Sunday, January 1, 2017
Happy New Year, friends. 2017 has arrived, and with it a fresh, crisp new year with which we can work to experience in beautiful ways.
This year, instead of setting a typical resolution, I have decided to choose a word to strive to embody during these next 12 months (and hopefully beyond that). As I prayed and reflected on what I wanted that word to be, my heart kept returning me to the idea of being intentional.
That's not to say that I currently spend my days being unintentional and lackadaisical, but there are definitely moments in probably every aspect of my life where I have simply gone through the motions, or carelessly did the bare-minimum to complete I was doing just to so it would be done. It's not everyday and it's not all at once, but every time it happens I've missed an opportunity to learn and grow as a person.
With intentionality comes reflectiveness and authenticity. It requires awareness and discernment. Actively choosing to be intentional won't be easy, and I will undoubtedly mess up, but I believe that even simply recognizing times where I could strive to be more intentional will allow me to flourish.
I pray that intentional time, relationships and prayer will lead to deeper listening, understanding, and growth.
And so, here's to 2017! May this year be filled with goodness and bring us all closer to God.
Have you set any goals for this new year? Any tips on how to live more intentionally?
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Something is going wrong with my blog layout and I can't quite figure it out, so please bear with me as I continue fiddling with it. (If anyone out there is display/HTML savvy, I would love some advice!)
Hey y'all! You may have noticed some extreme silence in this little corner of the internet lately. I've been settling into life in Connecticut and everything that goes along with it and decided that I should try to get a comfortable hold on the new job, new home, new life, etc. and all of my energies have been geared toward that. I'm not going to pretend like I have this brilliant new life balance where all is mastered and I can easily add on more tasks, but I have been feeling a desire to write again and so here I am back on the blog - for today at least.
No guarantees for how long. I'm simply going to listen to how I am feeling and post based on that.
As 2016 comes to a close I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite photos from the year. I did a similar post last year and absolutely loved going through my pictures and strolling down memory lane. Not going to lie, it is challenging choosing only 16, but the limit keeps me from oversharing. I mean, just because I love every photo from my trip to Tahoe doesn't mean you want to see 30 pictures of basically the same view...
This year I noticed that the majority of the photos I chose were those with loved ones. I wasn't focused on which looked the most professional(ish) or which necessarily were the most unique. Instead, I found myself drawn to memories of special moments spent with those people who bring joy and grace into my life.
2016 was a bit of a rollercoaster with its fair share of ups and downs, but all of the beautiful people God has placed in my life sure made for an incredible year.
Happy New Year, friends. Sending loads of love and prayers for you and yours as we begin 2017.
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Today marks the official beginning of our school year and I am SO excited! Growing up I was always that nerdy kid who loved the first day of school. For me learning has always been a ton of fun! Plus, new school years meant new, crisp, clean school supplies.
...I'm a nerd. I know it. I've accepted it. I embrace it.
Anywhoo, this school year has me particularly excited because it's my first as an educator rather than a student. I can't wait to see what my kids learn and what I learn from them. It's going to be a good year :)
An ending of August means a new set of monthly goals and aspirations. But before I talk about what I hope to accomplish this month, let's have a look at last month's goals, shall we?
August Goals Recap:
I think this might be the first month where I accomplished everything on my list. Mind you, it was a shorter list than normal, but hey, I check them all off! I just hope September's goals go just as well.
This month I hope to:
1. Settle into another room - My apartment isn't huge, but I still have a lot of settling in to do. Hopefully by the end of September I'll have it feeling even more cozy.
2. Start a savings account - Hooray for no longer being a student. Time to be fiscally responsible.
3. Go out to eat with a friend - Living in a brand new city is rough. Hopefully this goal will push me out of my introverted comfort zone and force me to meet new people and make friends.
4. Write an outfit post - It's been ages and I actually have a dress code for work which is inspiring me to dress nicely and get creative with my wardrobe.
5. Set the February Trip for work - Part of my job involves service trips with students and it turns out our February break trip isn't scheduled yet. That's exciting because I can try something new, but also scary because typically these trips are scheduled a year in advance. I'm praying that it comes together beautifully.
What about you, friend? Any fun hopes for September?
**Linking up with Braveloveblog, Staygoldautumn and Mysocalledchaos
Sunday, August 28, 2016
Slowly but surely I am settling in to life here on the East Coast. It is definitely different than California, but it has been good so far. As I reflect on this past week (though I may be meshing two into one - it's been a lot of transition/processing haha) I am overcome by the beautiful experiences of grace and hospitality that have been extended in this new, remarkable place.
This week I am thankful for:
1. Small Worlds
On my first day of work I met a colleague whose daughter went to undergrad at my school. I asked her name - partly to be polite and partly because the school is small enough that I could have known her - and it turns out I knew exactly who she was! Between my being sick most of freshman year/ studying abroad fall of sophomore year and her transferring halfway through sophomore year, we only overlapped for about a semester, but our paths definitely crossed. She kindly reached out to me on Facebook when her dad mentioned it and we met up for coffee. The world is too small, y'all. Yay for a friend in the area!
2. Great Colleagues
I cannot even begin to say what a warm, welcoming, super-willing-to-help environment the school I am working at is. The number of faculty who have reached out and offered to help me in any way that they can is humbling and so heartwarming - #blessed doesn't even begin to cover it.
3. Early Dismissals
The majority of out school is not air conditioned and like much of the States, we've been having incredibly hot weather. Friday's forecast was a scorcher and it was the last day of summer before the students arrive, so we were told at about 9am that offices were closing at noon and we had the rest of the day off! A huge perk especially after learning that my job doesn't fall under the typical snow days category... womp womp
Another indication that I am in the right work environment: the school year began with a faculty retreat devoted to reflecting on our mission as educators and how it meets the needs of our students and the world.
5. Neighborly Neighbors
And for my final moment of grace this week, a big shout out to a fun night of Kan Jam, Cornhole and homemade beef stew courtesy of the super nice couple that lives below me. People in Connecticut are so nice! I can't get over it!
How was your week? Any fun end-of-summer plans?
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Hello friends! So sorry for the radio silence lately, but boy have I been busy.
Last week I packed up and officially moved to Connecticut for my new job. My apartment wasn't ready until a few days beyond my first day of work so I spent a few days in limbo at a hotel, but Thursday I signed my lease and began settling into my first apartment! I don't have a lot of furniture yet (it's making its way slowly but surely) but that's made deep cleaning and organizing what I do have easier.
I'm also waiting patiently for wifi which won't be installed until Wednesday - womp womp. Oh well. It gave me a big push to find a local coffee shop in my new neighborhood to get some work done. Caffeine has been acquired and I'm only about a 10 minute walk from home. Score!
Work has been incredible. Everyone is so kind and passionate about their work. It's only been a week, but I can already tell that it is going to be a great community and environment to work in. We've had orientation a few days this week and will finish it off next Wednesday with a day long retreat.
Other than the new job and apartment, life has been pretty low key which is just the way I like it. A lot is happening this year and I am so excited to see how it all pans out.
Here's to new beginnings and new adventures!
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Only a short time home this summer means filling my days with fun and friends which means it was hard to choose just 5 moments of joy this week - the best kind of dilemma if you ask me. I'm soaking in this precious time off and trying to do just about as much as possible before the big move this weekend.
1. Road Trip
My plan for moving to Connecticut included staying with a friend of a friend for a week or so while I searched for housing. Unfortunately, they didn't have the space for me until a few weeks after I already had to be in town for work so I had to make new arangements quickly. Luckily, I have amazing friends who are willing to road trip last minute with me in search of housing. So last Wednesday I took my first trip to CT and looked at a bunch of apartments on Thursday. I loved having time to spend with my friend and time to see my new home and workplace. It is stunning. I can't wait!!
2. Apartment Found!
Our last minute trip was an amazing success. I found an apartment I am absolutely in love with that is within my budget and only 10 minutes from work! I will definitely have to post some photos to share with y'all as the move-in process begins.
3. Fish Fry
My best friend and roommate from college, who also took the road trip with me, is moving from Erie, PA to Florida this week and her family hosted a fish fry to send her off and celebrate her dad's birthday. It was lovely and I was able to car pool with another friend from college who I hadn't seen in a while and catch up. Good friends, delicious food, perfect weather - what else could be better?
4. Dinner Date
Tacos, brownies, long conversations and a good friend from high school - another great visit with an amazing woman. She's the best.
Last, but not least, my cousin has been playing local country music shows for a few years and Saturday he played with one of his friends at a local winery in Ohio. I went with my family and had a ball. It's great to see his passion for music and the joy our family feels seeing him on stage.
That just about sums it up for me. How were your weeks? Any moments that have you just beaming with joy?
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
As I mentioned in my "Oh Hey There"-sorry-I've-been-MIA-post, I have read a decent amount this summer. Not a ton as I am still easing my way back into an understanding of "reading for fun" or what I used to call "normal" before graduate school, but a good amount. Gosh I missed just picking up a book for pleasure and getting lost into the words... I digress.
Anyways, I thought that I would share which books I've picked up in the last month or so and see what you all are reading.
(--In the order that they were read--)
1.) Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting and Got a Life by Kelsey Miller - Great read. As someone who has struggled with disordered eating for years, I resonated a lot with the author and what she had to share. I also very much enjoyed her writing style. Miller writes over at Refinery 29 and I have read and loved many an article by her, especially this one about her experience of barre classes.
2.) Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling - I'm mildly obsessed with Mindy Kaling so I pretty much knew I'd love her second book as much as her first. It did not disappoint. She's a hoot.
3.) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer - I was looking for a good book on tape for my 36+ hour road trip home and a friend highly recommended this one. It was touching and lovely and sad and beautiful and funny - pretty much all of the feels. Also found out that they made the book into a movie and am considering renting it. Any reviews? I'm worried I'll be pretty disappointed after loving the book so much.
4.) Yes Please by Amy Poehler - Another audio-book for the road trip. Loved hearing it in Poehler's voice. It was a nice light choice when the other option got too intense. She shares many words of wisdom along side many hilarious jokes. This book also helped me push past the first season of Parks and Rec which I'd tried watching multiple times. The other seasons are so much better and I finally understand the hype. Thanks, Amy.
5.) Is It Evil Not To Be Sure by Lena Dunham - As you might have picked up, I have a thing for autobiographies by female comedians. However, I wasn't a huge fan of this one. It was nice and short, so I thought it would be a good beach read but it wasn't really my style. It's excerpts from Dunham's college journal - sort of pre-twitter as she notes - but I thought there would be more of a story line and did not anticipate the majority to be about her sex life. I will say that the fact that all of the proceeds from the book go towards programs encouraging girls to write made me glad I purchased it. Not my cup of tea, but hey, not every book is.
6.) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany - As a huge Harry Potter nerd, um I mean fan, it was no question that I would get this book the day it was released and read. it. all. #noregrets It's wonderful. A lot faster paced than the other books because of the script style, but that means those of us who obsessed over Harry Potter as tweens and teens don't have to take off multiple days of work to read it all.
I've also begun Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (so far, so good) and Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It is waiting in the wings.
Have you picked up anything good this summer? I'm always on the lookout for new reads and keep a list in my journal that I love to add to! Suggestions are warmly welcomed!