Showing posts from 2012

The Attitude of Gratitude

I've heard this phrase, "the attitude of gratitude" for years now. It's a pretty simple concept, but can be a tough one to master -- as it is with most "simple truths."

As November draws to a close, I once again realize that I have much to be grateful for in my life. Surprisingly, I did not partake in the "30 Days of Thankfulness Fest" on Facebook. I'm not sure why. I'm definitely all about being thankful and letting people know what I'm thankful for, but I think some part of me didn't want the pressure of having to think of something and then post it. Maybe I just wanted it to be a bit more organic and natural. Or...I could have just been commitment-phobic. That is probably a little true too.

Nonetheless, without posting daily, I have been keeping track of my many blessings. And the more blessings I count up, the more blessings I seem to see in my life. I think this is a universal truth about being grateful:

The more grateful you …

It is what it is...until it's not.

In my 38 years on this planet, I have been alive and kicking  long enough to see the cycle of collective cultural catch phrases. Remember, "rad," "cool," "sweet," "gag me with a spoon," "tubular," "where's the beef," "wicked," and the still ever present peppering of "like" through every sentence?

There are some phrases that are banned from adult use. A few months ago, a similar-aged friend and I were trying out her teenage daughters' newest saying, "like a boss," only to be given eye rolls of epic proportions and being chastised for saying it wrong and for even trying to say it in the first place. Young people only. Meaning...we're old. Yeah, we get it.

However, there is one catch phrase that I seem to hear everywhere now -- from young to old -- and it's driving me nuts. I even hate to type it here. goes.

"It is what it is."

Ahhhh! (Hands flapping and grimace…

Of Water and Wind

Okay...this is a first. I've never written two blog posts in one day before. But, something about today and the timeline of this past weekend created the perfect storm of revelation in my heart.

After months of this occurring in my life, I've stopped thinking it's a coincidence when I "happen to" read something that is in line without something else I've heard, read or been thinking about. Some people hear God's voice in their head/heart as loudly as an audible voice. I seem to hear him in the confluence of media and meditation.

After I wrote and posted my blog post earlier, this is what I read in my friend, Dawn's book, Driving Through Walls.

"As we stood around the well, he explained it had been closed for some time because of concern of kids falling in. I couldn't help but notice the closed well was surrounded by cacti -- plants that don't need water. I couldn't help but think the church there also closed  up "The Well", …

Taste and See...

I am blessed to live in the California Central Valley for many reasons, but one of the best (especially in the Spring/Summer time) is the quantity, quality and proximity of a bevy of seasonal fruit. I literally live in one of the great fruit baskets of the world. We grow and harvest everything from citrus, avocado, berries, apples, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, get the idea.

In May, we all eagerly watch the roadside stands that populate the country roads and other main drags in town and swoop in and buy huge boxes of red, juicy strawberries and other berries (boysenberry, blueberry, blackberry, olalliberry, etc.) Later in the month, the cherries are ready...sweet, and just the right amount of tartness to tempt the taste buds.

In June, we stalk local fruit stands and u-picks for succulent peaches and fresh ears of corn. Add fruit and seasons...repeat!

But, as with anything, having plenty of something can often lead to a certain commonness that easily tu…

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

Once again God has blown through our house and left an almost tangible sweet aroma of His presence.

It happens like it most often does -- the glorious embedded in the mundane.

It was just another night. The day was long and this mom of four was dragging -- despite the forty-five minute cat nap my husband had gifted to me while he made dinner. Sure...the morning spent at Bible Study was permeated with God's presence and a fresh revelation of His love for us. It was a bittersweet time of repenting for behavior and attitudes that are not Godly, but also experiencing the overwhelming and surpassing Love only a heavenly Father could lavish upon his humanity-scarred daughter.

But the aftermath was spent with quotidian activities: a grocery run, van refueling, playground escapade, bickering siblings and struggle during a pushed back home school session left me feeling like I lost the battle today.

And even though I am valiantly attempting not to give into to fear and worry over a daught…

Garments of Grace

I have been soaking in several similar-themed books and Bible studies of late. But the most predominate of the bunch is Ann Voskamp's, 1000 Gifts
I started reading this book right after Christmas, and I'm even a member of a book club where we meet and discuss the ways that this beautifully-expressed, lyrical book have impacted our hearts and changed our way of thinking.
If you have not yet read the book, you are missing out on a mind and spirit revolution. Voskamp encourages her readers to really make the attempt to "be grateful in every situation, but mostly in the everyday things that we so often run ramshod over in our attempts to get to the "good bits" of the day. No easy feat -- but it's one that brings joy into the journey of this life.
It's a revolution that is honing my thinking and reshaping how I view circumstances and events in my own quotidian life.
But beyond this central theme of gratitude, I have gleaned so much more from the book. As I …

Unshelving Hope

Over the past week or so, I have been watching the Kony 2012 Saga unfold.

At the onset of everything, when the Invisible Children organization posted up the Kony 2012 video on YouTube, I was intrigued.

I heard the filmmakers talk about the atrocities in Central Africa and how it came to be that they would choose to make such a brilliant piece of propaganda -- a last ditch hope to do bring about change and hope and something that all their previous work was not able to accomplish.

I caught their vision of making Kony a household name to be reviled -- and hopefully that awareness that would bring about the change they so desperately wanted for the people of those afflicted African countries.

The radical idea "that where you live shouldn't determine whether you live."

I raised my fist in solidarity. After all, I too have been affected by the stories of loved ones (namely my father) who have traveled to that part of the world and have witnessed the devastation first-hand. T…

Using My Bucket

My heart was ripped out, crushed, and cut by a thousand blades on Thursday night.

What started out as a little screen time after putting the kids to bed became a cry fest of epic proportions -- leaving me hollowed out and stuffed up in my sinuses from all the tears and emotions.

I watched the program, "20/20".

I have our DVR set to record this weekly show, and I had watched about 1/3 of the program a few days earlier -- which was entitled, My Extreme Affliction, focusing on physical issues that have extreme consequences who have them.

However, it was the remaining 1/3 of the program that I sat down and watched on Thursday night that gripped my heart so tightly. The episode travels to Tanzania, Africa (a country near and dear to my heart) to one of the largest populations of Albinos in the entire world. Not only do these people have to deal with the very real issues of their genetics, but they are literally in danger of their very life and limbs.

You can watch the episode he…

Reclaiming My Life

I have felt the pull of my blog calling to me over the last couple of weeks, but I have clapped busy hands over my ears as I have attempted to tread enough water to stay afloat in the sea of homeschooling -- a body of water that I recently dove into.

Being a bit of a perfectionist, I had hoped for a perfectly-timed and executed and swan dive, but instead I sorta cannon-balled my way into these waters.

People have been asking me how "the home school thing" is going. Honestly, I am still trying to figure that out.

It both amazes and bewilders me that we have been at "this thing" for almost 4 weeks now. I'm honestly not sure where the time has gone.

As you may have read in earlier posts on the topic, our home schooling decision was expedited by several months leaving me without the "prep time" that I had carefully planned where I would read all the appropriate books and carefully plan out my children's educational journey -- all to be undertaken in …

What in the...

You know you've said it.  One day, you're moving through life as your normally do, when all of a sudden something come flying out of nowhere  -- could be an unforeseen occurrence, unexpected idea, or an actual object -- and your immediate reaction is,

"What in the world???"

This frequently happens to me. And I know that I have been known to cause others to exclaim this question...and recently.

Our seemingly "out of the blue" transition to home school has left many of our family and friends scratching their heads and saying, "what just happened?"

We've maybe not done the best job of laying the groundwork to guide everyone through our thought process over the last few months (and some of you are maybe raising an eyebrow and saying, "months?? How come we haven't heard a thing about this then if it's been months??") and making the journey of how we got here more public or understood.

The answer is, that it happened a lot quicker…

The More Things Change...

"The more things change, the more they stay the same."

This phrase has been running through and jumping over hurdles in my brain the last few weeks (and maybe months) as I've perceived a shift in our culture -- and particularly my own life and choices -- to re-learn and resurrect so many of the "old ways and traditions" of doing things...from cooking, "home-making," crafting, minding our finances, etc. (I blogged about this topic too -- if you are interested.)

I honestly do think that much of it can be attributed to the economic downturn and people needing to make some serious lifestyle changes. However, I really do think that there is a hunger for our history and collective past -- a nostalgia of sorts for another time where people were content with less and seemed to live fuller.

Sidenote: In case you've ever wondered, that quote is attributed to Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, a french writer of note.

Anyhow, back to my thought process of late...