Fall Resolves

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

November 8, 2014

You guys, fall is in the air. It's even starting to show itself in the leaves. As much as I love fall, I am never eager to see summer go. As always, fall starts showing up and slowly but surely, I come around to welcome the changes even though I know they mean that winter really is just right around the corner (the PNW is a funny place when it comes to seasons).

September 1st happens to be one of my favorite days of the year. It's sort of like a second new year for me. Fall whips people back into shape after summertime living. Since my birthday is just eleven days away, that adds to the whole "time is ticking" aspect in my own life.

A few weeks ago I drafted some resolves for this fall. So far, I've got four going:

Listen - to God and to people. Be slow to speak and always listening.

Journal - more and this "new" way. Let it out. That space is private.

Continue with Galatians - it's been a while, pick it back up and keep at it. Stick with it.

Think - read your Bible and look at the world. As you do, stop to think and pray. When understanding comes, thank God because it's from Him. Don't settle for just floating along in a fog.

Fall is a time to quiet my soul and to discipline my mind. With inspiration from the Bible, L'Engle, Piper, and my own personal goals for myself, I'm ready for a fall full of God's grace!

What are your resolves for this fall? 

Is there a time of year that feels like a second new year for you? 

Collaboreads: A Circle of Quiet

Monday, August 31, 2015

Amber and Rachel have been hosting a book lovers link up on the last Monday of the month for months now. When I found out that the theme this time around was going to be "a book set in summer",  I knew I was going to take part! After all, I'm always up for a chat about books.

The book I chose is Madeleine L'Engle's "A Circle of Quiet".  For those of you who don't know, this book is the first in a series called The Crosswicks Journals. If I understand correctly, these books are made up of pieces L'Engle took from her journals and then expounded upon. That being said, this a book that is nonfiction and reads a lot like a memoir style blog. The entries are short and connected and yet each of them could also stand alone.

Below is my Collaboreads style review. You can learn more about that here
I loved reading about what L'Engle calls her "Crosswicks family". Crosswicks refers to the farmhouse she and her husband had in Goshen, Connecticut.  They did live there for 9 or 10 years of their marriage, but most of their time was spent in apartments in New York City and using Crosswicks as a summer home. During those summers, the house would be filled with all kinds of friends and family. Summertime living never grows old.

She couldn't write about Crosswicks without writing about writing. There's just something about reading about another writer's routine that is inspiring.

I've read a handful of L'Engle's books and as I read this one, I realized how much of her writing truly does come from what she knows. I could relate to everything she wrote about small town living. Whether you've lived in a small town or wondered what it would be like to do so, L'Engle describes them and the people that come from them so very well. 

A section was devoted to the time she spent at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City and how she came to be the librarian there. Somehow I never knew she was a librarian, so I was thrilled to learn more about that! 

One of my favorite books to dip into every now and then is The Essays of EB White. This book feels very similar to that one except that L'Engle's entries are much more connected to one another than White's. Life in New England, especially back in the mid 1900's translates into essays so very well. 

Reading these books will make you stop and think and maybe write some pieces of your own! 

The cover of this book is what first drew me. As it turns out, L'Engle describes the place that she would head to when she needed to be surrounded by quiet. I'm not sure if the cover is a sketch of that exact place, but the peacefulness it depicts lines right up with what L'Engle's not so secret place provided for her. 

I gave this book 4 stars. 

When I snatched it off of the little cart outside of my favorite used book store earlier this spring, I had no idea what kind of impact it would have on me. This book about L'Engle's life and writing completely exceeded my expectations. Whether you've read any of her other books or not, this is one I definitely recommend! 

Did you read a book set in summer this month?

Let's Chat

Friday, August 28, 2015

July 23, 2015

I've gone back and forth about whether to share this and how much of this to share...It's going to (and actually already has) have a pretty major impact on my blogging, so I guess the time to spill the beans is now. Earlier this year, we started looking for a house. The plan was to move to a different city.

After going through about one million different properties, we decided not to sell our current house and to buy a second smaller house. A few weeks ago, we closed on that second house. We've dubbed it "The Queen's Cottage" and for the last few days we've been staying in it sans furniture because my brother and sister jumped right into a local theater.

I'm currently sitting on the floor in one of the back bedrooms leaning over the computer typing this out. I'm not even joking! We have one chair that we borrowed (from the theater so that my brother could practice one of his routines) and two kitchen chairs that we picked up at a yard sale for $10 earlier this morning. We did get some things for the kitchen and I whipped up our first actual dinner last night (a BBQ inspired pork sloppy joe dish with fresh green beans from the garden at home and some left over rice).

The idea behind this venture is pretty basic: Bigger city. More opportunities.

We'll be going back and forth and settling into a completely new routine. In the meantime, you can find me scrubbing cabinets, vacuuming vents, and enjoying walks through this new neighborhood!

If it's quiet around here or you don't hear back from me on an email or think that I've stopped reading YOUR blog...Know that I've got my own batch of first world problems and I'll be back! I just need a little time to get myself sorted out.

UPDATE: As of 3pm, we are now the proud owners of the cutest little plaid sleeper sofa that used to belong to someone's grandparents AND a couch from the neighbor who happens to be moving out of the house across the street. I guess the furniture situation is just sorting itself right out!

What's happening in your corner of the world today? 

Any tips on getting to know a new city?

Heart Check

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 18, 2015
"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4

I've seen these verses three or four times over the last few weeks. Everywhere I turned, they just kept popping up. Sometimes, when you see a couple of verses on a little plaque or quoted on someone's status, you read them slowly and you notice something you've never noticed before. That's exactly what happened to me when I saw it on a printable a the Wednesday before last.

I stopped my scrolling and read it. I let it sink in. "Do NOTHING from rivalry or conceit." NOTHING. Words like that can't be confused for any other word or meaning. When we read words like that, we really must listen.

Rivalry (and conceit) is one of our biggest motivators. If you don't believe me, pay attention next time there is a small child around. Listen to their taunting voice when they're really proud about something, "I can do thiiiiisssss annnnnnddddd yyyyyooouuuuuuu cannnnnnn't." "Myyyyyyyy shooooooooesssssss liiiiiiiiighhhhhht up annnnnnd yyyyyyooooooouurrrrrrsss dooooonnnnnnn't."

We love one-uping and outdoing the people around us. We love getting praise and admiration and applause. When we read verses like these, they serve as great reminders of the wickedness that dwells in our hearts. God put these words in His Bible because the fact is, that on their own, His people LOVE doing EVERYTHING out of rivalry and conceit.

The surrounding verses make it pretty clear: we're to replace our doing out of rivalry and conceit with imitating Christ and acting out of humility with the same mind for the glory of the Father that He had. The encouragement we have in Christ, comfort we have in love, participation we have in the Spirit, and affections and sympathy that are ours in Him are to be the grace that keep our hearts turned toward His example (verse 1).

I'll tell you, I have always been a lover of rules. I don't care how silly the rule is, I'm 99.9% likely to keep it and to try to help others do the same. I'm this way because a) I don't want to get in trouble and b) I want to make people happy. I'm a rule keeper out of conceit. This verse (like so many others) flips my soul upside down and makes yet another aspect of my life centered on God.

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." Philippians 2: 12-13

When I do my rule keeping, I must consciously tell myself that it's about serving those around me and living in a way that will not tarnish the name of God. When my motives are pure (aka not wrapped up in ME), then even my rule keeping turns into a way for me to work out my salvation.

What is something that you do out of rivalry or conceit?

What verses have been following you around lately?

What I Learned In July 2015

Monday, August 17, 2015

July 6, 2015

* How to process leeks (and make Leek Soup). Jerry and Kay gave me a bunch of leeks from their garden and sent along a recipe to go with them. After a little help from the internet, I learned all about which part of the leek you use (the light green part of the stalk and also the bulb) and how to clean them (rinsing well, cutting in half, and soaking water for a bit).

* Blogger comments can only be 4,096 words long. Since Jessica took the time to answer all of these questions, I took the time to comment on every one of them! Needless to say, I ended up e-mailing her instead! 

* Geocaching makes for some great stories. I don't make this stuff up.

* The Korean War started in 1950. I've heard about this war. I've met people that served in it (one even took a wife who now goes by "Maria from Korea"). Somehow, it's always been pretty hazy in my mind. Now I know when it began (and was SHOCKED that it followed so closely after WWII), but I still have no idea what it was about.

* Summer vacation is worth waiting for. My brother and sister were in school for most of July this year. Our summer may have been cut a little short, but we made the most of it!!! (They started back up with Algebra last Thursday.) My sister and I got through a large chunk of "The Help" (and raced through other books on our own - she won), my brother and I went for bike rides, we made ice cream, we stayed up late watching movies, they got in a fair amount of boating with our Dad, and they had plenty of pool days with their friends. The slowness and spontaneity will continue until their full course load begins and that's what summer vacation is alllll about.

What did you learn in July?