Thursday, October 30, 2014

I'm Just Gonna Shake Shake Shake

{I know that I said I wanted to write more posts without prompts, but I'm not counting these as prompts; they're more like conversation initiators. I know, the hair is split super finely. Whatevs. Shaking it off.}


...wondering how early is too early to begin New Year's Eve party planning.

...stressing about doula training and how on earth I'm going to finish it all. Gulp.

...just finished reading UnDivided (Unwind Dystology)* by Neal Shusterman
Re'and* by Victoria Easter Wilson {review here!}

... currently reading Motherwit: An Alabama Midwife's Story* by Onnie Lee Logan
Spiritual Midwifery* by the one and only Ina May Gaskin
A Covert Affair: When Julia and Paul Child joined the OSS...* by Jennet Conant.

... going to read Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption* by Laura Hillenbrand - really excited about this one!

...listening to Imogen Heap and Kye Kye, as per usual, and.... Christmas music! Haters, please see above gif.

...craving more fudge that my flatmate made. She put a few sprinkles in and on it, and I think that was a very wise decision.

...enjoying a good hair day. Yay, straightener that works!

...getting excited for Cami and my trip to visit Samara! We are meeting at 5:30 tonight, having Chinese food for dinner {because why the hell not!?}, and then venturing down to yonder Oregon for a weekend of laughs, hugs, Doctor Who, costumes, chocolate, Portland, and whatever other adventures we find. CANNOT WAIT!!!

...grateful for a fantastic table lamp I found at Value Village. You. Guys. This thing is amazing. You know when you look at Target and you're like, mm, okay. Then you look at Pinterest and are all like, mm, if only me + drill + glass didn't = death.
And then you go to Value Village and the heavens open and a unicorn whinnies and fairy dust speeds your sprint into the embrace of the COOLEST LAMP EVER, and it doesn't even need a makeover. True story. Pictures coming soon.

...laughing at this clip from the Graham Norton Show of Miranda Hart teaching Benedict Cumberbatch how to walk like a diva. All day, every day, please and thank you.

Hope you all have a fantastic Halloween weekend!

*affiliate links that will, ideally, contribute to my doula education. Thanks for your click!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Finish This: Week Forty-three

Friends.... it is November next week. Gulp. November always freaks me out because it means that the year is almost over and that the holidays are racing towards us and that it's going to get cold. Actually, the end of October hasn't been that toasty, so maybe November is good because it means the cold is going to end soon-ish? Three months isn't too long, right?

Enough with the weather - let's Finish This! As per usual, this link-up is hosted by the marvelous Jen at The Arizona Russums, Becky at The Java Mama, Lisa at Coastlined, and Nicole at Three 31.

As a kid, my favorite Halloween costume was {I'll just let the images speak for themselves}

I was a baker with Minnie Mouse, a princess, and a clown

I was a book of ferry tickets with an M&M, a Hawaiian dancer, other sister. Sorry, Sis. 

As an adult, I celebrate Halloween by hanging out in costume with my friends! Last year a group of us went to see Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller in Danny Boyle's "Frankenstein." This year Cami and I are road-tripping down to visit Samara. We will be in costume and there may or may not be videos after the fact... we will wait and see about the quality and share-ability.

My favorite candy is Snickers, of the types of candy generally associated with trick-or-treating. If we are including adult candy, then Lindt sea salt chocolate, hands down. 

Voila! Happy Halloween, and thanks for joining the link-up!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Not Alone Series: Discernment

It's Tuesday again! The link-up party is hosted by the ever-fabulous Jen at Jumping in Puddles and Morgan at Follow and Believe.

We all agree that discernment is challenging. Figuring out what the Lord is calling you to do with your life can be frustrating and exhausting. But, then add on lack of family support, cultural pressures, and your personal expectations... ugh. And, this isn't just in relation to vocational discernment, but general life discernment, too! How do you keep going? What helps you to push through? How can we encourage one another? What indicators have you experienced that lets you know you're going down the right path?

I think the best way to answer this is to review some Scriptures that talk about God and our plans:

The plans of the heart belong to man, 
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
Proverbs 16:1

For I know the plans I have for you, 
declares the Lord, 
plans for welfare and not for evil, 
to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

God knows the plan for my life, because, uh, He came up with the plan. So God is directing my steps because He can see the end from the beginning {Revelation 22:13} and I can barely remember what I wore last week. 

So God knows where my life is headed, but how do I know? How do I go about living this life when I don't know where I'm going to end up? 

This question used to bug me... and by "bug me" I really mean keep me up all night worrying about Big Life Decisions. 

I would lie awake for hours thinking about all the things that I could see myself doing and wondering how to cram it all in to one life and wondering what degree I should get so that I could pursue as many career paths as possible and then I thought about meeting a man and naming our kids {at one point, I had a boy name and a girl name starting with every letter of the alphabet... just in case.} and worrying about how I would teach ballet and homeschool my children and travel the world and start an orphanage and live on a horse ranch and and and. On and on it went, and I would get more and more worked up each time I thought about Big Life Decisions.  

Then I got some sleep and realized that God is in control and that there is a very good reason for Him to be able to see beginning to end and for me to not be able to see past next week. I learned that I can trust Him, really truly trust Jesus with my life, and, like Mr. Incredible yells says, "We'll get there when we get there!"

That was a really roundabout way of getting to this part: when I'm faced with A Big Life Decision, it's ok. I already know that the outcome is going to be good because God is in control. I don't really want to start a free will vs predestination discussion, so I will simply say that I believe God is good, no matter what, and He works all things together for the good of those who love Him {Romans 8:28}.

Shall we get nitty-gritty for just a paragraph? When faced with A Big Life Decision, I pray. I consider my options. I ask my parents, my discipler, my friends {when appropriate}, for their opinions. I wait - no haste on Big Life Decisions! One of the things I specifically pray for is that my parents and discipler and I will all be in agreement, because that is really powerful. 

When I was considering going to Kentucky for the rest of my degree, I prayed that my parents and I would all hear the same answer, and we did and off I went. 

A few months ago, I was praying about a move, and my parents and I did not hear the same thing. I waited a bit longer, and suddenly things changed that made staying the right answer. 

Personally, the most important part of making A Big Life Decision is the peace that comes with an answer. Even when the answer doesn't make sense for there to be peace, like moving across the country to go to a random little school filled with Southern strangers, I was completely at peace in the way only Christ can provide. Sure, I was nervous as hell, but deeper, there was peace that surpassed understanding {Philippians 4:7}.

Whew, this is way longer than I anticipated. Like, way longer. If you are still reading, way to go! How do you discern God's will for your life? Join the conversation!

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Re'and" - A Book Review

Y'all, my IRL friend Victoria is quite the writer. Some of you may remember her hosting the fantastic 31 Days of Creative Writing last October, and this month she is writing for 31 days about self-publishing because she is publishing a book on October 30th, and she let me read it early! She is fantastic like that :)

You can purchase the physical copy or the Kindle edition of Re'and the Book on Amazon or click here to visit Victoria Easter Wilson Writer and download the PDF {update 11-16-14: due to some testing periods, this link is no longer available}.
{Update on 10-28-14: these links should be working properly now - please email or comment if there are problems!}

On with the review!

This book is great. I love the character development, the snark, the detail in the setting, and the plot. "Re'and" is the name of the world and there are many countries/nations within Re'and. I won't give away the story, but I will tell you that it reminded me of Middle Earth in that humans were one of several different races in the story.

I appreciated the pace of the story... throughout the journey of the main character, I felt like we spent a goodly amount of time at each place. There were some spots I wished provided more back story or detail, but maybe it will come up in a sequel or prequel, right, Victoria!?

There were several elements that definitely could have been overdone, but they were done perfectly. I never felt like Victoria thought I was unintelligent; she described what she needed to describe and then moved on. There was nothing that made me think, "Ok, I get it already!"

Re'and is really clean - no language, no sex, and only a bit of violence, but no gore. Catherine wrote a great review as well, and she is purchasing this book for her almost-a-teenager niece.

One of the best parts of Re'and for me was the characters. I loved how we met so many different people, and that we got "closure" with so many of them. I'm definitely an optimist and I love a happy ending, so it was wonderful to discover all the minor characters - and there is a beautiful variety of them! - and how the story ended with each of them.

Now that I've told you how wonderful this book is, I have to tell you something else. Victoria is so, so generous and she offered to make me an affiliate for the purpose of funding my doula education! Isn't she the greatest!? So those links up there are affiliate links, and all the affiliate income will go directly to my doula certification process. I told you Victoria is awesome!

I'm blown away by how generous she is... but I'm not at all surprised at how great her book is {and as cheesy as that sounds, I'm not saying it because of her generosity!}. If you are looking for a good read with great character development, fantastical elements, and lots of travelling, check out Re'and

Friday, October 24, 2014

"War Against Women" - a Social Justice Film

This post discusses a film about sexual violence. My discussion will not be graphic, but the content may be a trigger for some people, and I want to be sensitive. Also, let's be careful to be considerate in our comments on this post. Thank you.

Last night my sisters and I went to see the film "War Against Women" {link is to trailer and description} which focused on the use of rape as a war and terrorist weapon. Filmed over three years and in ten countries, it was a hard 65 minutes to watch.

Before viewing, I was worried that the filmmakers would focus solely on the problem and not offer any hope, because let's get real: rape and sexual abuse and violence, and living in the aftereffects of it, can be really hopeless. It can feel like no one cares, or that everyone knows and sees your shame, or both simultaneously. Without Jesus, and even with Jesus, it is hard to find hope.
But the filmmakers did a beautiful job presenting the testimonies and victories of the dozen or so women they interviewed, and the presence of hope was known.

The first woman we met in the film was Leila in Bosnia. She sat on her bed and smoked and told the film crew she didn't think she could say anything, that she couldn't talk about the horror she lived for three years. But she did share. She talked about the things she experienced as a teenager, and how some girls and women didn't survive, and all I could think of was how strong she was to endure, survive, and come back home and rebuild.

The film was divided into three parts: telling the stories, bringing healing, and changing the system. The first third was probably the hardest to watch... these women have survived so much. The second third was a bit brighter; therapists and doctors shared about the healing process. This film focused on rape as a war crime, and so the last third highlighted the efforts to bring about legal justice for the perpetrators.

Although it was difficult to watch, I am glad I went. "War Against Women" showed the victories of both the women and their governments. The last clip brought us back to Leila, who put down her cigarette and said, "Now I want to tell you why I have children. I want to have children so there will be some good people in this world."

One of the most poignant parts of the film for me was when a young Ugandan woman was describing her abuse. She became pregnant and had a daughter, and she was so glad! I was stunned. This woman who survived brutal violence, who probably would not have chosen to become a mother at age 15, named her daughter "Asima" which means "God loves me." I love how her daughter's name is a proclamation to all, an act of defiance to those who abused her, and a reminder of Truth.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Finish This: Week Forty-two

My mother would like to point out that there are less than 10 Saturdays until Christmas. Which makes sense, given that we are in Week Forty-two of 2014. Ei yi yi.

Linking up with the ever-fabulous Nicole at Three 31, Lisa at Coastlined, Becky at The Java Mama, and Jen at The Arizona Russums.

It took me a long time to realize that touch is my main love language and that I am not a freak for wanting to connect with people through an arm pat, a hug, a high-five, etc. I walked around high school for three years wondering why I wanted touch so much, and then my dad, while asking Dahlia what her love language was, gave me as an example: "Rebekah's love language is touch." I was stunned, yet it made perfect sense!

I surround myself with order, black-and-white {this color combo brings me so much joy}, adventurous friends, and fantastic wine {19 Crimes, anyone?}. 

This week's prompts are short and sweet because Nicole is helping us prepare for our Year in Review post, which is hella long, and we only have 10 weeks to finish it - yikes!

Thanks for joining! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NAS: Oh, You Know, Sex...

Linking up with the fabulous Jen at Jumping in Puddles and Morgan at Follow and Believe.

Our culture is obsessed with sex. With anyone! At anytime! If you want to, just do it! But, the Church teaches that sex was created for the context of marriage. Why do you choose to abstain? Why aren't you going around having sex with just anyone? How would you encourage others to do the same? How do you remain strong when everything in our culture is encouraging you to abandon your convictions?

Oh golly. Welcome to the fun house, kids.

There are a multitude of reasons I'm not sleeping around: STDs, heartbreak, germs, safety, etc., but the biggest reason is pretty simple: Jesus tells me to wait till marriage. He's not depriving me of something awesome; He is asking me to wait so I can fully enjoy it. Like dessert after a meal or a refreshing shower after a workout, that level of physical intimacy requires certain steps to be taken before it can be enjoyed.

Depending on who I'm talking to, I'd encourage people to save sex for someone they are truly committed to for the long haul. Let's get to a point where we're not sleeping with any cutie who looks our way. Once we're at the commitment step, let's talk marriage.

We have to be on the same page about these facts of life, like how deeply bonding the act of sex is, and how commitment should be the priority. Once these assumptions are made, then the aspect of marriage can be brought up.

Ok, the staying strong part is somewhat easy for me right now since I'm not in a relationship with anyone with whom I deeply desire to sleep with. Also, I can be a teensy bit dramatic and don't mind telling people that I've never been kissed... which basically rules out everything else. People are shocked, and while there is some incredulity, there is also a bit of respect {I hope!}. And amazingly, once my {lack of a} love life is out in the open, other people find me and tell me that they are in the same boat, so we become friends and I feel slightly less crazy.

And on that note, let's call it a Happy Tuesday. Thanks for joining, friends!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Finish This: Week Forty-One

Hey gang! Joining the link-up party with Nicole at Three 31, Jen at The Arizona Russums, Lisa at Coastlined, and Becky at The Java Mama.

I feel like a badass when my boss {the one who is not one of my parents} is impressed by my work; the dance instructor asks if I've danced the Viennese Waltz before {I haven't}; my fingernails are painted; I remember to change the calendar within the first three days of the month.

One thing that always cheers me up:

The quotes I live by:

Thanks for joining - catch ya on the flip side!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Not Alone Series: Modesty

It's Tuesday, which means Not Alone Series time! Linking up with Jen at Jumping in Puddles and Morgan at Follow and Believe.

Continuing our reflections about our make-up routines, let's chat about modesty! What does modesty mean to you? Does it just involve the clothes you wear and how you wear them? What about the things you say or do? In what ways can we improve our overall modesty?

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, 
holy and beloved, compassionate hearts,
 kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 
bearing with one another and, 
if one has a complaint against another,
 forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you,
 so you also must forgive.
 And above all these put on love,
 which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
 to which indeed you were called in one body.
 And be thankful.
Colossians 3:12-15
Clothe yourselves, all of you,
 with humility toward one another,
for “God opposes the proud 
but gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5

Let's start with clothes. Clothing is important. I'm a big fan of clothes! When I think of dressing modestly, I think of honor and respect. Am I honoring God, myself, my family, the place I'm going, with my clothing? When I wear business-casual clothes to the office, I'm showing respect to my employers and my work. When I wear a little bit dressier of clothes to church, I'm honoring God with the effort. 

What about our attitudes? The above Scripture verses refer to several character qualities with which we should "clothe" ourselves. Modesty can be emulating these characteristics and pointing others to Christ with our words and actions. 

Obviously this is a very, very shallow look at an extremely complex issue, but hopefully we're are starting conversations. Thanks for hosting, Jen and Morgan, and see you next week!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Doula Adventures: It's Official!

I babysat for 10.5 hours last weekend. No, I'm not cra-... ok, I'm slightly crazy. But you know what made those 10.5 hours totally worth it? Those hours earned me the last chunk of registration money for Birth Arts International, and today I clicked "make payment and begin the next step in your doula adventures...and your life." Ok, the button didn't really say that; I'm projecting a bit. But that's the jist of what it said, or what I felt, because now it is official: I've started the process of doula certification!!!

Step One: read the manual. 

Step Two: create a plan and schedule for the various assignments. 

Step Three: blog about it :D I know you're dying to follow along, so please note you made it into the top three items on this {massive} to-do list. That's right, feel the love. 

I can't thank you all enough for your kind comments, encouragement, questions, and enthusiasm. I've doubted myself many times {and I'm sure I will doubt myself again}, and you all keep holding me up and helping me push on past the worries and insecurities. You all are the best!

This post is short because I have a lot of reading to do, but hey, it's official reading now :)

Baby Cuddling: Blessing Song

Yesterday while holding babies, this song kept going through my mind, so Baby Boy and Baby Girl got silently sung to all morning.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Finish This: Week Forty

Holy smokes, 2014 is almost over! 40 weeks into a 52 week year... my math brain doesn't want to work, but I'm confident that's a fraction that almost equals 1. Wow.

As is Wednesday's habit, I am linking up with the wonderful hostesses of Finish This: Nicole at Three 31, Jen at The Arizona Russums, Becky at The Java Mama, and Lisa at Coastlined.

I can change the world by glorifying Christ in my life. Jesus is the most amazing Person ever - He doesn't sweep into life dramatically {ok, the manger thing might have been a little dramatic} and turn it upside down; He moves into a heart and slowly but surely life is different.

The best career advice I ever received was dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

I first fell in love with my bosom friend's son when I held him the morning he was born. Read about that {and my dog sitting adventure} in this post

That's all, folks! Leave some comment love, and see you next Wednesday. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Not Alone Series: Mary

It's Tuesday, which means I'm linking up with Jen from Jumping in Puddles and Morgan from Follow and Believe.

October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary, so we wanted to honor Mary and reflect on her help during this time of singleness. How have you called on her intercession before? What is your relationship with our Blessed Mother like? If you don't know much about Mary or the Rosary, is there something keeping you from getting to know her?

I'm going to tweak this post just a bit, because, um, #ProtestantProblems ;) But just because I don't say the rosary doesn't mean I can't learn from Mary, so let's start with her most well-known Scripture:

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Luke 1:26-38

I think my favorite part of this text is when Mary asks Gabriel how this whole conception and pregnancy thing is going to work, and the angel answers her so gently, which tells me that her question was not asked with sarcasm or disbelief. 

I'm pretty sure if an angel were to appear before me and tell me something as crazy and unbelievable as Mary's news, my response would be, "yeah, right!" But Mary trusts the Lord and simply asks how His plans are going to transpire. 

Also, I love how immediately Mary says yes to God. Gabriel tells her the what and the how, and Mary accepts it, totally and completely. Lord, let my trust in You grow to be like Mary's!

Monday, October 6, 2014


...reading The Locust Effect by Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission, and Victor Boutros; Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin - less than 100 pages to go!

...contemplating the beginning of doula certification and the coming workload. My first desire is to GO GO GO in a crazy and futile attempt to get it all done at once, but I know that I will be more successful in a chunk-by-chunk approach.

...waiting for some essential oils and a poster frame to arrive in the mail. Can't wait for either - thank God for Amazon Prime!

...watching "The Mindy Project" - only one more episode of Season One!

...anticipating Halloween with Cami and Samara! Last year we went as the Fantastic Fox Family, and this year we've got some pretty "rockin'" plans... no spoilers here, though!

...planning Christmas presents already. Thinking of both DIY options and more intentional purchases.

...working on finding my next crochet project. I finished Cami's birthday present with a striped cowl and matching headband, and now it's decision time for above-mentioned Christmas presents.

...hoping for some cute boxes at Michael's for beautifying my home, and some fake flowers can't hurt, either.

...dreading the end of Doctor Who Season Eight. I know we're only halfway done with the season, and there are still plenty of characters to develop, but already I'm dreading watching the last episode.

...ready for my next audio book! I ordered The Girl Who Came Home and it's waiting for me at the library as I type.

...grateful for text conversations, spontaneous phone dates, peanut butter, family, doula adventures about to start, and the grace of God. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 Days of...?

There are several many bloggers starting 31 Days of {Something} today, and I'm excited to have plenty of reading to do this month. Last year I participated in Victoria's 31 Days of Writing {which you can view on my Creative Writing page above}, and that was really fun {and exhausting, but mostly fun}.

This year, though, I don't think I'm going to participate in a formal 31 Days-style. 2014 has been the year of link-ups, and while it's been wonderful to join with bloggers in various conversations, I've been feeling like I've lost my voice a bit on this blog. It's almost like I've forgotten how to blog without a prompt, and so I want to practice that a bit more. It's scary admitting that, but then again, so is the rest of this blogging thing...

I could make the commitment to post just something for 31 days, but I think that a) misses the point for me, and b) would drive my OCD self a tad crazy. My blogging goal for 2014 was to post twice a week, and I've definitely been on track for that, but now I want to hone in and make at least one post a week something that is from me, without a prompt or link-up or anything.

What will you write about, Bek?
You are wise to ask, my friend! There are a few topics that I'd like to either start or continue writing about.

I've shared a little bit about essential oils and I'd like to a) start using them more and b) write about them a bit more, too. A TON of bloggers use oils to prevent their children from getting sick, and while that is wonderfully awesome and will be useful in the future, it's not super relevant to my single life right now. So I'd like to hopefully learn and then share how I use oils.

Also, remember that I'm working on the funds for doula certification? Well, thanks to an abundance of babysitting and tutoring jobs, it looks like I will be starting the certification process in about two weeks!! Woohoo! I am so so so excited to begin this journey in earnest, and I will do my best to keep y'all posted as I go.

I've been mulling over the concept of feminism and various related topics, and I have a handful of drafts written, and I think I may actually hit publish on a few of them this month. If you have comments, questions, concerns, ideas, or anything else about "women's issues," please let me know - I'd love to start some conversations and hear your perspectives.

Finally, since Autumn is upon us, it is time to break out the crochet hook and make snuggly items! Hopefully I will be sharing some projects and patterns, etc., so stay tuned for that.

Thanks for listening, friends. Happy October!

Finish This: Week Thirty-nine

Howdy, folks! The name of the game is Finish This, and our fabulous hostesses are Jen at The Arizona Russums,Becky at The Java Mama, Nicole at Three 31, and Lisa at Coastlined.

I am most comfortable in small groups of people that I know. Or big groups of people I know. Or with just one other person I know. I love being with people, and as extroverted as I am, sometimes I feel intimidated by groups of strangers... but then I remember how much fun it is to make new friends!

Diamonds are a reminder of the beauty that can result from endurance. 

I wish I could be more talented in the decorating department. For the past month, my walls have been really bare. Part of that is because the new flatmate and I haven't done any decorating, but why haven't we? Because I've let it slide. Oh well. Maybe by Christmas....

Thanks for joining! See you next week, same Bat-time, same Bat-place!