Birthday Month!

I have been dreading my birthday. Literally dreading it.  I kept trying to figure out ways to skip it, pretend it isn’t there, erase it.  I plotted ways I could do this by removing it from facebook so that less people would know…tried to think about how to remove it from the Church directory but….uh that one is trickier since people have those printed copies so maybe I’d go around and cut it out? HA! But, no…all my plotting left me accepting that someone would be bound to remember and that denial doesn’t really work all that well.

In response, I concocted a plan.  Do the opposite.  If I’m dreading my birthday, figure out a way to embrace it.  Find a positive reaction to all the triggers that make you want to cry and hide from your birthday.  Thus, the creation of my Birthday Month list.  A list of ideas for fun, to create moments, to do those things I’ve been meaning to get around to but just haven’t.  A list full of things that I find happy, beautiful, lovely, and fun.  Everyday things to out of the ordinary.  Things like buying a book I really want to making a snow globe to sending a package to buying someone’s meal to taking pictures at sunset.  I’m still working on the list–up to number 42 so far!  I’m definitely open to suggestions and ideas!  I want to “check off” at least one thing per day.  (I’m an achiever…this makes us happy to check things off!)

So, December, watch out.  You’ve been declared Birthday Month.

what would you put on your list? also, i’d love to hear any ideas for my list that you have in the comments below! or maybe you want to be included and help me check off one of the items…i’d love the company! only requirements are that the items suggested are happy.  i need some more happy in my life. 

Shopping Lovelies

Black Friday’s come and gone.  Thanksgiving snuck past us and now we’re looking ahead to Christmas!  I don’t know about you, but I agonize over gifts.  I debate in my head over and over.  I  ponder what gift would be perfect and what they would like best.  I try to pick up hints in little conversations about favorite candy or movie or store.  A gift can show so much.  A gift can say: I know you. I see you. I love you.  –Powerful, powerful words that place so much value on someone.  Often, I wish I had an unlimited supply of gifts to give to people all the time.  Though, that’s when I have to remind myself that not everybody’s top love language is gifts and that thankfully there are other fun ones like words and time!  And, now, that you know my love for gifts and the love languages…we’ll get onto the fun part of this post.  I kept seeing all sorts of fun fair trade and gift idea posts so I figured I’d add a few of my favorites that I’ve gathered as well as my faves from those.  Maybe you need an idea or just like looking.  (in no particular order)

1. I LOVE the idea behind this Free2Work app.  I downloaded it and definitely feel like it’s going to become like Fooducate has for me…hello bar code scanning everything!

2. Adoption and adorable t-shirts…can we say yes please!? (Wild Olive)

3. Tukula (we grow). I love the name and the mission and the products.

4. Noonday Collection has some super fun accessories too.

5. 31 Bits is awesome and they even have a wedding line.

6. Gadanke has super fun journals and memory books.

7. Looking for fun shoes? Check out Sseko.

8. Unfortunately, you can only boycott winter so long before you give in and need a hat… (KrochetKids)

9. Buy freedom…not slavery (Not For Sale)

10. All sorts of fun jewelry here at The Leakay Collection.

11. You can find a ton of variety in gifts here at Yobel.

12. And here’s the Fair Trade website to help you out.

13. Looking for a super cute watch for an awesome cause? Then check out Hello-Somebody

14. This place makes me happy and I love their heart and vision. Mercy House Kenya

15. Don’t forget about Compassion and World Vision.  They’re great.

16. Not to mention all the amazing ministries and missionaries you can give to during this season…because while gifts are lovely…giving to empower people is even more beautiful (which is why most of the ones above are doing just that!).

So, there are a few!  I’m sure I missed lots of amazing ones so….

What would you add to the list? 

5 Minute Friday: Grateful

This whole only posting on Fridays seems to be a trend in November…so here we go again:

Grateful=Feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful.

Thankful=Pleased and relieved. Expressing gratitude and relief.

Yesterday, I cried silent tears as I heard their voices.  They said my name the way that South Africans do.  They asked me again and again and again and again “When are you coming back?”  They told me about how they loved the package I sent and that Dan, the father, said he would love some clothes next time if I have brothers.  They told me about how Itumelang passed her classes and wants to come back to America with me next time and is looking for a job.  When I asked her what kind of job, she said “A job. Any job.”  I sat there thinking oh my any job…Lord, forgive me for my ungrateful heart.  Teach me to be grateful.  I didn’t get to talk to him…I didn’t get to talk to the little boy that I am ever so grateful for and the one who started this love affair with this family.  He was sleeping.  Yet, as my heart melted into a puddle, I couldn’t help but end the conversation thinking about how much I love them and yet that’s not anywhere close to how much God loves us.  I don’t get it. I don’t grasp it. All too often I dismiss the love and think “No…it must not be for me…it’s for them…for them I can believe all day about how much God loves them.”  But, He does. No matter what I do.  Even today, as God and I spend our time wrestling in ways that evoke joy mixed with tears, He loves me.  He meets me here in each moment reaching out His hand as I fumble across the water like Peter.  Mostly, I stand in awe and gratefulness that He delights in me.

have i said i love him? because i do.

Lindo and his mom

Dan, Lindo, and I

p.s. for your viewing pleasure…here’s my adorable little man dancing:

Lindo Dancing

and here’s my board of thanks…

grow

here we are again. another week slipping by and the days passing much faster than i’d like. i’m writing. but not in this space and it’s oddly freeing. so in the meantime, i’ll be here every once in a while. we’ll see =) and today since it’s friday and friday’s are oh so lovely here’s a little bit of writing done in 5 minutes on…..

.grow.

take me there to the place where the dirt crunches between my toes. you’ll find me there with my bare feet  soaking up every inch of sun trying to capture the moment before the clouds shift. i’m digging. you might think that i’ve been digging long enough to make my way to africa and back, but truth is…i don’t know how long this season of digging will take.  the ground needs to be turned and uprooted. the weeds need to be plucked. over and over. they try to strangle my battle weary heart, but i keep reaching for the clippers. every once in a while a friend will come along to speak a word of love or shower me with a gift. maybe a hat to keep my eyes from squinting or a pair of gloves to protect me from the thorns.  then they wander back to their own patch of dirt to continue the work.  this hard business of helping things grow.  the birds swoop down stealing away seeds. the rains drown out the land. the sun scorches the earth. all odds scream against the growth, but somewhere in there something is working. even if the seed takes years upon years to even sprout, the hard work of growing continues. while nothing appears to be happening on the outside, just wait, you’ll see. trust the process.

unexpected

I’ve been on this weird little non-blogging type thing and so this is the first time I’ve opened this screen since last week but I figure well let’s see what happens when we’ve got 5 minutes unedited writing. so maybe…I decided to extend the timer and give it a take 2 because my first felt not right….so sometimes unexpected things happen and you delete the first and try again! here’s my second time on it =)

Unexpected

Unexpected gifts and notes are my favorite.  Unexpected anything good really is quite lovely.  I say this from the stance that I’m rarely surprised.  I find looking back that few things are unexpected for me.  I’m the girl who pretty much knows the present before I open it.  The one who figures out the surprise or the plan beforehand.  Though, for some things, I’ve most certainly ignored, denied, and even plain fought against the discernment welling up inside me.  Sometimes I fight too hard against the way I know things will go just in case there’s a chance for an unexpected moment.  From the hard question that I already knew the answer to and yet had no logical or rational reason to ask to the phone call in the middle of the night wrenching more dreams out of my hands, they each wrecked my heart even still, but they weren’t unexpected.  This expectedness–I’m trying to embrace it rather than run from it.  I’m trying desperately to learn to trust the Shepherd’s voice I hear even if it’s letting me know something I may not like.  I may not like that to get to Boaz you’ve got to leave everything familiar and do the hard work in the field for months.  I may not like being told to go through the desert the long way. Sometimes I need to let go of the unexpected to embrace the truth of the expected.  And well nothing’s unexpected for God.  He doesn’t blink.

Women of Faith

You know something is good when you’re still processing a few weeks later.  So, finally. Here are my take-aways slash bullet points that hit my heart from Women of Faith: Imagine.

Henry Cloud

  • I could listen to Henry Cloud all day. Such good insight.
  • God made us able to imagine things that don’t exist YET.
  • We’re designed and created for happiness. Are you even on a road that leads to happiness?
  • Only 10% of happiness comes from a change in circumstances.
  • Happy people are givers—BUT there are some of you who have been giving and giving and you’re held captive by controlling people and you’re being stolen from these people who aren’t facing their issues.
  • Monkeys may be few and far between but they’re so valuable.
  • Absolutely you can have hope for the future.
  • To get to the promised land there is a death that has to happen before the resurrection. We have to be willing to die to some things to get to the next season.
Sheila Walsh
  • love her. so thankful I got to hear her speak again
  • We have to learn to hold these two in our hands at once: God is absolutely sovereign and God is all loving.
  • God fiercely loves each one of us.
  • God has seen your movie and loves you anyway.
  • Jesus wants to give us a bigger miracle than what we’re asking for now.
  • Have you ever told Him your whole story?
  • The depth to which you’re willing to be honest is the depth that you trust
  • We were never meant to weep alone. Tears in a bottle don’t evaporate and tears show up on our faces for a reason…to be seen.
  • Aslan is a beautiful portrayal of how we can beat our fists into Him until we collapse and bury our faces in His mane.
  • The Shepherd knows where to find you.
  • It’s okay not being okay. Sometimes we rush to being okay.
Lisa Harper
  • My husband is lost and won’t stop to ask for directions.–on being single =)
  • My heart was a colander.
  • No matter what your head tells you, your heart keeps hoping…
Nicole Johnson
  • Coffee is broken into pieces and the richness is released when it’s broken…
  • Hope that in the crushing we see the value in what God is doing.
  • I was loved until I believed differently.
  • God takes even the pieces we try to throw away to make something beautiful.
Angie Smith
  • Keep walking on the water out toward Him.
  • We’ll never understand…He gives, He takes away…
  • To call Him Kyrios–the Divine Son of God, the one to whom I belong
Luci Swindoll
  • Live every moment fully
  • All things to enjoy…not to achieve, accumulate or do.
  • It’s very important to learn how to live and enjoy
Lyrics
  • The enemy has to leave at the sound of Your great name.
  • He’s not mad at you, He’s not disappointed.
  • Never gonna wave my flag.
  • i will sing of your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.
  • give me eyes to see more of who You are. may what i behold still my anxious heart..spend my life to know & i’m far from close to all You are
  • give me grace to see beyond this moment here. to believe that there’s nothing left to fear.
Tweets
  • There is something so beautiful about watching a team/staff interact and love on each other.
  • Hang on because love wins.
  • Natalie grants song held makes me teary eyed every.single.time
  • Some people just exude Christ and its so beautiful….love when you can see something so compelling in them that it spurs you to want more
  • Quitting is not an option.
Thoughts
  • food in the cities is delicious.
  • i love just being…
  • i came home with this little cutie
  • diversity is everywhere. clothing styles. body shapes. personality. communication styles. everything.
  • totally thankful for free tickets on the floor because they were amazing!! mostly because i love the behind-the-scenes watching. i love watching a team interact. the worship team. the speakers. seeing them love on each other and encourage each other and be silly and really just do life together…there’s something so powerful when you see a team on the front lines of leadership live it out and handle the place where god has placed them.
  • in the midst of people watching…i saw someone so captivating that my head started turning and all i could think was there’s something so beautiful there. something so unassuming, not flashy, not perfect, but confident and loved. doing what she was supposed to be doing. you could just tell she believed and rested in His love and really saw people even in her place.

 

remember.

5 minutes. no editing. just write.

remember.

my head twists in words and phrases. sometimes it gets stuck on the merry-go-round of playing the same words over and over trying to come up with different responses to the same situation. the words stick. the words others say to me roll around in my head for days, weeks, months later. and yet the part that especially makes my eyes well up about remembering is that sometimes i just know that what you look like will fade. i won’t be able to just throw up an image of you in my head and see you. so when you go walking out that door, i find that days later when i realize that it was the last moment…i can’t remember. i can’t remember what your face looked like when you said good-bye. so i snap pictures trying desperately to capture the moments to help me remember. because i’ll remember the words, i’ll remember the way i felt, but sometimes remembering what things looked like is too much and fragmented.  so then i’ll sit and try so hard to get my brain to form a picture of you even though i know you’ll look different now that time has passed. i think that’s the hardest part of all the good-bye’s. especially when i don’t see the final good-bye coming and there’s been so many of those that i clench my heart waiting for the day to happen.

stop.