Monthly Archives: August 2013

The NOT so endless summer

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NEWS FLASH: Summer is almost over.

Well, for some of you it is already over. I still have a bit before my daughter starts 1st grade. Last night I was looking at the mounds of activities & schedules for the fall. Its a lot. I’m not quite ready for it.

So, I’ve decided to have an end of summer break. I want to soak up time with the kids before they get swallowed up in school & soccer games. See you guys the first week of September.

Here are a few of my favorite posts if you want some end-of-summer reading!

( Disclaimer: Some of these are old. Way before I knew anything about creating or editing images. So, don’t laugh at me too hard. )

Top 10 Dumbest Trends I’ve Taken Part In

What I Learned From MacGyver

Stronger Or Half Dead?

Worst Song Lyrics Ever

Qualifications & Honor

Confessions of A Sorority Girl

The Skinny on Skinny Jeans

God Is Good For Nothing

What To Do When You Feel Small

The ONE Cuss Word Every Christian Should Say

Stewarding Dreams

There Are Some Things Only Art Can Say

Dreaming Without Fear

See you peeps in 10 days.

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10 things you should know about me

I did this a few years ago, but it is time again. Here are ten things you should know about me…image

I started this blog two years ago for my friends to read after I moved. Turns out that none of them read my blog, but you do! You guys are from places like Belize, the Netherlands, Germany, Thailand & Poland to name a few.

I figured we should be friends so it won’t be so weird when I ask you if I can come and stay with you in your cool apartment in Moscow for my next vacation.

So,  here are ten things about me that will help us get to know each other!

1. I may not look the same whenever you see me next. Long, short, bangs, no bangs, blonde, red, brown and everywhere in between. I get bored with my hair very easily. OR maybe I am a spy. You pick.

2. I really love Subway sandwiches. They are truly a delight to me.

3. I won’t buy food from superstores. In my mind there is something fundamentally wrong with buying groceries from non-grocery stores. Wal-Mart  will never get me to buy food from them. Purchasing oranges at the same place I can buy tires is just unnatural.

4. I am a Type-A/Bohemian hybrid. Very driven. Constantly thinking. But with a whimsical spontaneity to it. You will find me trying to figure out a plan for how to run an AIDS clinic while swaying to Frank Sinatra with my hair up in an Italian scarf. It can really throw people off.

5. I have figured out how to stop global warming. No, I didn’t get any help from Al Gore on this. I came up with it myself. Simply cutting out this one thing will end it.

6. It took me 2 years to learn to cook a baked potato. Simple, you may think, but it wasn’t! Literally 2 years. I will save you the time and toil that I spent. Put the potato in an 350 degree oven for 2 hours. Now you can use your two years on something else.

7. I believe monkeys can be pets. When I was little I created a plan to convince my parents that we could, in fact, have monkeys as pets. I calculated how much they needed to eat, what it would cost, sketched a diagram of the monkey house I would build in the back yard, planned out their vaccinations…They didn’t go for it. I guess my parents are not quite as visionary as I am.

8. When I type, I hear my voice saying the words out loud. Just like Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail. I’d like to think that I don’t smirk and smile thoughtfully into the distance like she did while typing, but it is very likely that I do.

9. I wear sunscreen every day. Seriously, people. I have a soapbox about skin care. It’s not hard. Just put it on. When I lived in Seattle it would be 50 degrees and raining. This lady still put it on. Make fun if you will. Dermatologists love me.

10. I think I would enjoy gardening if it didn’t involve dirt. And bending over so much. But, I do love gardens. Particularly wild English gardens. I could sit in those for days. As long as I didn’t have to do any gardening.

See, wasn’t that nice? Are we friends yet? Honestly though, I wish I could sit and chat with each of you. Hear your stories and see pictures of where you are from.

Are you on Instagram? Twitter? Do you have a blog? I’d love to see you other places online. Let me know in the comments!

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I agree with Ashton Kutcher

I never thought I would post something from the Teen Choice Awards. Never say never though, right? Unless you are Justin Beiber.

I agree with ALL three things he listed. But, I really like what he tells girls about being sexy.

Sorry about the screaming 14 year olds.

 

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August 14, 2013 · 8:45 pm

what Italy taught me about getting lost

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photo cred: Galaxy Eyes

Want to know a little-known fact about me? Amid the Type-A drive and tendency to hurry, I adore being lost. It is true that I am 1/32nd Cherokee & can tell time simply by looking at the shadow of my horse…but, I do in fact get lost often. Like my first 24 hours in Italy.

My friend Connie & I flew into Milan with maps and whimsy. The plan was to catch a train to Slovenia for a few days and then explore some fine Italian cities. After landing we headed straight to the main train station.

Oh, but wait. There was a national train strike when we arrived & we were stranded. Did I mention it was fashion week? I was stranded in a train station during fashion week. Whoops.

There we were surrounded by very eccentric fashionistas & a  large group of angry Russian women. I’m not exactly sure why there 20+ Russian women, but for some reason they filled the women’s restroom and were not inclined to share it. The restroom was the only warm spot in the entire train station and the Russians had dibs on it apparently.

Through some United Nations style negotiation, my friend Connie was able to get us on a train to Venice.  Hungry & barely awake, we lugged ourselves off the train in Venice & began the hunt for our hotel. It was called Hotel Albergo.

It was just after 10pm when we got to Venice. We spent what seemed like days saying, “Scuzi! Dove e Albergo?”. The boisterous Italians would flash a smile, point a direction & say a slew of words we couldn’t understand.

It didn’t take long to realize our mistake. Albergo wasn’t the name of our hotel. It was the Italian word for hotel. Hours we spent going from albergo to albergo hoping to find one that had our reservation.

Dizzy from wandering around the canals, Connie & I stumbled upon a midnight mass & sat in the back row happy for a rest. So I sat there. Watching a foreign expression of worship in a strange place was pretty powerful to me. The droning of the prayers & devotion of these silhouettes  lit by midnight candles were enchanting.

I looked at these worn faces around me. We sat together in this ancient church for the same reason. To find Rest. When it was over our feet shuffled back along the canals continuing our search for lodging.

Luckily, or perhaps by divine providence, we found it a few minutes later. The owner’s son was attending the front desk of the small hotel. I don’t remember his name, but he was possibly the only ugly Italian male we saw during our visit.

He had the hots for my friend & proposed every time we came through the lobby. Oh, the Italians.

To be honest, we spent pretty much the entire 10 days lost in Italy. Each step of the trip had been calculated before we left. I spent $1,000 total on the 10 day trip. Yes, that is INCLUDING airfare. (Just try to beat me on travel deals, I dare you). Despite my best planning efforts, the entire trip was a series of missing trains and loosing ourselves in winding alleys. We were even in the wrong country at one point.

That’s just the way life goes sometimes. We get lost, away from our planning & calculations. Lost in strange towns with people we had no intention of meeting. We end up heading north instead of south & going when we are supposed to stay.

Our 5-year plan for our lives gets stuck in an old journal & God has created a new route for us to take.

It is scary and thrilling at the same time.

Italy taught me to surrender the expectation and embrace the adventure. My plans are nothing compared to His. We should put down our maps more often & get lost.

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August 13, 2013 · 3:07 am

the nature of longing

photoI’m not going to lie to you people. I’m wearing yoga pants right now with an old sorority shirt from college. ( Go Kappa! ) Kids and I are doing crafts this morning, so its pretty much my uniform today.

However, I always envisioned myself getting up and putting on a pencil skirt, a smashing blouse and a pair of killer pumps.

When I was in college I dreamt of law school, prosecuting dictators for their war crimes, helping run political campaigns, planting churches by the hundreds…and lets be honest…we all secretly hope to be discovered for some deep wealth of gifting. Be interviewed by Oprah, have 100,000 followers on twitter, and run the circuit of late night talk shows.

This is what my day looks like today:

Crafts with the kids. Take them to our local family center to register them for soccer. Next we are running up to the church and loading a box I need for an UnBound event coming up. Then it is off to Target for a myriad of things I forgot when I went grocery shopping a few days ago. The second half of the day I will be at home attempting to bring order to this chaos in my house. I’m sure there will be a pirate ship adventure and perhaps a fort to be made in the mix of it all.

It is really easy to feel average on days like today. Who is going to want to know my opinion and ask for advice? My four year old. That’s pretty much it. What will I run today? The vacuum.

Last night I went to bed thinking about how much I really do love being a mother. This is a season I value deeply, and know it will be gone in the blink of an eye.

Being content in the season I am in doesn’t mean I do not still long for the other dreams in my heart.

On days like today there is a temptation to look back at all those dreams I’ve had for so many years. It’s so easy to feel like they are slipping away.

Then I remember.

I will spend all day caring for people. Just like Jesus. I won’t learn law, but I will learn how to be multi-tasking like a master. I won’t use my skills at logic and deductive reasoning inside of a court room…but they will come in handy as I help Tait learn how to put things in size biggest to smallest.

I can end my day knowing that I was loved today and I gave love in return. What could be better than that?

Really, all the dreams in our hearts are put there by God. Because He has dreams for us. I don’t really have ambition to participate in war tribunals ( well, maybe just a little ) or run political campaigns anymore.

But I still beat to see justice established in my generation. I want to scream at the top of my lungs for all those in the world who are trapped in silence. I still want to go to grad school. God knows that. He made me. And He knows that some day I would love to go to work in a power suit.

Life is full of seasons in which we long for more.

People running campaigns longing for the day that they have families. Kids waiting for the day they grow up. Lawyers waiting to get that career-defining case. Women waiting to become mothers. Men fighting cancer & longing to hear the word “remission”. We are all aching inside for something we do not yet have.

It’s the nature of longing.

Every season has it…until we get to heaven.

In the midst of waiting for the promises of God to be fulfilled we have grace to thrive in our season. —> click to tweet.

Resting in the truth that God is faithful. He isn’t constrained by time limits, resumes, or people who feel hidden.

He sees us. He knows us. He calls us. And He never forgets.

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Puccini on Trains & the Italian who wanted to kiss me

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Twenty year old me strolling through Italy

It has been a fun summer of sharing a few of my travel stories with you. To be honest, I didn’t think I had enough to fill the whole summer when I started. After spending some time brainstorming I have discovered a years worth of stories at least.

Sometimes you just don’t know what the world has taught you until you decide to share it. And these next few weeks I’m gonna share with you the lessons I learned from my time in Italy.

So, Ciao baby. To Italia we go.

My initial landing in Italy was pretty rough. It involved fashion week, train strikes and a bathroom full of Russian women. I know, right?

But that isn’t what this story is about.

I was twenty years old. In Italy for 10 days with a friend, a backpack, a wee bit of cash and a train pass. The week up to that point had been a mix of breathtaking and totally exhausting at the same time.

A country-wide train strike started the day we landed. From that point on there had been stress and total confusion. This particular day I was exhausted. I was wishing we had gone to England instead.

Finally our train rolls up to take us from Florence to Rome. I get on with my backpack and bad attitude. I was dirty, tired and hungry. My friend Connie and I were almost alone in the train car and I was hoping for some sleep. It was late afternoon.

A little ways into the trip we made our first stop. The train car emptied of all passengers and I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally I can be by myself away from those annoying people.  And then they got on. All of them.

A whole brigade of Italian soldiers. Young ones. Handsome ones. Leaving basic training camp & headed to Rome where they would receive their orders.  Gents flooded our train car with their crisp uniforms, military packs and brooding good looks.

The seats ran out and the young men start lounging on the piled up luggage in the back of the car & aisles. They were loud and rambunctious. The train starts going and the soldiers still hadn’t quite noticed the two American girls hiding in the seats.

Oh, but then they see us. Swarming they gathered around and spoke to us in a language we couldn’t understand, but it sure sounded nice. A few of them spoke broken English & were eventually brought into the middle of the huddle to translate.

Connie and I were able to communicate the basics of where we were from & what we studied.

What is my name? Elizabeth

Where am I from? Texas.

What do I study at university? politics

How old am I? Twenty

Can you kiss me? No, probably not. ( he was very handsome so 3 cheers for my self-control)

I wish that American boys could learn from the Italians how to talk to women. Not so much the kissing part, but the other stuff. Making girls feel beautiful and celebrated without it being slimy or degrading. It really is quite an art they have.

Once the conversation died down & they realized that there would be no kissing, these gents started making their way back to their seats.

We were riding through Tuscany at sunset. Vineyards passing by with their charming simplicity. It is about this time that I look to my right. The soldier reclining in the isle on his pack pulls out a bottle of wine. And starts singing. Puccini.

Yes, Puccini. It was beautiful. By the second verse all the soldiers were singing. Passing around the wine and singing to the sunset, to life and all things beautiful.

It was magic.

I sat there mesmerized by what was going on around me. These men were celebrating life for the simple fact that they were alive. No movie cameras were rolling. YouTube hadn’t been invented yet, so they weren’t trying to go viral. It was just them & life.

I had been grumpy and annoyed going into this train ride.

I didn’t see romantic vineyards out my window at first. Just dusty fields that wouldn’t wash off my limited wardrobe I had with me.

I viewed the people around me as pesky distractions to what  I would rather be doing with my time.

By about round two of some old Italian song ( that they miraculously all knew) I was convicted by their passion for life. These men were singing, smiling and enjoying the merriment of the day.

A day that wasn’t valuable for its perfection but rather its simple existance.

Italy taught me something on that sunset train. Life really is beautiful. It isn’t perfect or planned. But there are moments of pure magic. And when they happen, we should be aware enough to own them.

It is like the Italians say,

La Vita E Bella.

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