heart of gratitude.

I don’t know if I ever really take the appropriate time to have a heart of gratitude towards a season life until it has already passed.

I get caught up in the thought process of, “when this happens then I will be _________.” I never find myself thinking of the present, being grateful for what and who is in front of me at the moment. I’m always thinking about what is next. Even when I’m eating breakfast I’m like, I wonder what I will have for lunch…?

But, how do I even practice slowing down when we live in a world that is constantly on the go? Our human nature is ingrained with how to keep up, not how to slow down, take a moment, sit and focus on what is good.

About a year ago, someone challenged me to write down three things every day that bring me joy. And every couple of weeks, when I get the chance to sit down and reflect on what is bringing me joy in my world, I have a consistent answer- slow mornings. I love slow mornings, but they are so rare. Waking up without an alarm, no agenda of a place to be, drinking coffee out a real mug, not a to-go mug. Those are the best for me. I have better days when my mornings are slow to start. Because I have taken time, time for myself, with God, with coffee, and nothing requiring my attention except what is in front of me. I’m a better version of me those days. But time doesn’t set itself aside. I have to do it. I have to make it happen. Be intentional and disciplined to not be out the door, on the go, getting in the cycle of constantly moving towards the next hour of the day.

So, how do I do it? How do I be present? There is so much goodness in my life right now. First year of marriage, in the second year of a job I love, creating community with young, married friends, appreciating family more than ever, living in our second one-bedroom apartment. These are some of the best times. The times when life stages seem so new. I don’t want to miss it while wishing I was on the other side of it. I never want to go through the day-to-day just getting through until the next stage comes. I want to appreciate what is right in front of me. I want to embrace figuring it out. I want to trust the process when it seems like I have no idea what I’m even doing. No one writes a manuscript for your twenties. I have nothing to go off of except for my own experiences and those around me.

I hope that when I look back on where I am in life right now that I am able to say, with confidence, even though I had no idea the right answer or what was to come, that I had a heart of joyful gratitude embracing it.

 

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not fake news: why and how I got a library card.

Well, for one they are free. I used to spend who knows how much money on books at Barnes and Noble just to read it once and put it on a shelf never to read again. Millennials love free things. Which is why I am not sure how more of us aren’t flocking to local libraries. However, I also understand why you aren’t because, reading. And brunch.

But for the rest of us (me) and in order to save the tens of dollars to my name, I thought a library card would be a good fit for my wallet and also help improve the amount of time it takes me to read a book. It used to be *give or take* a couple months, but library books have due dates so at this point, I am doing myself a lot of favors.

All libraries still look the same. It’s that building on the corner that hasn’t been updated in 20 years, and you wonder why there are always cars in the parking lot. Free wi-fi. That’s why. I walked in and was suddenly overcome with nostalgia. The inside of a local library literally has not changed in 20 years, you guys. Which was comforting on a lot of levels, but also not because I was the only twenty-something within the walls of plastic covered books and free wifi users.

I walked up to the desk, “I would like to get a library card,” because that seemed like a good start. It wasn’t long after, I was denied because I didn’t have proof of residence that I was seriously second guessing this nostalgic and frugal endeavor. Also, I didn’t realize that a walk of shame coming out of a library AND back into a library in the same day was a feeling I would ever become familiar with, but there I was. To prove to the librarian that I totally knew what I was doing, I checked out three books that day. Three. I haven’t read three books back to back since cramming for finals in college, but I really felt like this was the right move for me.

Fast forward to the first due date of all three books, I returned them each in great condition and right on time. I remember that because I didn’t crack one of them open. The only good part about this story so far is that I didn’t collect any library fines. Take that, Barnes and Noble.

Since acquiring my shiny piece of key ring plastic, I have read and returned (sans library dues) two books. I still have a really, really hard time trying to find any books I go in looking for. Do public libraries even carry Mindy Kaling? I have yet to find her or Amy Poehler’s books, and I am pretty sure the librarian is offended I consider it a true piece of literature. But I am going to keep asking for it.

Honestly, this library card has taught me a lot. Like how to read books in a realistic amount of time, why it’s important to educate librarians on classics of my generation (Bossypants by Tina Fey is a true page turner), and that having a library card can be just as satisfying as that hot yoga class you’re paying too much money for. I mentioned library cards are FREE right?

 

 

writing is intimidating.

I have put off this post a million times. If you’re reading this you probably notice that the site is different, the name has changed and the person writing this post hasn’t followed through on something she promised herself she would do- start a blog. Yeah okay, I started a blog. I have started a lot of blogs. But I haven’t kept up with them. And I guess I feel the need to explain why, more for myself than for whoever is reading but yeah, really for me.

When I start any blog (including this one), I put a lot of pressure on myself to make it look really pretty with the best fonts, most professional backgrounds and convince myself that once it all looks perfect then it will be good enough to publish. I also do this with writing. I think about something I should write about, but by the time I actually sit down at my computer to get it out of my head I convince myself that it’s already been said. Someone else with another prettier blog has already said the same thing I was going to say, and their font is a lot trendier than mine, so I’m out. I shut it down, call it quits and convince myself that the internet doesn’t need another me. I realize there’s a lot of things wrong with that mindset, which is why I am here.

First of all, everything I just said before all comes back to why I started (and failed at) all the blogs in the past. I wasn’t doing it for myself. I was doing it to get the readers and the likes. While that’s nice, that’s not really why I like to write. Maybe it is silly to try to do this thing all over again. Maybe I lost whatever credibility I had before. But after every blog ended (and by ended I mean, the credit card expired on the subscription), I still had this thing inside of me. That thing being the words and the desire to put my thoughts out there, for me. Not for the likes, not for the readers, for me.

While I was in between another blog expiring and this one starting, I read a book that solidified all those desires that were still there. Deep down somewhere I knew that I had to write again. This book helped me get back to the blank page and go for it one more time.

“Gifts Are Bridges,” she writes, “I think God gives us each a gift or two so that we have something special to offer to others. But sometimes we make the mistake of assuming that the things we’re good at are common to everyone. We don’t recognize that our gifts are unique and therefore worth offering.” I mean, I have thought about these words almost everyday since I have read them. Because she is describing me. I think God has given me the gift, or at least the desire to write, but every time I sit down to do it I convince myself that my writing is common, not needed, not special. But it is, because it is mine. It’s my thoughts and my personality and my view of life. My writing is a gift to me and to God simply because it is mine.

Excuse me for wanting to just type out the whole chapter for you, but she goes on to write, “I think sometimes we get confused and believe that our gift must bring us money or success or fame. Sometimes those things do happen, but not usually. The only thing a gift needs to do is bring you joy. You must find the thing that brings you joy in the doing of that thing, and not worry about the outcome.” So, that’s what I am going to do here. This post, getting this out of my head and onto the page, it brings me joy to do so. This new start may be the beginning of a bridge into someone else’s life or it may just be for me. Either way, I am okay with that. I am okay that I don’t have the most professional blog out there, or the most readers or even own a nice camera to take good pictures for this. It’s just me and my writing and I am good. Nah, I feel great.