Monday, September 19, 2016

A Monday List

1. So far, season six of Star Trek: Voyager is the best one, despite the fact that Janeway has a few moments where I really want to punch her in the face. Overall, I'm digging it.

2. Current library book: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. Middle grade (i.e. roughly 3-6 grade) fairy tale that is already funny and fun.

3. Girl's weekend coming up! It'll be nice to relax and refresh and have some fun with friends.

4. Sandra McCracken has a new album out. God's Highway.  She's one of my favorite artists, one of the few that fit every mood. Melancholy, happy, relaxed, tense...if I can't figure out what to listen to, she's a sure bet.

5. New picture book author discovery: Jez Alborough. Hug is a favorite around our house, and I found another at the library: Tall. Hang out in the jungle with Bobo the baby monkey and some of his buddies. Very few words (one each, in fact) but  wonderful stories.

Happy Monday, y'all!

Friday, September 16, 2016


You might think by that title I'm going to say something about the changing of summer into fall. Well...not really. Partially because in South Texas it's still basically summer until well after September 22. And partially because of a really great podcast I listened to recently.

I've mentioned before that I'm basically addicted to The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. This podcast is just like sitting down with a friend as she talks with someone who is doing really interesting things and listening to their story. It's inspiring and entertaining, and I love it. A lot of Jamie Ivey's guests -- and Jamie herself -- talk about walking through different seasons of life. It's not a new concept, but it's good to remind myself of. It's so easy to compare ourselves to others, but how freeing to remember that my season at the moment is different from yours. Of course, if I can stop comparing myself to someone else's life, I often get caught in the trap of comparing myself to myself. "Now" self versus "five years ago" self versus "vision" self. But five years ago was a completely different season of life. And the brilliant thing is...seasons change (unless you live in least, they just change a little differently). So maybe you love the season you're in right now -- embrace it! love it! savor it! Because it will change. Maybe there are things you don't love about the season you're in right now. Take comfort knowing that in time, it will change.

One of the Happy Hour guests in an older episode I recently listened to made a comment about seasons of life that really stuck with me. She was talking about becoming a new mom, and Jamie was asking her what encouragement she could give to new moms who felt like they were struggling to figure out what that meant in regard to their sense of self and identity. The guest, Jo Saxton, said that after she had her two girls, her best way of making the transition into that new stage of life was to make a very specific delineation. She said that she "set her stones in the sand" like the Israelites, building memorials to remember what God had done. She acknowledged very specifically that she was entering a new season, but she set her memorial to be grateful for the season she had been in. For everything she'd done and experienced there. And for her, this conscious movement and remembrance and gratitude gave her more freedom to look forward and embrace a new stage of life.

I recently finished reading the Old Testament books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy) and have begun reading the Psalms, and I think that's why Jo Saxton's comment really resonated with me. Time and time again, you see the Israelites remembering, memorializing, and being very deliberate about acknowledging what God has done and what he will do. It's not a looking backwards in regret for things you didn't do or opportunities you didn't take (if only I knew then what I know now! blah, blah), and it's not looking backwards in longing and dissatisfaction. It's looking back so we can learn, grow, and better look ahead. Looking back at good times that give us confidence in our present or our future. It's looking back at bad times that give us hope that dark seasons do come to an end.

Make no mistake: these are things I struggle with pretty regularly. I get caught up in my own head a lot, and my head could sometimes use a little touch of Vulcan logic (why yes, I AM binge watching Star Trek on Netflix). So learning to keep my perspective in all seasons and being grateful in the process is just that: a process, a goal. And it's a good time to remind myself that even in Houston, fall comes eventually.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Wednesday list

I know, I know...two Wednesdays in a row. Don't get used to it. Nothing consistent going on around here. 

1. I hope the merchandisers at Target are getting compensated very well, because they certainly do their job well. I haven't been to Target it a while, and I forgot how much willpower it takes to walk through that store and not buy ALL THE THINGS. Seriously, the home organization department alone (freshly stocked I'm sure for back to college/school/fall) was calling my name. I just kept inner-chanting: almost debt-free, almost debt-free.

2. I need some more coffee. 

3. I'm reading Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling). It's the third in the Cormoran Strike detective series. If you're a fan of detective novels, I'm a fan of these. They can be a little grim and gritty -- not graphic, necessarily, but this third one is a touch gruesome. I may have to quit reading it right before bed. But Rowling is so talented. I heard through a friend of mine that they're making a BBC series out of them, and I'm pretty excited.

4. I know better than to long for cooler weather in Houston in September, but I'd settle for anything below 85 at this point -- temperature or humidity. I think we might get a brief reprieve at the end of next week. Please, God.

5. The down side to doing any kind of clothes shopping with kids is that I hate dragging them into the dressing room (especially if they're in a cart, like at Target). So inevitably, I guess on my size, guess wrong, and end up having to go back to the store to return or exchange it. Which is also super annoying! Today, it was a running tank top. Ugh. When will I learn. It's one reason I've started taking the advice of a blogger I follow: find a couple of web sites with free returns. Buy two sizes, then return the one that doesn't fit! Or, I'm addicted to ThredUp (online consignment store. Hello! Saving money, saving the environment, and cute clothes!). Free returns if you apply it to store credit. Like in-person consignment stores it sometimes takes a tad longer to find what you want, but I can search while in my jammies watching Netflix. 

6. I went to Half Price Books the other day to shop for baby gifts. Of course I walked out with two books for myself! Looking forward to some paper and ink once I'm done with my library ebook. A Corner of White, by Jaclyn Moriarty and Fan Girl, by Rainbow Rowell.