Friday, September 21, 2012


“Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today."

--Ernest Hemingway

Those who know me know I love Ernest Hemingway. From his intriguing life to his ingenuity in the craft of writing to his fondness of cats--Hemingway captivates me. In some ways, my research has brought me to believe that Hemingway had so many wives and so many lives (the war hero, the war corespondent  the hunter, the fisherman, the bull fighting enthusiast, the traveler...) because they were the fuel for his writing. 

"Write about what you know." That is the adage we pensmen hear: at the top of the list of author advice. 

What do I know? 

I know my faults. I see them glaring at me most days. I know my strengths, and I enjoy pushing myself towards being even better. 

I know love. Family. Honor. Duty. Sacrifice. Elation. Sorrow. All of those things I know more acutely than I did before because of motherhood. 

I know that this balancing act of mothering, wifing, professoring, Christianing, writing, hoping, editing, friending, cooking, and every other bit that is my life is not easy. 

And I know that “today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today."

I don't share this quote as a threat. (Why is she giving me so much pressure? I already stress about not meeting everyone's needs every day!) I share it as a reminder: don't forget today. In the midst of the chaos, find the beauty.

I am glad for the gift of today: another day to achieve goals, love others, reflect Glory, dream, eat, and sleep. And we don't have to accumulate spouses or excel at a multitude of hobbies to affect others with our gifts. Whatever stops you from finding fulfillment in today (worry? Corrie Ten Boom says, "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength."), to to get past it because, as Dr. Seuss says, "Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"

And your being you today is a beautiful thing.

Above: A friend's small business, Mansion and Marsh, gave me this adorable tee shirt. Below: What fun it is to pull out the leggings! And I got this dress from Ross, one of my favorite stores. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Praying for You

A student just walked out of my office. I could tell her heart was heavy, and I thought I did my best to lighten things: to make possibilities seem brighter. But still, as I saw her leave, her shoulders low, my heart was low too.

And then I had a strong memory of one of the two times I cried in a college class (as a student). I'm not one who cries often in front of others. Once a professor showed Shadowlands, a movie based on the life of C. S. Lewis, and I admit I wept, as quietly as one may in a small classroom. The other time I cried in class, the time that came back to me when my student walked out my door, was when one of my Bible professors started class with a prayer. He was rattling off names. It took me a couple moments to realize what he was doing.

He was praying for each of us. By name.

Somehow hearing these names, hearing my name, felt powerful to me. And I cried.

Afterwards, he told us he did this every morning. All semester, I had this man (someone I really didn't know in the larger lecture class setting) praying for me every day.

The henna I have on my feet right now, in an effort to memorize the verse, is Philippians 4:6.

Don't be worried. Instead, in prayer and petition and with thanksgiving, bring everything to God in prayer. 

Worrying is in the nature of most people: we stress, we fret, we break down. But God says that, instead of being anxious, we should bring our requests (in thankfulness) to Him. This verse had made me start rephrasing my prayers. Whatever it is that is bothering me generally has its roots in one of God's blessings.

I want our condo to sell: I am so blessed we have a place to live that is warm and welcoming.
I worry I'm not doing a good enough job of multi-tasking: God has blessed me with a family and job and friends and talents and more.

Before I ask God to fix something, I try to think of the blessing in the brokenness.

And when my student walked out my door, I knew I couldn't fix what was hurting her. But I could pray for her. And for all of my students, being thankful that they are in my life, that I have a chance to be in theirs, and asking for peace, strength, and His presence revealed.

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ways to Feel Pretty (during times that aren't pretty)

Let's face it: there are times when we feel a little more frightful and a little less "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14). Blah days happen to the best of us, but there are a couple of ways to add some sunshine when the blah clouds approach.

1) Hold a baby.
Not only do you look more lovely face-snuggled up with a little one, you also stand a good chance of some of those sweetness-vibes rubbing off on you.
2) Belt it.
I just recently learned of the saving powers of the right belt. The dress below was a gift from Indonesia from Jenny Kemala, a fashion teacher at O'More College of Design. When I put it on, I was swallowed by the beautiful fabric. I figured the belt wouldn't help, but remembered Jenny telling me to try one, so I did. Belts can make you feel skinnier and more put together.

 3) Get some fake bling.
Early on in my pregnancies, I could no longer wear my wedding or engagement ring. I've gone through two pregnancies and hauled around babies ring-less. I finally decided about a month ago to get myself a honking new bit of bling: this fake yet lovely piece from Target. Since I'm pretty good at playing pretend, I have no difficulty drifting off into the belief that this is the giant diamond of my dreams, and my thrifty side rejoices.
 4) Hair experiment.
Sometimes all you want to do at the end of a long day is put your hair in a messy bun. If you are like me, you feel this is a sign of beauty-defeat. Last week I played around with the classic knot, twisting the front of my hair into a braid-like strand before tying everything off with a rubber band. I felt a bit more "together," and the style only took a minute longer than a regular bun.

 5) Walk in the Word.
I bought some henna, and I've been using a little trick to memorize Bible verses. I write the location on one foot and a part of the verse on the other. For about two weeks, I am daily reminded of God as I repeat the words over and over until they stick. After all that fades, I write in a new verse. Someone noticed and said, "You are walking in the Word!" I like that.
 6) Wear sunglasses.
My mom and I like to walk in the mornings before we have gotten ready for the day, pushing strollers as we chat and exercise. We tend to see more people than we'd like in this messy-faced/hair/body state. Then we realized we feel much more "in cognito" with the simple addition of a pair of sunglasses. The bigger the frames, the better you hide.
 7) Wear a tiara.
Wait--you don't wear a tiara to clean your house? Maybe you should some time.
 8) Laugh.
“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person.” --one of the most beautiful women of all time, Audrey Hepburn

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