In lieu of trying to belong to any number of societies: Chesterton, Sherlock Holmes, the Inklings, and so on: I propose and establish one of my own. Don your intelligence cap at the door; dust off your logic and imagination; did you bring your inspiration and encouragement? We are shapers, my friends; lit lamps; light-bringers. Bring quotes*; poetry should be uplifting and thoughtful, or witty and clever, (or both). Humor is encouraged; laughter is invited back. Pull up a chair. Anyone for tea?

* C.S. LEWIS, J.R.R. TOLKIEN, SHERLOCK HOLMES, G.K. CHESTERTON, N.D. WILSON, AND P.G. WODEHOUSE, ARE ENCOURAGED

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Strong Women of Doctor Who

For my next installment in A Series of Remarkable Characters I'm going to be talking about Amelia Pond and Clara Oswald, my personal favorite women of Doctor Who.

And yes, before we go any further,
Not big ones though

So here's a topsy-turvy list of things to learn from the Impossible Girl, and the Girl Who Waited.

1. Never underestimate the importance of a great outfit.
Related imageImage result for clara outfits
These girls have style. Personally, Clara's outfits are some of my favorites, but Amy too knows how to dress with some serious flair "for Rio!" and they both have a strong jacket game.* Along with the Doctor and his bowties and jackets (and fez) they save the world with significant sartorial panache, and you'd better believe that this has something to do with our #2

2. Be fabulous, and believe it.

One thing that I love about Amy and Clara is that they are impressed by the magnificent, filled with wonder at the incredible, but it doesn't make them back down. It doesn't make them doubt their own brilliance. They are quick to see the amazing in others, and are willing to go toe-to-toe with the clever and the terrible, and match their wits with anyone because, as the fellow says, 
"If not you, then who? If not now, then when?"

3. Use whatever you've got at your disposal

Whether it's Amy pausing the tape in Flesh and Stone, or Clara getting Rigsy to save the world with spray-paint, these women know how to take what they've got and make it do. Which makes them brilliant companions of course, because this is the Doctor's whole MO. Don't give up, don't walk away, preserve and protect, whatever the stakes.

4. You don't need a reason to be you
Image result for clara oswald does there have to be a reason?

5. You definitely don't need an excuse to be funny (or full of sass)

Image result for amy pond im easily worth two menRelated image


6. Don't be afraid to be the boss

Sometimes you're the one who knows what needs to happen. Go with it. Sometimes you're the only one keeping a level head. Own it. Along with this goes: it's okay to be intimidating as long as the people you care about know you are there for them no matter what.

7. Be the carers. 

Care, when nobody else will. Stay, when everyone runs away. Spread hope everywhere you go. Ask people if they're alright. Choose to still feel it, even when it hurts. Caring will lead you into a host of adventures, and helps keeps you on the right track in the throes of life.

8. Create family

Some family you're born with, some family you fall in love with (and marry), and some come into your life in entirely unexpected ways. But we can absolutely choose family. Hold onto the dear people in your life. Stick by them no matter what. Let them know when they're being ridiculous. Protect them from themselves sometimes. And if they stick around, be their family forever.
Related image
These two are my favorite examples of this {{so much love}}

9. Be brave. Be confident. Be optimistic. Be kind.

These are generally implied in the others we looked at, but are worth spelling out on their own. It is wonderful when we are protected and safe and with those we love: but this is not always the case. And when it is not, what we can be is "very, very brave"
"Don’t follow me under any circumstances." Vincent and The Doctor.  i loved this episode. it made me cry actually


10. "Don't give up

Not ever. Not for one single day. Be safe, when you can be. But always be amazing."

I think this is my favorite Who quote, however many other brilliant ones there are...

What's yours?

                       

*I have taken some serious style pointers from the women of Doctor Who over the years. I get my hoop earrings from Rose, and I had a serious mini-skirt-and-leggings phase inspired by Amy. Clara inspires my heeled boots and dress game. And I take my jacket collection very seriously.

November


"We never cease to be creatures; we never become God. However, the great promise, if Jesus' prayer is fulfilled, is that we will approach such a union of knowledge, love, and joy for all eternity, with ever-increasing speed. We finite beings are chasing the infinite, and therefore we'll never catch it (him!). But the increase of our knowledge of God and love for God and joy in God will continue, world without end, amen." --Joe Rigney, The Things of Earth

This was my view this morning as I read these words from a chapter expounding on the teaching and prayers of Jesus in John 13-17, as it related to the trinity, the glorification of God, and our 'becoming partakers of the divine nature' both in this world, and in the one to come. What glory!
In particular, that sentence about chasing the infinite conjured an immediate picture in my head, full of nostalgic and sensory meaning. The clouds outside the window and the uncertain gusty breezes came together with it, full of the joy, adventure, and mystery of a child chasing a kite.
It was an awakening of joy, a reminder of the very aliveness of this life, this journey. The Hope of Glory. It was a kind of reestablishment of the meaning of the running we do here on earth, and the worth of the glory that is to come: the home that we long for: that endless learning and being known: the mystery gradually and continually illuminated: the overwhelming love that not only washes over us, but that we are actively invited into, partakers in; sharing and learning and enveloped in the relationship of the triune God...

Needless to say, I am looking forward to more quiet moments appreciating the autumn here on my visit in Maryland, and to further chapters in that book!

I'm soaking it in. It's an especial blessing to get this extra glimpse of autumn here on the east coast, as Minnesota pretty nearly skipped it this year. This season is always one I particularly look forward to, as the quality of light and air seems to heighten my awareness of glory, of the unseen; of beauty, magic, and poetry.

Here's to another shower of autumn leaves, to new breaths of rich air. To a little poetry and pen, and many a walk and a bike-ride while I'm here.

Because, you know what will happen when I get home right? As soon as I've unpacked, and straightened my apartment, and gone back to work, that is...
I'll be moving right into the Winter season, folks! Embracing it with open arms. Fair warning!
Things are going to go full-on Hygge around here.

October


Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold,
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
- Robert Frost




"And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home." - Wendell Berry


It's been rather an odd October, and not only because we've had a couple of actual snow-falls already. This month has just been really full. I feel I'm running this way and that. My evenings are often busy, and when I'm not leaving the house, I'm cooking up a storm for the days and hours ahead.

So here's my honesty check-in for Whole30: 
It's day 26, and I'm on plan*. I've been eating well. I'm not sick of eggs yet. I've discovered and developed a bunch of new recipes and food-ideas. I'm excited about close-to-paleo eating for long-term. I'm learning to cook all sorts of things in my tiny kitchen; I'm meal-planning and prepping, and packing great lunches for work. 
But I still have really low energy. I've stopped doing yoga everyday, what with my rushing here and there, and my tiredness. I know that's not optimal, but there it is. I've just come down with a terrible cold, which is keeping me up at night, (not to mention making my spine and ears hurt, and my voice go out). And you know what? I could really go for some honey right now, on this throat. 
Since I'm so near day 30, I'll just wait. But I am looking forward to getting back to a little more food-freedom. Not so that I can go eat ice-cream, or even lots of gluten-free bread. I'm looking forward to cassava tortillas, a hot toddy, and paleo pumpkin pie. Also, some sort of chewy, paleo cinnamon cookie... It's weird things one craves.
I'll let you know if this changes, but I think for me, Whole30 is not a life-changing experience. My relationship with food was already rich and varied. This was a nice challenge, and I hope it did in fact reset a few things in my system, but my health is a long road, and this was just one curve. There's a long way to go. 
And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep...

See you in November!

*Except I had that one cough-drop. And by the way today is looking, I may need more to get through the weekend. Sorry world.

My Hogwarts House dilemma

For a very long time, I didn't quite accept that I was a Ravenclaw. When one reads the Harry Potter books (which I did rather late in my teens) one is likely to identify with Gryffindor. After all, the central characters all make their home there. So not only do you feel their personal loyalty, but you are given a great deal more information about it, more stories developed within it, and you find it just overall more interesting because there's something happening

 A few years after reading the books (and knitting myself a scarlet and gold scarf) a friend convinced me to take the sorting quiz on Pottermore. And I rather expected to get Hufflepuff, what with my love of peace and cooking and hobbits. Part of me still identified with Gryffindor. So when I got Ravenclaw, I was a little nonplussed.
And here's where I get all controversial: I didn't particularly like any of the Ravenclaws that I knew. Luna Lovegood is of course the most well known, and nearly all we've got to go on, as far as the house goes (I didn't find much help in Cho Chang or Padma Patil). And I just didn't identify with Luna at all. Besides being lost in our heads as children, I didn't feel we had anything in common. I prefer Shawn Spencer. And it's extremely difficult to connect Ravenclaw with anyone but Luna.

But I've been thinking about it more recently, and have realized that Ravenclaw is not really a strange choice for me. I do highly value intelligence, and enjoy seeking it out. I adore both logic and poetry; and having to answer a riddle to gain entrance to the Ravenclaw common-room sounds right up my alley. So I began to give it more thought (because clearly I have nothing better to do).

There were still things about Hufflepuff and Gryffindor that attracted me. After all, as Cinderella puts it so well, aren't we to simply Have Courage and Be Kind?

If you've ever heard me talk about dandelions, then you know I have an especial fondness for them and their sunny strength. For the way they bloom early and in the toughest situations, able to crack concrete with their quiet persistence, "unafraid to be turned to ash, or cut or poisoned, ready to be born again". This to me, seems very Hufflepuff. And between Wind in the Willows, and Prince Caspian, badgers hold a very dear place in my heart. And have you seen the Hufflepuff common-room and their hobbit-windows? I am entirely jealous.
Image result for hufflepuff common room
The difficulty is, I have a many sided personality. I am fascinated by the sea, and comforted by a fireside. I will protect the children at any cost, or happily co-pilot your rescue mission into the darkest jungle. I don't get many chances for Gryffindor bravery, and I'm not generally one to stretch the rules, but there's something in all of us I think, that longs for the chance: for a cause big enough to give everything for: for a hill worth dying on. "Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery..."


So one day, I started making a list. Ravenclaw: For & Against. It looks kind of like this.

FOR:
Poetry
Blue (have you seen my house?)
Books (or my shelves?)
Puzzles and Riddles (I write them as well as solve them)
Codes (I memorized morse, and have you heard me talk about Bletchley?)
Found two pens in my boot the other day
I made this list
I recognize a khopesh on sight
Rain is my favorite
Art
Stars
Life long learning!
"this is my sister, otherwise known as google"
Sometimes I'm a know-it-all. I'm sorry everyone.
Rory Gilmore everybody
The Against was a little more ambiguous, because I had to gather (mostly from perusing the internet) consensus on the attributes... well... attributed to Ravenclaw.
The biggest contenders were really just the reasons mentioned above why I could be a Hufflepuff. Other reasons include but are not limited to:

I'm practical. I don't want to discuss theories unless they'll work.
I'm a hugger. No stand-offishness please.
I like hands-on. I'm an S, not an N (think Meyers-Briggs)
I'm not a pessimist. I over-prepare, but I hope for the best.

At any rate, the Against side just isn't very convincing.
So I will concede the point. I am a Ravenclaw.
As long as I can keep the fierceness of the Athena Cabin, the home of a hobbit, and the humor of Psmith (actually, I think he'd fit in rather well).
Most of all, can I still be Watson? Because as much as I crave knowledge, there is plenty I need never know. As much as I like puzzles, I like the resolution even better. I am a Watson, not a Sherlock. And as Chesterton says, I have an open mind only so that I can close it upon something sound. I love the challenge of the story, because I trust the Author.
I will be a dandelion wherever I fall.


And now it's time for one last bow like all your other selves. Eleven's hour is over now, the clock is striking twelves....

"Life is full of whimsical happenings, Watson"

~*~

"Wisdom begins in wonder" 
~socrates (sort of)

Gallifreyan

"Be curious, not judgmental" - walt whitman


And while we're at it, how about a Ravenclaw booklist from my shelves...

Queen of Attolia 
The Silver Chair 
Sherlock Holmes 
The Perilous Gard
The Dark is Rising   
"minds hold more than they know. particularly yours."

And a Riddle before you go:

You'll never know my depths
My surface may be smooth
But in my dark interior
My ways are cold, uncouth
I hold the tears of many
The sweat of labor too
I'm greatly loved by numbers
My thoughts are often blue
Deep, deep inside is life
And stories still untold
My heart will swell,
I rise and breathe
I am forever bold
My dance is like a storm
And rages uncontained
My partner is the moon
Without her I'd be chained
Un-quenching and unquenchable
My restless movements still the same
I'm difficult to fathom, yet
The whole world knows my name

Half-way through Whole30

Here's how it's going so far.

Best part: I got out of a food-rut (and a cooking rut). Because I was forced to meal-plan, lest I go hungry, I was able to come up with more interesting ideas than I could have on-the-spot. I've spent much more time doing the actual cooking and prep, which I believe enhances my enjoyment of the food. But I'm much more prepared for the hours and days ahead. I do some bulk cooking, but mostly just for tomorrow's lunch and so on. I've made back-up breakfasts and things for my freezer in case I have to run some days, but I haven't had to use most of them yet. I get hungry less often, and enjoy my food more fully. I feel more comfortable after eating, and I do believe it helps with my energy, even though I haven't gotten to the stage where I feel totally energized.

Worst part: The worst is just that it's expensive. I end up eating such large quantities of the whole foods I can eat. I miss a few foods, and I'm keeping track of which ones they are so that I can figure out how to incorporate them into my life afterward. (And watch patterns, and see if I completely loose cravings for certain foods). It's quite interesting. Yesterday I was eating a Larabar (for the first time during the month, I've really meal-planned enough that I haven't needed them), and I found that after half of it, I was ready to be done. It was just so sweet.

So if anyone is interested in recipes, I'd be happy to share mine, or pass along where I got them from. Some of my meals included...

Meatballs
Butternut squash soup
Shakshuka
Green soup
Picadillo and tostones
Cauliflower tabbouleh
Pork Curry

If anyone needs a personal chef, I volunteer!

October


I have this enormously long list of things I need to do, like clean my apartment and redecorate, make soup and pickles, memorize scripture, shower, plan ahead and make lists, read, go for a walk.
Instead I'm researching Hogwarts houses, and drinking Earl Grey.

These first October days have been brisk and cold, mostly rainy and grey, with a few spots of sunshine. I got the AC unit out of my window, and a couple of days ago I woke up and my radiator was warm to my touch. I haven't had time yet to reorganize for the autumn and winter, and I'm genuinely looking forward to it. But my days have been unusually full of people. It's been so good. Even in moments when I felt too weary to make conversation, each interaction brought life and connection. But there hasn't been much time around the edges. With a full week of work, and cooking every meal carefully for whole30, (and things that come up like car repairs and buying eggs), I mostly jot down lists of things on my mind, and to-do, and then crawl into bed.

 

Thankfully I've got this Saturday afternoon to procrastinate, and (hopefully) also get things done. I'm so looking forward to having my apartment reorganized and spruced up for the cold months. I want to use my desk more, and have my chair be this cozy place where I can curl up after work to read A Child's Calendar, and the Joe Rigney books I just bought. I can't wait to get back into listening to lectures and pouring through my Chesterton and Lewis again.
Read about Seven Values for Learning over on Sarah Clarkson's blog.


"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in fall" --F. Scott Fitzgerald


By the way... What Hogwarts House do you think I am?


Social media is like Oreos


Social media, like Oreos, gives you an immediate hit of dopamine (which is what makes it immediately pleasurable) but it does not contain the substance (think nutrition) of an actual friendship, the things that actually increase quality of life. This combination then produces guilt, discontent, cravings, and soon depression (because you don't want to stop, even though you're never satisfied). Sound a little like eating junk food? I thought so. Same results.

Is it ironic that I'm writing this on social media? Maybe. I'm just saying, fill your life up with real things, and you'll wonder why you kept scrolling through tumblr-feeds when you could have been grabbing coffee with a friend.

Does this have to do with the reading I'm doing for Whole30? Yeah, probably. But take it from someone who gets sick from both, it's worth thinking about. So go talk to someone you like, or get a pen-pal, or keep pursuing the people your already loving and serving. The return is high.

Trying something (anything) for 30 days is a good idea


As soon as I committed to doing this Whole30 thing, suddenly I wanted to do 30 days of everything: yoga, posting stuff I like on Instagram, blogging. And the thing about committing to something big(ish) for 30 days is that it's commitment: You have to move the rest of your world around to accommodate it. I started meal-planning and cooking ahead, and making freezer meals for 'emergencies', and suddenly my life is in a steep trend toward being more organized. I started laying out my clothes for the next couple of days. I want to keep up instagram to document my journey. I need to journal privately as well so that I can track the physical and emotional effects. I want to track the effect on exercise (and reap maximum benefits), so I dedicated to a daily yoga routine. Because of the detox and changes involved, I'm going to keep an eye on my water intake. And try to listen to when my body needs sleep or fresh air.

And I haven't even started.

I'm not saying you should decide to do everything at once. Not at all. We know how biting off more than we can chew can be discouraging and lead to us finishing nothing. I'm saying: pick something you're passionate about, give yourself 30 days to be dedicated to it, and see what other areas of your life follow suit.

And yes, I will get back to you on how it goes, and what parts of the dedication I am able to follow through on. Because I am genuinely interested to know for myself.
Raise your glass (of water) to October!



Selling yourself short

I call this a snippet from the daily RAFFLE, (Random Advice For & From Liv, Etc)

Today we are talking about selling yourself short. I've been learning a lot in the last month about the power of how we think when it comes to habits we want to change. Particularly when it comes to the subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind believes what you say (and think) and tries to make it come true. (For example, if you keep saying 'I always eat too much', it's more likely that tonight you will. If you're continually saying you're a terrible friend, you may find it more difficult to write that letter you planned.) Your brain likes patterns, and it likes to be right.

Now, I'm not advocating that you run around saying you're an athletic scientist when in fact you like chemistry and do yoga most days. But I'm talking about stopping our habitual, unconscious snubbing of ourselves, when we could be using our words (and thoughts) to encourage others, hold ourselves accountable, and speak even truer words. I'm all for sarcasm (no one knows this) and some good self-deprecating humor, but remain conscious of what you're doing and don't let this carry over into constant negativity. Speak with hope. Honesty is about admitting when we're wrong and admitting we don't know, but it's also about saying yes, and about speaking up when you have the answer. Be on the alert for both types of lies.

A few instances have come up in the past week that have me mulling over this. On the surface they seem common-place, but they gave me a wealth to think about.

Twice in the last week I've been asked if I own the coffeeshop that I work at. And I kind of laughed and said No, I was just an assistant manager, and muddled on from there. But the second person I talked to replied, "There's no just about a manager." And I realized he was absolutely right.
I will often use the word 'manager' as if it were a courtesy title, ever anxious that I don't leave the 'assistant' part off. But the truth is I am trusted, allowed, and expected to manage. Which I do.
And it occurred to me that whenever people ask what I do I tell them I'm a barista. This is true. Manifestly. And it's probably my favorite part of the job. But that is not my complete job-description anymore. I am also a coffee-roaster, and one of the managers. Not everyone needs to know that, of course. I don't have to stop saying I'm a barista. But I do need to stop saying 'just'.

On a similar note, I saw this post by the Edie I keep referring to lately, where she recounts how she slayed a workout only to find that because she'd misunderstood the rules, it 'didn't count'. And if this isn't a brilliant example, I don't know what is. Because we can all sympathize with the frustration of such a thing: we've all been there in some capacity. But the world, the flesh, and the devil, conspire to make us believe this means It Didn't Count: that the hard work and the dedication and the way we do the right thing, and test our limits, and live to the fullest, and appreciate the gifts we've been given... that it only counts if our name makes it on the board. And it's just not true. Let me tell you my jaw dropped when I saw the weight complexes and kipping pull-ups she was doing: I hope I can do that some day (when the stars have aligned and so have money, health, and my relationship with pain).
It all counts.
Because look at how strong we're getting? And I'm talking about all kinds of dragon-slaying: fighting the fog, fighting depression, fear, anxiety, shame. WODs, housework, homework.
Bend that bronze. Psalm 18 shows us a picture of great peril "the torrents of destruction assailed me",
of God's deliverance "he rescued me because he delighted in me",
and then of God as a trainer "he trains my hands for war so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze".
"For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall."
Don't tell me any of those walls don't count. He knows.

The biggest problem with selling yourself short is actually that we're minimizing the work of God. If we don't acknowledge the great profundity of our lives, the strides we make, the glory we carry, it can stunt our gratitude and even our witness. We are those for whom Christ died! We have been bought with a price, and He has declared who we are. Will you disparage His work by ignoring His words? He has called us friends and brothers, righteous and victorious, free and accepted, triumphant heirs, the temple in which He lives.

Who Does God Say That I Am?
I came across this, and have bookmarked it to read on the daily. I hope you read it. It's a profound reminder of the truth, and I hope it changes the way we live. (And that's just the highlights from a vast story that is only the tip of a grand and infinite mystery!) I'm telling you, this stuff is amazing.

food and friends and stuff




Do you have any idea how many times I've tried to write a blog post in the last couple of months? Well, you might have an idea, because no doubt you too have a life and too many things you'd like to do. I've been craving creativity these days; I think it's the fall weather. I long to write and get these half-developed thoughts and ideas and emotions down on paper, as I haven't been able to do somehow, for months. But I'm feeling inspired, guys. The rain and thunder recently is doing wonders for my psyche. I'm sure the yoga doesn't hurt either, although I've noticed the benefit (as well as the pain lol) mostly in my physical body. In this beloved month of September I'm recommitting to some things that are important to me: yoga, gratitude, journalling, optimism. Hoping that this cycle of looking up and breathing deep will also carry me into more walks in the park, more poetry and blogging, more art. Edie and her challenge have been instrumental in training my mindset in such areas. It's like having a life-coach for a month (a month meant to give you the tools to go forth and life-coach thyself).
I pray that the benefits of it will lift me right into October, and trickle down through my habits and thought-processes, and keep popping up in my conversation and writings.
In September I've been working on re-training my mindset: jump-starting motivation, gratitude, (talking to myself rather than listening to myself) etc. And I started doing yoga everyday again. But  my various and sundry health-issues are cropping up again, and I'm realizing I need to take more strides in the direction of my health. So in October I'm going to do Whole30! Full on and no cheating, as whole30 should be, and out of the way before visiting and the season of Thanksgiving is upon us. (I am NOT sacrificing gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin pie and stuffing forever. They're just out in October.)

So here's to feeling better, to doing hard things, to getting back some energy. Here's to finding new recipes, and challenging our daily habits, and stopping the aching joints. I plan to do some daily instagraming to keep myself amused (and accountable), and journalling to keep track of my food discoveries and just how I feel each day. Hopefully I'll be back on here regularly to either talk about what I'm learning food-wise, or to completely distract myself from all food thoughts and to explore creativity and ideas in different avenues.

I need to post this before this draft to gets lost, unfinished. I'll end with a couple of articles and a podcast that have been reminding me of beauty and friendship lately. Let's invest!

We Read for Beauty -Sarah Clarkson

Women's Friendship in Film and Television -podcast with Joy Clarkson

You Won't Make It Alone -DG article

Starting the morning right

I don't have time for a real post this morning, as I'm headed up north with the family for a rare bit of vacay. But I started my morning with gratitude, and with this lovely yoga-sesh (one of my all-time favorites), and let me tell you: it's a great way to start your day. My heart and my spine feel so alive this morning! I had to share.



More later. Here's hoping the north woods and great lakes rejuvenate the artistic side of my brain!

September


With the beginning of September, my notebooking starts in earnest. I did some priming of the pump last week, and I've joined Edie Wadsworth for a more guided, encouraged, and spurred-on version of this month. I always use autumn (I count September in there too--so I start with my birthday, which is TODAY!) as a time to take stock: a jumping off point, so that hopefully I continue throughout the whole "school year" with the journaling, studying, and awareness necessary to expand my mind and love my life.
(apologies for the Paul-ine sentences)

So yesterday, at Edie's prompting, I took stock, made notes, and 'rated' certain areas of life that are important to me. And I cried.
It takes brutal honesty with oneself, to make progress, and often that is the very thing I run from. I hide the truth from myself because I don't want to deal with it with God. Because facing that kind of hurt or discontent or shame is brutal. I hate admitting that I'm unhappy, because I know I have a beautiful life. I don't like thinking about bad habits until I know how to fix them (which of course won't happen till I face them)...

But with these kinds of assessments, it's easy to get caught up in where you're stuck: to feel that it will necessarily be a long time before you're better again--to believe that you cannot walk in wholeness before you've addressed all your struggles and confusions. But my Bible-reading this morning reminded me--Jesus invites us to walk in HIS wholeness. To simply look to Him. 
He came for the broken.

Yes, healing can be a journey, a long troubled road. Sanctification is long-term, ruts are real, and addressing old wounds can be necessary. 
But don't let that stop you from walking straight into the arms of Jesus now. 
Don't turn away from His smile.
Walking with your head held high is always appropriate with the Father and Brother we've got.

"Therefore if anyone is Christ he is a new creation: the old has passed away, behold, the new has come!" -2Cor.5:17

That passage was at the top of my devos this morning, and I immediately, went: yess🙌: Don't let grief over your sin keep you thinking about it and identifying with it. Hurl it from you. You are a new creation. Of course we may have to do that again tomorrow (probably). But don't let shame keep you from walking away: "Go, and sin no more" Jesus says. In another of the passages from my morning, He even says, "neither do I condemn you" --Think of that!

I turned to Psalms next, and today's reading was chapter 51. And for some reason today, this familiar passage felt like a particularly gracious invitation. This broken-hearted passage addressing sin and shame and depravity, was for me today, a smile.
We are not left to ourselves. Laid out before me were the words to say: a prayer of repentance and faith, needing only my heart behind it. An invitation to call my sin sin, ask to be emptied and refilled, that I might turn and praise--turn and teach others the very truth of God that has so lifted me.
Forgive me by your power and love, and restore me to your delight.

"Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit." -Ps.51:12

This does not lessen the need to seize your life with both hands, but increases it. This didn't dampen my mood for a September of transformation: it established it. Jesus has smiled upon me, and by his light, I will see glory again. 
It's a reminder that this CAN be day one. A clean slate.
Come to Me. Be made new.
"if you tarry till you're better, you will never come at all"

Because it's cyclical, you see. I knew that there was no way I could motivate myself, or face my baggage, without the smile of God. And I knew that all my rubbish warranted anything but that. And yet, with my eyes cast down, how could I see the Lion's tears? Does He not care more about it than even you do yourself?

When I began, even in my numbness, to write it down... to let myself be broken by the truth... what did He send through the cracks in my soul? Sunshine. Dandelions. A new day. A whole year of newness.
I begged from my blankness that He change my desires, He answered.
Open your hands. He will fill them.

"I hear a sound I recognize
You lift my chin, and seek my eyes.
A song of love you sing to me
I ache to sing it back to thee"

My yoga teacher says, "don't decide where it ends". But every time we step onto the mat we decide where it begins. Here. Step onto the mat. Turn to look to Jesus. Breathe in; breathe out. The hardest part is over. You have begun.
Do you want to want Him?
Ask. He loves to give.

A place to dance

Okay so last night I was thinking: this is just dumb. I can't think of a good name for my home, why am I wasting the mental energy on this? I can think of so many almost good ones, or almost think of so many really good ones. I can think of brilliant names for places that just don't fit my apartment. I've had some excellent suggestions, none of which I can really imagine day-in, day-out referring to my home as. Which is important. Yes I want it to be fun, possibly literary, and evocative of me and the home I create, but it can't be too intense a name, or I'll never use it in normal conversation. On the other hand, I thought of (and had suggested to me) some hilariously ridiculous ones that I nearly went with just because they were so funny. But I really wanted something with a little more meaning.

Today, as I've pretty much decided what I'm going to call my little home-on-earth, I've decided this search for the perfect name has been hilarious and rewarding. Hopefully next post I'll have a collection of quotes and excerpts about small cozy spaces and whatnot, but for now, I'll share from my notes...

Inspiration: probablyblue studios, Mole End, Hobbit hole, Toad hall, Fairacre, Crinkleroot corner, Bagshot row, Bramblyhedge, Bucklebury,

Honorable mentions: 
pocket-pad of blue-bumbliness, 
MARTY  (My Artsy Residence is a Tardis Yo) {blue and seemingly bigger on the inside}
The Meriadoc
Bumblebury
Merry Gold Place

Runners-up:
The Blue Legume
Comfort Cove
The Falafel
Mushroom Basket

I am genuinely attached to all of those. And I really think I'm going to keep a list of all the names I (and others) come up with, as an ongoing story for the new place.
It's a great way to incorporate stuff you love (including non-sensical humor). To be reminded of favorite books and song-lyrics and all manner of stuff. I hope to keep a running list, and as I say: post quotes and things, and more name ideas. Even though I think I've decided....

How can I not call it the Dandelion Den?


New digs

I've moved, my friends! My adventures in the city continue, but in a new vein. Year three in the city begins phase two: renting solo. And I'm loving it.

I'm a little behind on sleep lately. Between packing, cleaning the old place, and organizing the new place, I've stayed busy. And of course there's still work (make all the coffee--roast coffee, train newbies), and soccer on Thursday nights (ow), and church stuff (I officially became a member last week!).

It's all been good, but a handful. {I just took a deep breath and something cracked in my neck. Clearly I need to get back to yoga with Adriene now that I have AC!} And God has come through again and again, just as He says. Somehow I can still end up stressing, even though He always comes through for me. But He is also eternally patient. Thanks be to God! A trailer was available when I needed it. Friends showed up in town when I was looking for a hand. Other friends blessed me with a window A/C unit. The list could go on of course: my manager was very accommodating; the last days of cleaning the Pineapple House with Amy were a blast. I really mean that. It was a chore to get that big old house up to snuff, but it was also terribly satisfying, and great bonding-time: dubstep, magic-erasers, hard cider, and all. Thanks to all for the prayers!

So I've moved into a tiny little studio apartment, and am wracking my brain for a name for it. My next post will be of the pictures I just took of it all put together (!!) ...and hopefully I'll have thought up a name as well. I am taking suggestions btw

first night
first breakfast
first tea
 
first cake