

Saturday was a morning session, conclusion, and goodbyes before I rushed off to the airport. First class both flights - please and thank you! My sisters picked me up from the airport, and we hit up Dick's Drive In before heading home.

The only downside of this trip was the bug I caught. I think it was a combination of the air conditioning {odd, I know, but I'm pretty sure it was involved}, dehydration, and the stress of the event. Add traveling to that mix, and I woke up Sunday with a bad case of I-can't-breathe-so-I'm-gonna-stay-on-the-couch.

Today's to-do list includes watching the Season 1 finale of "Elementary," drinking lots of water and orange juice, and growing a pile of tissue. {I feel like a game show host announcing this list, btw,} I'm on the mend, so never fear! I should be back in the saddle again tomorrow. Giddyup!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Finish This: Week Thirty-eight

Joining our fantastic hosts Jen from The Arizona Russums, Becky from The Java Mama, Lisa at Coastlined, and Nicole from Three 31. {I'm blogging from the app, so pictures are lacking today, sorry. But at least the hotel here in Texas has internet - yay!}

My relationships thrive because both my friends and I initiate conversation, texts, hang-outs, etc. We know that it takes two to tango, and we feel free to contact the other person anytime. We also know our lives are all ridiculously busy, so we aren't offended if plans are delayed or something. We all love each other and we'll get together eventually!

My favorite piece of advice is make your bed first thing every day. As a Type A OCD person, having my bed made keeps me sane. Plus, bedtime is nicer when crawling into a made bed.

My worst habit is pulling hangnails instead of cutting them off. My fingers always have red gashes where I've pulled (and pulled and pulled) the skin off, and they hurt! When will I learn?

That's all, folks! Go leave some comment love on the other posts, if you're so inspired. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Not Alone Series: Dating vs. Courtship

{I'm writing this on an airplane as my fellow passengers find their seats. My company has a conference in Texas, so hi-ho, hi-ho, off to The Great Nation of Texas I go.}

It might be easy to say that the pursuit of marriage is the purpose of dating (aka courtship). But, that's not how our culture views dating. Does viewing the person you're dating as a potential spouse add unnecessary pressure on the relationship? In your opinion, is there a difference between dating and courtship? If so, what are those differences?

Wowza, what a great question! I really love this - good job, Jen and Morgan!

Short answer, since I'm on a plane and got up at 3:30 this morning: I wouldn't date anyone that I couldn't see myself marrying. That doesn't mean that I wouldn't go on a date with someone unless I knew he was The One, but I wouldn't go out with him unless there was a possibility. 

That being said, I think considering someone an "option" is different than considering that person The One. I think some NAS girls have mentioned Cindy's "3 Date Rule," and I really appreciate it (that is, if I'm thinking of the right rule!). Go out with a guy if he asks and you're interested, but don't start a relationship with him unless he is an actual option for a husband.

Personally, I feel pressure on myself to know my list of character qualities I'm looking for, because a guy can be really fun and awesome and interested, but if he lacks my non-negotiables, I couldn't enter into a relationship with him. 

That's all I've got, folks. Join Jen and Morgan for the link-up!

Friday, September 19, 2014


A couple weekends ago, I went thrifting for a table lamp. Since I had no idea what I was going to do with it and also since I had no idea how my attempt would turn out, I bought one lamp with a clear cord and a shade already attached {instead of buying two lamps with various degrees of inspiration and intimidation}.

{Sorry, I didn't take a "before" picture. Lame, I know.} The original color was kind of an Eeyore-blue... aka depressing. Also, it went with nothing already in my living room, so paint was in order. The shade was an off-white; again, not my fave. So I knew that this was a total makeover. 

The mirror on my mantle is painted "geranium" from Martha Stewart's collection, and I decided that the base of the lamp should match the mirror. Unfortunately, Martha likes to keep things moving through her collection, so geranium was no longer an option. Fortunately, I have a dedicated crafting friend in Julie, and together we searched through the clearance bucket and found something close: poppy. I figured they are both orange-ish flowers and close enough. 

Julie and I turned on the movie "Austenland" {which was pretty cute and funny - a good choice for crafting} and she started knitting and I started with the lamp shade. I had purchased some scrapbook paper and began to glue the paper onto the shade. I finished before the movie did, so it didn't take too long. The pieces of paper were each $0.56 and I used four pieces. 

When the movie was over, Julie and I grabbed paintbrushes and sponges and let the poppy loose. It didn't go very far. We painted one coat that night, then I painted three more coats on Saturday, and then Monday saw the fifth coat. FINALLY it looked good!

Above and below are Saturday morning, after the second coat. Still see-through!

Here's the paint I used:

I figured if it didn't work, I only paid $0.79 for it, so no biggie. 

All done!

Close-up of the shade

Ta-da! I have another table, so stay tuned for potentially another lamp makeover. $10.00 for the lamp + $0.79 for the paint + $2.24 = a new lamp for less than $15!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Baby Cuddling, Week One

Two Sundays ago was my first day getting up to my 4:30am alarm. It was the first time I groggily called the NICU, willing my voice not to croak like a bullfrog. It was the first time I tried {and failed!} to clock in using my volunteer PIN.

It was the first time I made the rounds in the NICU, asking the kind nurses if they had any babies needing cuddling. It was my first time {ever!} in the Family and Maternity Center {FMC}, and it was my first time holding a baby completely uninterrupted for longer than an hour.

The nurse didn't know this baby boy's name, so I didn't get to know it, either. We just knew he was a little fussy and that his mom needed some sleep. I settled into my rocking chair and opened my arms. The nurse gently transferred him to me, and I started gazing at him.

Everyone says that every baby is perfect, and I absolutely agree. Babies with pale skin, brown skin, yellow skin, red blotchy skin, purple skin... babies with no hair, black hair, curly hair, blonde hair, two hairs total... they are all perfect.

This two-day-old baby and I got to hang out for three hours. We watched {okay, I watched and whispered descriptions to him since his eyes were closed} the sun rise and the morning fog dissipate. I prayed over him and sang to him.

He squeaked and I hummed. He stirred and I stroked. He twisted and I patted. And when my shift was over and I gave him back to the nurse, I wondered where the time had gone and why couldn't I stay for the rest of the day. And then I realized that I would never see this baby again, and I confess that I cried a little.

I can't really describe the joyful ache I feel in my heart and my arms. I feel full of gratitude for the opportunity, contentedness with a baby in my arms, humbled to be serving new moms in this simple way... and I feel lonely for my future babies, sad for the NICU babies who can't go home with their parents yet, and pain for the parents who never get to take their newborn home.

Describing my time at the hospital really helps me process allll these emotions, so brace yourself for some baby cuddling stories! I don't know how much information I can share, but if you want to join me in praying for these little strangers, that would be wonderful. Thanks for listening. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Finish This: Week Thirty-seven

Joining the Finish This party! Our lovely hostesses are Jen from The Arizona Russums, Nicole from Three 31, Lisa from Coastlined, and Becky from The Java Mama.

I am the type of person who always has a to-do list going and will call it a fantastic day when everything gets crossed off. My day planner is filled with lists of errands to run, phone calls to make, and Zumba classes, and at the end of the day, I draw bold lines through everything! And if I didn't finish something, I leave it unscathed and get to it later, no biggie. That's why I have a list - so I remember what I haven't done yet.

My favorite joke or riddle or funny is probably a little too dirty for this little blog, so I will share a couple G-rated favorites:

All that really matters is:

Hugo nails it: God is faithful, and we always have hope. 

Thanks for reading! Come back next week for another round of prompts, and if you want to participate, you can "finish this" in the comments or in your own blog post. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Not Alone Series: Online Dating

Linking up with Jen at Jumping in Puddles and Morgan at Follow and Believe - join the fun!

Not all of us have jumped into the world of online dating, but many of us have! What are those things that we should AND that we shouldn't do?! If someone you know is considering online dating, how would you encourage him/her? What advice do you have?

Well, I fall into that very first category of "haven't jumped" and so I inquired as to a prompt for those in my boat. Morgan suggested I share why I haven't jumped in, my perceptions, if I know anyone else who's tried it, etc. So here goes.

I have not tried online dating, and I am not saying that I never will. I know several people who married someone they met online, and I know other people who haven't had good experiences. We all know people who love it and people who hate it, don't we?

Right now, online dating not something I want to do, but I've taken the goal of online dating {meeting new people} and looked for other ways to accomplish that goal. How do I meet new people? I have to try new things!

With that in mind, I've attempted to be more open about new adventures. When my new flatmate said she was going ballroom dancing with some people from her work, I joined her {and had a blast!}. When my friend says she wants to go to a different church's hang-out, I put it on my calendar and join her {it's still on the calendar}. When I'm at Notions and there are new people, I hand them some apple crisp and introduce myself {surest way to make new friends: feed them!}.

I say that the goal of online dating is to make new friends, which maybe is a little strange. Personally, having new friends as my goal keeps things simple and helps me not focus so much on a relationship status. My focus is not on "finding a husband" but rather on building relationships with the people God connects me to, and right now that means being willing to try new things and meet new people. 

What's your online dating experience? Would you recommend it, based on your own experience or a friend's?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Doula Adventures: Bradley Class is Done!

{Oops, I totally did not do a two/thirds done post. Forgive me and blame the summer's sunshine!}

Bradley Birth Class is over. It was a fantastic twelve weeks, and when the last class was over, we were all hugging and planning a reunion after the babies are born. Yipee!

The biggest lesson I learned from the Bradley class is how long it takes to practice and get comfortable with the different techniques. Honestly, I think you could go through any birth class and find a method or six that will work for you, but the real key to success is to practice. Stephanie said it many times: labor is a marathon, and it takes time to train for a marathon.

The Bradley method touches on every aspect of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. The two couples had lots of questions, and Stephanie was prepared for everything. No question was outside her scope of knowledge, or if it was, she found an answer the next week.

I really appreciated how there was no "normal" standard for a labor and delivery; all the information presented was "some women experience this and some women experience that." I think the couples found that helpful so they could know all the possibilities but also know that nothing was wrong if they did or didn't experience something.

The Bradley method is awesome at including dads. Dr. Bradley's book is actually written to dads, which I think dads appreciate with so many other pregnancy books geared towards women, obviously. The book was a little annoying to read, and Dr. Bradley has some funky, perhaps out-dated ideas, but overall good information.

If you want to learn more about the Bradley method, you can ask me anything or check out their website. Also, thanks to multiple babysitting jobs this week, BAI certification should start by the end of October at the latest {I'm hoping}. Thanks for all your kind and enthusiastic comments - you help me stay excited when the process seems slow. You are all wonderful!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Finish This: Week Thirty-six

Linking up with our fabulous hostesses: Nicole from Three 31, Jen from The Arizona Russums, Becky from The Java Mama, and Lisa from Coastlined.

I am serious about reading. Zumba, cleaning, drinking water, trimming my nails, having fun, spending time with my friends and family, blogging, phone dates, a clean room, and British television.

I am most relaxed when the house is clean, my friends are near, and wine and chocolate are involved.

There is no place like your own bed. I don't care how thick your air mattress is or how comfy your friend's couch is, my own bed is my favorite place to sleep. Please and thank you.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Not Alone Series: Chivalry

Linking up with the marvelous Jen from Jumping In Puddles and Morgan from Follow and Believe!

Chivalry should not become a lost art and we, as women, ought to step up to the plate a bit more and encourage men to treat us as women, thereby respecting them as men. Do you have tips, ideas, or stories to encourage men to be... men?! Open doors for us, initiate dates, honor us as women, etc? Let's chat!

Hmm. This is a great conversation to start, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to dialogue about it a bit. That being said, I imagine that this is going to be an ongoing conversation with lots of growth and adjustments, and we will probably come to a variety of conclusions multiple times.

Right now, I am concentrating on being respectful of people, men and women. This means not participating in sexist jokes, comments, or mindsets. I'm not going to say someone can or should do something simply because of their gender; my goal is to be respectful of people because we are all made in the image of God. Below are some ways we can show respect to both men and women:

Listen without dismissing - I'm sure we've all experienced it: we're talking about something we care about, and someone else listens for 2 seconds and then rolls his or her eyes and leaves the conversation.  You're passionate about the Seahawks and I barely remember which sport they play, but that doesn't give me an excuse to dismiss the topic as stupid or uninteresting. It's interesting to you, so I should be considerate and respectful and ask you questions {and you should be considerate of me and not mock my lack of knowledge}.

Encourage those around you - If someone is kind, considerate, awesome, generous, or something else that gives you warm fuzzy feelings, tell them! Encouragement and gratitude are a huge part of showing respect, because you're recognizing and acknowledging people's gifts and strengths, and maybe even their weaknesses that are growing into strengths.

Laugh with, not at - Although sarcasm may be in vogue, and although it can be rather humorous, continually putting someone down just for laughs is not cool. Make yourself the butt of a joke, or change the tone so that everyone laughs at wit, not individuals. Even gentle teasing gets old after a while, so make sure that your jokes and barbs are uplifting.

What do you think? How can we be more respectful of the people around us?

Saturday, September 6, 2014


...listening to Imogen Heap's album Ellipse and loving basically every track.

...reading This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Grace Earl and her parents. Esther battled cancer for several years, was active in the Nerdfighter community, and wrote pages and pages in her journals. After she passed away in 2010, her parents published her journals, along with other stories and notes from friends and family. While The Fault In Our Stars is not written about Esther, John Green dedicated it to her and was inspired - in more ways than just his book - by Esther. 

...watching "Doctor Who" Season 8, Episode 3 tonight with Samara! I'm excited to see the interaction between Clara and Robin Hood :) And before tonight's episode, I will probably watch at least one episode of "Wonderfalls," a quirky one-season show with Lee Pace. Yes, I'm obsessed, but how can I not be?

...working on a DIY project for a table lamp. I'm excited to share the finished product soon :)

...drinking lots of water. Feeling slightly dehydrated and I want to nip that in the bud. 

...wondering if I should have taken my sister up on her invitation to go to Wild Waves for one of the last nice days of the summer. She called this morning and I opted out - does that make me old?? Probably, but at least I own it, right?

...anticipating some packages in the mail. I ordered some clothing from Amazon and some sheets from Macys yesterday {thanks be unto whoever invented online shopping}, and both orders should be in here in a week-ish. {I think the fact that I'm excited for new sheets is confirmation that I'm old.}

...looking forward to a friend's birthday celebration tomorrow. Brunch, relaxation, and picnics in the park are all on the docket, and I'm thinking about making some sangria :)

...thinking that I should exercise and shower in order to fully appreciate this wonderful weekend.

Linking up with Bailey Jean today for Day Six of her Blog-tember challenge. Thanks for the prompt, Bailey!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Finish This: Week Thirty-five

By now, I'm sure you know the link-up drill. Thank you to our awesome hostesses, Jen at The Arizona Russums, Nicole at Three 31, Lisa at Coastlined, and Becky at The Java Mama.

I celebrated Labor Day by moving Samara out of the condo, moving my new flatmate into the condo, celebrating my sister's birthday with the family, playing hooky out of church to have brunch with Samara, watching "Only Lovers Left Alive" with Cami and Samara, venturing to IKEA with the new flatmate, making dinner with a friend, and attending my second-to-last Bradley class. Phew! Are you exhausted reading it? Because I was definitely exhausted doing it!

My dream job/career would be working as a doula, running a crisis pregnancy center, homeschooling my kids, and maybe writing a travel blog. That last one is just an excuse so I can travel, but who says it won't work? 
I am very fortunate to be able to pursue these dreams; it's such a blessing to have opportunities to do what I love doing, or even start down the path of what I think I want to do. As all the sh*t happens around the world with wars, kidnappings, persecution, etc., I am beyond grateful to be able to spend life in such a beautiful fashion. 

My first paying job was working in retail my senior year of high school. Babysitting had been bringing in some moolah since I was 12, but my first "real" job was at LifeWay Christian Stores. I stayed busy stocking shelves and chatting with customers. It was mostly fun, and I enjoyed being known as "the queen of fiction" and working with "the Bible expert" and "the Spanish translator."

My current job is coordinating all things meeting-related for my company's peer group clients. It sounds super complicated fancy boring, but basically I make sure everyone has everything they need for their meetings. It involves a lot of phone calls and checklists and email templates, and it's pretty fun. 
Also, even though I'm not currently working as a doula, I definitely consider doula certification a job in terms of responsibility. Currently my "assignment" is to save as much money as I can to pay for the certification program, and since I have 3 babysitting jobs between now and next Friday, I think I can say that I'm on top of my homework!

There you have it! Tune in next week for another round of Finish This, and visit the link-up for more posts this week. 

Not Alone Series: Back In the Saddle Again

{Not that I didn't love Labor Day's three-day-weekend, but did missing Monday throw off anyone else's game? Whew! Sorry to be late, ladies!}

We are back! As we get back into the swing of things with NAS, what other ways can we be more involved at church or in our communities? Is there a parish ministry you have been wanting to help with or start up? What about that after school program for homeless kids? Has something been preventing you from getting involved? How do you think this will help you personally, spiritually, and emotionally?

First off, I am so excited that NAS is back! Ladies, I've missed you each week! The FB page is wonderful, but these prompts and the unity that comes from the weekly topics... mmmm, nothing like it! So glad we're all back!

The past year has seen some severe ups and downs to my church. LOTS of changes have been made, and while not all of them have been easy, they've all been for the better, I think. As it frequently happens, changes in structure resulted in changes of population. My church family has shrunk a bit, and while I'm still in community with people, the number of "legs on the ground" part of church ministry has dramatically decreased.

While I serve in the church's nursery, what I really want to do is continue to host Jesus Feminist Book Club meetings. We met twice over the summer {the first time was when my neighbor caught his car on fire}, and both times the conversation has been so, so rich and good. The atmosphere at my church is changing, and I want to continue to be a part of the change, both with Book Club and in other conversations.

The "supplement" church, my other church body, has several great ministry opportunities, and while I can't be as involved as I'd like {thank you, rush hour traffic}, I'm looking for ways to join with them. This church has a fantastic Post-College & Early Career group, and I'm excited to start participating as I'm able.

Outside of my church body, I'm volunteering every week at CareNet Pregnancy and Family Services. I love my center! The ladies who work/volunteer there are awesome. Our little community is fantastic.

This Sunday, I will start volunteering as a baby cuddler in the NICU. I'm really excited about this, because even though I started the training process in April, the NICU cuddling only started September 1st. I'm looking forward to serving families who are going through a rough time, and of course I'm excited to hold babies!

Thanks for joining! Be sure to visit Jen at Jumping in Puddles and Morgan at Follow and Believe for the link-up and for future prompts.