Lottie Moon’s Fine China

Blogtember: Share a photo of something old. Maybe something that has personal history for you, that was passed down to you, and that has special meaning to you. Tell us about it and why it’s special.lottie moon chinaThis delicate little saucer sits in front of our embarrassingly filmy kitchen window reminding me each day of its significance. Gobble had three of these dainty plates, and when she died, she passed one to each of her three granddaughters. The china belonged to Lottie Moon who spent over half her life testifying to the love of Christ among the Chinese. I pass by it every day, always remembering the two people from whom it came– the Christian faithful. Although fragile to the touch, the paper-thin porcelain has survived over 100 years in the hands of people who have chosen to protect it. I hope I follow in their example, in more ways than only taking care of  my windowsill antique. Miss you, Gobble. lottie moon china 2And with that brings the end of Blogtember. I answered 12 of the 20 prompts, so I’ll call it a success!

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Sweet southern comfort in the West

Blogtember– React to this term: comfort.

I’ve obviously skipped quite a few days of this blog challenge, and the ones I have done are out of order or very late. But I just found these pictures on my computer that I never posted and thought they fit with the above prompt. I took them while at home in Tucson this summer. November holds two trips home for me, and I can’t think of any better occasions than Alyssa’s wedding and Thanksgiving to make a paper chain countdown for. I’ve always been fairly independent when it comes to traveling across the world solo or living states away, but there is nothing better than going home. Bring on the comfort, November, bring it on. yogahomeyoga with the parents/ a painted desert sunset/ the best appetizer at north/ fourth of july pomp and circumstance/ summer flowers on a windowsill

Bananas & Tortillas

Blogtember: Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.

And there he came, around the corner.

I’ve been known to talk about Walmart before, and the trend continues.

Last Sunday night I made my way to the superstore in hopes of a simple grocery collection for the week. I trekked through the produce only to stumble upon the banana stand…with no bananas. I guess if you count yellow and brown mushpots as bananas, then there were technically 5 or 6 bundles for my choosing.

Next came the nuts. I had a healthy dish in mind that required pine nuts. I think the biggest surprise here is the whole ‘I had a dish’ part, but moving on…Out. Walmart was out. Of pine nuts?

At least I can have a turkey wrap for lunch tomorrow. Hahaha, how could you be so naive, Katelyn? Why on earth would you think Walmart would have any tortillas for your choosing? Shelf upon shelf of empty, tortilla-less space stared back at me in cruelty.

Salad? Well yes, if I wanted to spend $5 on spinach that was set to expire the next day.

All of this after my phone somehow deleted my entire grocery list.

I think it was the tortillas that sent me into a full on temper tantrum. I began flooding Walker’s phone with pictures of empty shelves and battered fruit. I walked around sulking, and my gosh I wish it had been the quiet kind. No, I chose to speak my mind. To myself. With people around. There are some strangers out there telling someone a story about a girl who just might die without her pine nuts.

How could Walmart do this to me? Don’t the managers know I work tomorrow, and how dare I have to make a second grocery trip after a long Monday at school? I was fuming. And pitying myself.

I even ran into a co-worker. Oh, Lord.

And there he came, around the corner.

A middle-aged man also hoping for a simple grocery collection for the week. A middle-aged man with obvious signs of having suffered a stroke at some point in his life. A man pushing his shopping cart with one arm and limping with each step down the aisle. A man waiting for the traffic jam to pass, because he can’t run them over weave in an out like the rest of us.

And with his turn around the corner, my life took a turn, too.

It’s these everyday ‘drastic’ turns that seem to point me in the right direction. These moments tend to mold me and shape my life more than any one, distinct event or circumstance.

I was in Walmart, a store that literally (used in the correct sense) has anything I could ever need to sustain me, but with the absence of bananas, I broke into a full out pity rage.

I’ve travelled to Africa where the weather determines sustainability. I’ve been to the border where food of plenty is not a theme. I’v volunteered in downtown Lufkin where people wait in a long line, rain or shine, to receive groceries. But don’t deny me my spinach. Don’t do that to me.

And with his turn, I turned.

My ground returned underneath me. I no longer floated around the store like a god, thinking I deserved better. I began walking on even ground with those around me. Waiting patiently to move through the aisles, smiling at those I passed, and remembering that my inability to make a certain dish is pretty much the absolute smallest problem in the entire world.

It’s in these moments I realize how pathetic I really am. Complaining and sulking about things that others wish to be their only problems.

Oftentimes I dread going to Walmart. But most times I learn more about myself than I wish to know. The issue has more to do with my entitled self than the store itself.  I’m reminded that I’m no better than any other person in that crowd of people trying to get their groceries. That the shoppers who bought the pine nuts before me deserve them just as much as I do, probably more. And that Walmart cannot ruin my life, only my terrible attitude can.

My life right now is pretty easy in comparison. Is it not my responsibility and joy to make others’ lives easier, too? One day my life won’t be so carefree, and I hope I don’t run into someone like myself that night. If someone ever tells you a story about a raging banana-holic, tell them she’s sorry. 

He came around the corner, and he changed my life.

photoI was going to post my pictures of empty shelves that I sent Walker that night, but this seemed entirely more productive.

Happy Two!

Happy anniversary to us! 20130917-221408.jpgThere wasn’t much time in our day for any type of formal celebration. In between work and Bible study we managed to fit in a few minutes of alone time. We picked up a couple slices of cookie cake (OK, a slice for me and 3 cookies of variety for him) and took them to a nearby park to enjoy together. Between a sketchy truck and the little kids loving life, there was some quality people watching going on.

We seem to have a couple of traditions we picked up for our anniversary–rain and sickness. Sadly, there was no rain today to make it 3 years in a row, but Walker is pretty sick so at least we were able to keep one alive! Today I won’t say too much about marriage and the past two years, as I still hold to what I said here. At times marriage is easy and at times it is crazy hard, but in all times I am thankful for the one I’m journeying with.

Last year’s anniversary posts here, here, and here.  20130917-221449.jpg

And now for a little Blogtember: A memory you would love to relive.

I guess for today it would be fitting to say our wedding, and yes, I would do that day again in a heartbeat. But I think this next picture (or four pictures) better represents the memories I would love to relive. Or at least remember really well. And hold on to. After devouring our cookie cake, we took a few minutes for some pictures to document our 2 year mark. This last set all started with that very first picture. You know, the one where Walker looks blind and REALLY excited about it! I think I eventually stopped laughing 5 minutes down the road somewhere. These are my favorite memories. Uninhibited responses of joy. It’s the ordinary, everyday moments that I would like to relive.

And when I could eat an entire box of Kraft Mac & Cheese without getting sick. I’d totally relive those days.

20130917-221505.jpg

For the love of phones

Blogtembera self portrait.self portrait

I love my iPhone. I do. It let’s me stay connected to my people, provides a steady stream of entertainment and gives me a sense of security when I’m lost and alone.  Not to mention it captures FUN moments like this one earlier today!

Tonight Walker and I pulled over to snap our portraits for Blogtember (a day late of course) with our phones, and then we put them away. And it felt so good. This wasn’t our first phone-free date, but each time I get a little apprehensive at the beginning. What if I need my phone?! What if somebody needs me?!

Thanks to some good friends we went to see Rhythmic Circus, a tap dancing – band performance that was out of this world. Our attention was focused on every single click of the heel, and during intermission we focused on each other. It was an incredible show. Even my non-dancing husband caught the fever as he (seriously) tap danced all the way back to the truck weaving in and out of the traffic.

As we pulled our our phones back out at the end of the night, we had no text messages, no notifications, nothing. Nobody needed us. There was no social media that just couldn’t wait (there never is). It was a night of us needing each other, and throwing away any distractions that might get in the way. I love you, iPhone, but I love people more. You will be making less and less appearances on the daily. I choose real- life interaction over status updates and Instagram likes. Let’s do today all over again tomorrow.

walker

Confessions of a shopaholic who isn’t really a shopaholic

Blogtember 7:  Share links to your favorite online shops, preferably with a few photos of your favorite items in each shop.

I thought this would be an easy post since I don’t do much shopping in Lufkin. Naturally that must mean I shop online, right? I guess I’m realizing I just don’t shop that much at all, because I can only think of one store.  I have a hard time paying full price for something unless I’m head over heels for it, but give me a sale and I fall in love quickly. I guess that’s why stores have sales…for suckers like me. I might only be able to think of one store tonight, but it’s the BEST store. I’ve talked about it on here before, and I’d be pant-less in my previous post if it hadn’t been for them. I’m a Paizlee fan through and through. I admire people who have a dream, take a chance, work hard and smart, and find success. I love their clothes. I love their prices. And most of all, I love the owners.

Now go buy you some stuff. Or me. Go buy me some stuff!

paizlee

ISFJ in da house!

Blogtember 5:  Take this short personality test and respond to your results.photo

I have a love/hate relationship with these types of tests. And with the popular extrovert/introvert discussion happening right now. So much so that I have half a post already written on the subject that I hope to finish one day. You know, when those papers get graded. But here we go!

Introverted/Sensing/Feeling/Judging

Other notable ISFJ’s… Teresa of Avila, Louisa May Alcott, Kristi Yamaguchi. KRISTI YAMAGUCHI! Did y’all hear that? My personality lines up with that of the hero who graced my childhood walls for years. The graceful figure on the posters I recently kept when my parents made me purge my belongings from their house this summer. I feel I could stop this post with just that info alone. But…

ISFJs live in a world that is concrete and kind. They are truly warm and kind-hearted, and want to believe the best of people. They value harmony and cooperation, and are likely to be very sensitive to other people’s feelings. People value the ISFJ for their consideration and awareness, and their ability to bring out the best in others by their firm desire to believe the best.

I do. In my core I believe the best in people, and occasionally I wonder if I go too far. I often find myself feeling sorry for people when others lean toward justice. Examples? I’ve been known to worry about the feelings of people like Bin Laden and the Boston Marathon bombers.

ISFJs have a rich inner world that is not usually obvious to observers. They constantly take in information about people and situations that is personally important to them, and store it away. This tremendous store of information is usually startlingly accurate, because the ISFJ has an exceptional memory about things that are important to their value systems. It would not be uncommon for the ISFJ to remember a particular facial expression or conversation in precise detail years after the event occured, if the situation made an impression on the ISFJ.

My memory would blow your mind. Just ask my high school friends. I receive calls and texts asking me if I remember so and so and who was the person that bla bla bla. I. Remember. Everything. I’m one of the most observant people you’ll ever meet. I notice the small things. The big things. And those medium things, too.  It boggles my mind when people have bad memories.

More so than other types, ISFJs are extremely aware of their own internal feelings, as well as other people’s feelings. They do not usually express their own feelings, keeping things inside. If they are negative feelings, they may build up inside the ISFJ until they turn into firm judgments against individuals, which are difficult to unseed, once set. Many ISFJs learn to express themselves, and find outlets for their powerful emotions.

I had a friend once tell me, “You are incredibly self-analytical.” Give me a few days and I can almost always figure out what exactly I’m feeling and where it’s stemming from. I notice the feelings of others, too. And I worry about them. I can usually pick up on a person’s emotions, reactions or moods when others might not notice. I don’t often express myself verbally so most people don’t realize this side of me. My outlet? Writing.

ISFJs need positive feedback from others. In the absence of positive feedback, or in the face of criticism, the ISFJ gets discouraged, and may even become depressed.

Ya, I don’t like being criticized.  Don’t criticize me. Or anybody for that matter. Let’s just all stop criticizing each other. Don’t we all criticize ourselves enough. At least be constructive. With good intentions. 

The ISFJ is warm, generous, and dependable. They have many special gifts to offer, in their sensitivity to others, and their strong ability to keep things running smoothly. They need to remember to not be overly critical of themselves, and to give themselves some of the warmth and love which they freely dispense to others.

It’s true. I can offer grace, compassion and praise to others, but don’t ask me to do  give the same to my own person.  If I could only count how many times Walker has told me I’m too hard on myself. And with that, I’ve talked about myself way too much for one post.

So, that’s me. Me and Kristi Yamaguchi.

All quotes from here.

Australia is Trying to Kill Me

Blogtember 4:  A story about a time you were very afraid.

20130814-154912.jpgWhen I read this prompt, two memories immediately came to mind, and funny enough both took place in Australia. The first when we went to wildlife park and my dad and I found ourselves surrounded by a pack of emus with pellet food in our hands. How we escaped getting pecked to death I still can’t figure out. The second on a flight from Adelaide to Cairns when our plane suddenly and drastically dropped in altitude, and the ever-calm, encouraging friend next to me (that’s you Judy!) let out a scream not even a horror movie could compete with. We were plunging and it felt as if the wings went perpendicular. I knew it was over. The pilot steadied us but there seemed to be very little talking for the remainder of the flight. I sat with my knees against my chest and let out a hallelujah upon landing. The thought of flying home to the U.S. a few days later was terrifying. But the kind of terror in which all you can do is laugh. Thank goodness I had Stacia next to me in coach, you know, since my parents had thrown us back there while they wined and dined in business class. I used to like a little turbulence. I thought it added excitement to a potentially boring ride, but I now grip the armrest with the strength of Goliath at even the slightest bump. And with that boring story, I’m caught up and going to bed!

Plan B

Blogtember 3Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered.

This advice has almost become something of a joke in our family, not because we don’t believe it, but because we have to remind ourselves so often. There is always a Plan B. 

I’m pretty sure it all started with my Grandmother, and now we have notepads and refrigerator magnets and lots of inside jokes reminding us to stop freaking out and remember there’s always another way. Things might not turn out the way we’d like, but it doesn’t mean life is over. I have to remind myself of this all. the. time. I’m no expert at always seeing Plan B, but in the past year or so I’ve tried to embrace it. There are still tears and worry and disappointment, but Plan B says calm down, take a breath and remember that the end of Plan A wasn’t the end of me.

I think, too, that it’s more than just a reaction. It’s also preparation. Being aware that tough times do come in surprising ways, and knowing there is life even so. I guess Plan B isn’t much of a plan at all, it’s more of an attitude and approach to life. Here’s to Plan B! Now go get yourself a refrigerator magnet to remind you!Beautiful-Yet-Inspiring-Typography-Design-Poster-Quotes-2Source