"dream great dreams and find the courage to live them"

-erwin mcmanus

Friday, July 30, 2010

be ALL there

"Wherever you are, be all there."
-Jim Elliot

A quote that has been floating through my mind day after day, it holds some deep truth.  God places us exactly where we need to be.  In each of those places, in each moment, we are to embrace life, living it to the full in a way that glorifies Him.

I ask myself - Am I using my time well right now?  Do I spend my time loving others, or living selfishly?  Am I putting real effort into my studies, or am I wasting my time and money on an effortless and meaningless education?

I could walk around halfheartedly and lazily doing only the bare minimum.  I could even pretend like I enjoy doing it, but then I see how worthless a halfhearted effort is.  It's like in Mighty Ducks where the Hawks team motto was "It's not worth winning if you don't win big!"  While I don't necessarily agree with the statement in the context from which it came, it holds truth.  It's not worth coming to work if I am not going to put my all into the children.  It's not worth doing my coursework if I am not working hard on it and learning from it.

Really, it's a way of doing life well.  God did not create us for mediocrity.
So go.  Live well.  Live abundantly.  And...
"Wherever you are, be all there."

Monday, July 26, 2010

mid-summer break.

I had a little time away this weekend.  Four days in Omaha was just what I needed. 
Some time with old friends helped me remember who I was and who I've become.  It replenished friendships that had been temporarily left behind, but hopefully that will continue on until we're old.  We've decided to sit on our front porches together and knit our way through our retirement - it's weekends like these that make that a real possibility :)

After talking to Julia for hours upon hours this weekend, she pointed out that the reason I've been considering quitting everything is not because I don't want to do those things, but because there is so much going on that I haven't been able to enjoy them.  Now I must choose what to eliminate/reduce in my life so that school and work can no longer consume it.

It's true that I haven't had time to really think.  I've been merely getting my coursework done to get it done.  I've been going to work just to get home again.  While I enjoy my jobs, they have slowly become only responsibilities, a way to pay the bills, rather than something I really want to do.  Clearly I need to do some reevaluating.  In the meantime, I am going to enjoy the friends I have here in Chicago, maintain the friendships I have at a distance, and put God in the forefront of it all.

L-O-V-E - that's what the day was all about :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

a little clorox does the trick.

I clean when I'm stressed.
Our kitchen is now spotless.

Sometimes this cleaning is therapeutic.  Usually the cleaning is overdue anyways.  It gives me time to think, to calm down, to just relax and take out my aggression on the burnt residue on our pans, or on the grease spots on the stove.  Whatever the case, it is usually beneficial for me to clean.

If I can just make it until I go to bed tonight, I'll be fine.  The next four days will be a much-needed break from real life.  Visiting with old friends is a form of living in the past that is actually acceptable.  Unlike the 50-year-old men who walk around with t-shirts of bands from the 70s, mullets, baggy, white-washed jeans, and their high-school letterman jackets that are clearly 50-pounds of body mass too small.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Unless they are out of sight, I don't like leaving things unfinished.  If I start a project, I WILL finish it.  If I start a Masters program, I WILL finish it.

If I start a puzzle, I WILL finish it.
And this is today's problem.  Sunday night I started a puzzle, not realizing just how long it would take.  I've invested six hours in this puzzle, but it's still not done.  I leave town Thursday morning, and it would just kill me to leave it unfinished on the coffee table until I got back.  But I don't have time to work on it again before I go.  What a dilemma:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nannying 101

1. To be a nanny, you must be willing to lose your entire wardrobe to glue, glitter, markers, paint, spit-up, throw-up, food fights, drool, snot, and other bodily fluids and craft supplies.

2. Patience is a daily prayer.

3. Need practice for parenting, without having to deal with the long-term ramifications?  Be a nanny.

4. Always be willing to chase, run, and just... go.  Attention spans are short.

5. Theme your days.  It helps you to be creative, and encourages the kids to contribute ideas, even come up with their own themes! - Polka dot day (ideas: "spot dogs" instead of hot dogs, wear polka dots), picnic day (everything you do is on a picnic blanket), paint day (paint your bread with peanut butter and jelly, paint pictures, faces, arms, anything!)

6. Be willing to be whatever you need to be - a listening ear, playmate, nurse, and whatever make-believe character the kids want you to become.

7. DON'T let the kids watch tv all day.  You will be bored and they will never develop imaginations and they will be fat and lazy and boring.  Limit it to one or two shows per day.

8. Keep tissues, water, and band-aids in your purse (or man-purse).  You never know when you'll need them.

9. Let the child direct their own playtime (even moreso if they are older) - studies show that free-play is more important in a child's development than directed play.

10. Have fun!  You may need a survival guide, or you may be able to write one after nannying for a while, but make sure you're enjoying yourself.  If you're not, the kids probably aren't either.

One last thing - Don't nanny under the illusion that it's anything like babysitting.  Babysitting means feeding a kid a meal, watching a tv show and going to bed.  Nannying is a conglomeration of playing, planning, teaching, baking, cleaning, and so much more.  Get ready :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

You still have me

out on the farthest edge
there in the silence
you were there

My faith was torn to shreds
heart in the balance
but you were there

always faithful
always good
you have still have my
you still have my heart

-"You Have Me" by Gungor

It becomes very easy to avoid God when things are busy.  The clutter of work, classes, family and friends consumes my mind and my time, allowing me an "excuse" to forget about the most important thing of all.

I don't want to say much more about it, but don't let yourself do the same, because it's absolutely awful, tearing you apart inside.

I am confident in this:
God knows what is best for us.  He loves us enough to want what is best for us.  And He has the power to bring it about.
Be reminded of this truth every day.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

i'm the most undisciplined person i've ever met.  well, almost.

i've been working on a distance learning course and find myself entirely unmotivated to do it.  and by "unmotivated," i mean i finished one lesson in the seven days that i had off of work last week.  seven days.  one lesson?  yeah, that's unmotivated.

in the meantime, there have been multiple picnics, a symphony in the park, lincoln park zoo, a cookout at the beach, a piƱata birthday party, fireworks x2, and so much fun with friends.  there's just something about summer that makes everything better, more fun, more... alive.  maybe it's a mentality.  yeah, that's it - a better mindset because of better weather.  even the rain today was beautiful because i had spent the afternoon with friends and an evening with a cup of tea and a good book.

soo many things to love about summer.
AND an upcoming trip to omaha leaves a lot to be excited for :)