New Hobby! (And secret Instagram account…) {#95}

Remember my 101 Things list? I’ve crossed off another item!

Do you ever feel the need to be creative? Do you ever have so much inspiration pent up inside that you feel like you might explode! I sure do! Most times, I don’t really know what to do about it!

So back in late winter/early spring, I took up a new hobby!

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Handlettering!

I’m really not great at it, but it is so much fun!!

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I’m still working on refining my own “style.”

A little watercolor “doodling!”

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I’ve been asked a couple of times to create some artwork for others, which has been so fun and I feel so honored!

I was even asked to letter a sign for our Wesleyan Church General Conference! Talk about wow!

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That was my first really public display of my lettering, with the exception of my lettering Instagram account!

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Hop on over there and give me a follow to keep up with my lettering. (I typically keep it off my personal account.) I’ve kept this a secret until now! Ta-da!!

I’m so excited about this new hobby! It’s so much fun and I hope you’ll follow along!

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Friday Things

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There’s something special about Fridays, right? I work a normal Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 kind of job. At least, mostly. I don’t mean that in any bad sort of way. I love my job. I get up on Monday mornings feeling great about the work I go to do. Not everyone can say that.

But it’s being in my office for more hours Monday through Friday than I am awake at my own house that make Fridays so special. The week has slowed down, mostly, and there is a stillness about Friday mornings that I love, while at the same time having an anticipation for what the weekend holds.

I’d like to start something new around here. On Fridays, I’d like to dish about things swirling around in my head. This can be a way for me to get out all the random thoughts that have no place of their own inside my own brain, while also being a place to share fun things I find around the web. So join me?

  • Are you one of those people who keep a hundred different tabs open in your internet browser at all times? I am. There are a handful that are always open so that I can get to them quickly. Then there are those that I open with intentions to read them later. Sometimes, after a few days, there are so many open tabs that when I need to jump between them quickly, I can’t always find what I need and it makes my browser laggy. I just used this comparison when explaining my brain to two different people this week. In my brain, I always have tabs open, with tons of information swirling around and around, and my mind will jump between tabs when I feel like I need to think about something specific. This happens constantly. There is no time when my brain is not going 90 miles a minute. This may sound like it leads to productivity and fast-paced-ness, but often, it leads the exact opposite: stalling out. It feels really good to close tabs when I have finished processing a thought! Hence this blog post. :)
  • I’m really into Shane & Shane lately. I go through moods where they are at the top of my playlist. The last two weeks have been like that. This one and this one are my favorite two songs right now.
  • A couple of weeks ago, I caught a stomach bug from my son, who I’m sure brought it home from daycare. The bad part is that I didn’t have an appetite for about 6 days. The good part is that the virus itself was short-lived and I lost 5 pounds!
  • Today is graduation for the seniors at the university where I work. I’m going to miss so many of these knuckleheads! I have three work study students graduating! The office just won’t be the same without them!
  • I have been crossing things off my 101 Things list! I have some blog posts coming soon! Have you ever done a list like this? I’m having so much fun!

Okay, 5 things is enough for now. How do you sort your thoughts? Do you “brain dump” like this or do you have a more organized way?

Out of Sorts – A Book Review {#11.1}

Earlier this week, I posted about my 101 Things in 1001 Days Challenge. This weekend, I was able to cross off part of #11!

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In my Ash Wednesday post from last week, I referenced Sarah Bessey’s new book, Out of Sorts, and mentioned that I had ordered it through Amazon. It came on Friday night and I devoured every word on Saturday.

I love it. Every word. Every sentiment.

It might be the only time I’ve read a whole book in one day.

After reading her words, I felt like I had run a spiritual marathon. I finished it in just a few hours on Saturday, and I felt like I had been through so many highs and lows, so much nodding of my head, and so many times that I felt, “Me, too.” I learned so much about Jesus and myself, and I now understand so many things about myself that I struggled with before. Many times, I read something new for the first time, and many other times, I felt like she was writing the words I had in my heart all along.

In the first chapter, this is how she describes her book:

“It’s about the beautiful things we might reclaim and the stuff we may decide to kick to the curb. It’s a book about making peace with unanswered questions and being content to live into the answers as they come. It’s about being comfortable with where we land for now, while holding our hands open for where the Spirit leads us next. It’s about not apologizing for our transformation and change in response to the unchanging Christ.

Really, it’s a book about not being afraid.”

She had me. Hook, line, and sinker. It was such a clarifying, redemptive time for me. I will spend much time in the coming days and weeks re-reading parts that are relevant, and I can say that all parts are so relevant to me.

I have to whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve walked with Jesus, how many church services you’ve sat through, what kind of tradition  you were brought up in, or if you weren’t brought up in any religious tradition at all, this book is for you.

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My reading buddies would agree.

*Amazon links are affiliate links.
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101 Things in 1001 Days – The Lowdown

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Do you have a bucket list? I’ve never had one.

Do you have a running to-do list in your head of things that aren’t immediately necessary but you’ve been meaning to do them? My list is a mile long.

If you’ve made either of these lists, or juggled both of these lists, then 101 Things in 1001 Days is absolutely for you!

I came across this idea on The Lazy Genius’s blog, loved it, and I started my own. The idea is that you create a list of 101 things that you’d like to do, and give yourself 1001 days to complete the entire list. My list officially started on January 1, 2016 and the timer runs out on September 28, 2018. It seems like a long time, but I have a feeling it will pass pretty quickly! I’m only up to about 50 or so items, and the first thing on my list is to finish the list, but I’m really looking forward to marking things off! As I complete each item, I’ll mark it off the list and post the details about it!

(I discovered that this idea started from the Day Zero Project, so jump over there and read up on the specifics.)

So what kinds of things go on the list? Well, anything from, “Eat one box of girl scout cookies in two or more sittings” (but who’d want to do that anyway?) to, “Ride a donkey to the bottom of the Grand Canyon” (who’d want to do that either?). The whole point is that they are personally meaningful and specific enough to measure. Don’t just say, “Get into better shape.” Say, “Work out three times a week for six weeks,” or something.

So on with it. Hope on over to my page here, or click 101 Things up there at the top.

Have you done this challenge before? What kinds of things were on your list? Please share! I need more inspiration!

 

An Ash Wednesday First

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Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

This week, I attended my very first Ash Wednesday service.

It was lovely. In fact, lovely doesn’t even begin to describe it. It was somber and serious and beautiful. There were prayers and readings and I’ve been in church all my life but it was a much different service than I’ve ever attended.

The church I grew up in and the church I attend now have never had a traditional Ash Wednesday service, so I never knew what I was missing.

Every year before Easter, I get into a weird spiritual funk. Not bad, necessarily, but I feel the weight of Easter all throughout the season of Lent.

I guess that’s kind of the point, though, right? Growing closer to Jesus by remembering and honoring the sacrifice He made for us?

Sarah Bessey wrote a post on Tuesday that I found Wednesday. Sitting at my desk, real life happening all around, I read her words and tears streamed down my face. She was saying all the same things I was feeling but could not articulate.

“I couldn’t seem to bring myself to go to the stadium-style church with light shows and happy-clappy choruses. I found myself craving a God who would meet me in lament and silence and darkness.”

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I go to a happy-clappy church like Sarah references. I love my church, but during Lent? I don’t want happy-clappy. I want white space. I want clarity. I crave silence and reverence and I find myself standing around screaming on the inside, “Don’t you people know what Christ did for us? He didn’t stand in the garden raising in hands in praise and worship singing, ‘Lead me where my trust is without borders.’ He fell on His face and begged, ‘Please don’t make me do this…’ and we’re all standing around singing about hope and not being shaken?”

Really mature, right?

I want to walk through Lent remembering the suffering of my Savior, because if I can hang my head in reverence and remember what he went through to take and drink the cup that had been given to him, then when the stone rolls away, when our Savior rises, when Resurrection Sunday is here, my suffering makes way for relief, my weariness turns to celebration, and my tears become beautiful songs! It’s only after the Resurrection that I can confidently sing about going out into the world and trusting and celebrating and having hope. It’s only after the 40 days of remembrance that I can fully live in the freedom and trust that my debt has been paid in full.

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Sarah goes on to say, “…there in the liturgy of Ash Wednesday, as we prayed and read and worshipped through the admission of our sin, I released a breath I didn’t know I had been holding.

Finally. Finally someone was acknowledging the shadows, the grief, the repentance, the sometimes inescapable sorrow of our existence.”

How poetic those words when inside I am only feeling trapped, confused, and desperate. When reading her post Wednesday, I finally felt like it was okay to feel these things, because, after all, we aren’t the ones who can save ourselves. I was jealous that she met Jesus in a quiet place of reverence, and relieved by the possibility that I might, too. In years past, I have felt wracked with guilt when going to any other church besides my own, even if just for a service, but in reading her words, I gave myself permission experience something new. And, y’all, it was beautiful.

Sidenote: The post by Sarah Bessey Wednesday is actually an excerpt from her book, Out of Sorts. I finished reading the post and promptly went straight to Amazon and ordered it. Thank to Prime, I’ll have it in my hands today when I get home. Sarah doesn’t know me from Adam, and this isn’t a plug for her book since I haven’t actually read it, but if the few words here resonate with you like they did with me, hop on over and get it for yourself. You can start reading it on your Kindle or Kindle app right away.

Another writer posted on her blog yesterday, and I do actually know her and can call her my friend. She posted about possibility among seeming impossibilities, nothing about Lent or Ash Wednesday, and I cried for the second time at my desk in one day. The parallels Marian drew between a beautiful, boho chic, DIY chandelier and my own spiritual funk were haunting, and she had no idea what was going on in my heart. Gifts from The Lord, I tell you. Jump over and let her words speak to you, too.

This Lenton season, I’m going to sit in the quiet, meditate on the Word, and remember what He’s done for us, all guilt-free.

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

*Amazon links are affiliate. I’ll get a little bit (no extra cost to you!) if you purchase something through this link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Stud.

Happy 31st birthday, boo.
Here are 31 things I love about you.

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  1. The funny faces you make when I try to take pictures of you.
  2. The way you love Jesus.
  3. You’re studly. :)
  4. The way you make me laugh.
  5. The way you encourage and support me.
  6. The way you parent our son. Best dad ever.
  7. How hard you work for something that is important to you.
  8. The way you impress me.
  9. We can trust you to lead our family.
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  10. The way you flirt with me. :)
  11. Your attention to detail.
  12. You’re a good, good person.
  13. Your commitment to our family.
  14. You’re a great cook.
  15. You’re a role model for our children.
  16. You’d rather be behind the scenes than the center of attention.
  17. Your compassion for other people.
  18. You love your job.
  19. You’re a fantastic leader, but you know how to follow when needed.
  20. You are respected by everyone who knows you.
  21. You keep your promises.
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  22. You’re a great travel buddy.
  23. You’re a great driver.
  24. You have great style.
  25. You try things that I like, even if you don’t like them at first.
  26. You’re organized.
  27. You don’t care how many times I watch You’ve Got Mail. You’ll even watch it with me sometimes!
  28. You’re passionate.
  29. You make me a better person.
  30. You’re not afraid to admit when you don’t know something, but you’ll go find the answer.
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  31. You’re my best friend.

There are so many more things I could add to this list. You are the best person I know, am I’m blessed to get to celebrate your life!

One Million Thumbprints: Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

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If you were awake at all yesterday, you might have noticed that your Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest feeds were full of inspirational quotes by Martin Luther King Jr yesterday, in celebration of his birthday, and in memory of his life. He’s such an important man to remember. A man who stood up for injustice. A man who preached and lived an existence of equality, non-violence, peace, advocacy, and love for our fellow men and women. We are incredibly blessed to have such an example that has gone before us in the United States.

But I think it’s fair to say we have a long way to go before we can say that we live in the world of which he dreamed.

What’s even more unfortunate is that there are injustices down our streets, across our towns, on the other side of our countries, and in all parts of the world. Is it overwhelming to you? It sure is to me. Often, I’m paralyzed by what is to be done that could make a difference. I’m so thankful for people who are voices for the voiceless, and who are willing to move to action to make a change in the world.

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photo courtesy of 1MT

Some of my heroes in the world are the ones who risk comfort and convenience for the sake of others. Sixteen of these heroes are hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro at the beginning of March, reaching the summit on March 8th, International Women’s Day. Wow! Y’all, it’s five days of hiking!

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photo courtesy of 1MT

So why is this important?

This group is part of a larger organization called One Million Thumbprints, and is a grassroots movement to raise awareness and to stop sexual violence against women in war-torn parts of the world. You can read more about their story here. By hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro, this group of sixteen regular people, just like you and me, and proclaiming that peace is more valuable than war, women are treasures, not possessions, and sexual violence is an reprehensible reality of war that should be stopped.

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Back in October, I had the privilege of learning about 1MT and adding my thumbprint to a banner, expressing my support and solidarity for this movement. Today, I ask that you will join also in praying for and supporting this operation.

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So will you join, too? Will you raise your voice for others suffering the unspeakable? Will you give your thumbprint? Maybe skip your cup of java at the drive-thru for a few days and give money to fund this incredible movement?

Come back to the blog this week to learn of more ways that you can support 1MT!

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photo courtesy of 1MT

For more information, check out onemillionthumbprints.org and check out this video below. (If you’re reading this in your email, you might have to click over to see the video.)

To follow along in the journey, check out 1MT on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks, Facebook.

So, Friday morning, I opened Facebook to find this little gem.

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Nine years! I’ve known my husband for approximately nine years! Of course, he hasn’t been my husband all of those nine years…

We met, officially, in the fall of 2006, and while I’ll share our whole story another day, I was reminded this morning of lots of memories between then and now.

Let’s recap what’s in the screenshot up there:
* Our foster parenting announcement – last year. Early in our marriage, we decided to become foster parents, and last summer, we got our license and have been fostering ever since.
* Buying our first car together – this happened shortly after we got married.
* Our wedding – May 2009. Such a great day.
* Cody’s master’s graduation – this past summer! So proud of him!
* Snow  – two winters ago…we love snow!

But let’s talk about all the things Facebook can’t remind us of.

Let’s talk about how awkward I was on the first date when I thought he’d never ask me out again. Let’s talk about the evenings watching movies and doing homework. How about the every-other-weekend 6-hour trips to come visit me when I was still in college? What about that tiny first apartment that we loved (and still remember fondly) where we bumped into each other around every corner because it had approximately 72 square feet?

Oh, I know. We can talk about the afternoons spent grocery shopping together and the nights staying up together when one (or both!) was sick, and the hours spent watching TV and talking and laughing until our sides hurt, and all the “conversations” we’ve had to help us love each other better. All the stretching and twisting and learning and the giving up of each of us, so that there can be an “us?” Let’s talk about the times after we said “I do” when maybe we really didn’t want to, and yet we’re so glad we have.

Let’s talk about the every morning we wake up next to the morning breath and messy hair and smile because we have another day together.

Y’all, it takes so much more than love to have a really great, fun marriage. It takes like. I like my husband so much, and he likes me.

The children, the pets, the houses, the meals, the friends, the life. So much has happened in 9 years of friendship and 6.5 years of marriage that social media can’t even touch.

So thanks, Facebook, but the memories you offer me are only the beginning.

Post-#write31days Blues

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Do any of my bloggy friends have the blues after writing every day for a month and then not having anything write about? I mean, I have plenty to write about, but it seems sudden and abrasive to just jump into something else right away…

This was my third year of #write31days, so it’s not necessarily new to me. However, something was different this time around. Something about my writing changed during this series. Not necessarily from a reading perspective, but from a creating perspective. Maybe I should say something changed in ME during this series. For the first time in my LIFE, I enjoy writing. Just ask my college professors. I was the worst, most stubborn writer. I would write a paper, but only the night before, and only if I were kicking and screaming. And complaining. Always complaining. I’ve always hated it. Truthfully, I never felt like I was good at it. It was painful and uncomfortable. I never felt connected to any of that writing. It was never serious.

Even after writing this blog for however many years, I have tried to stay away from actual “writing” and stick with recipes or tutorials or whatever, because I *knew* I didn’t like to write. Writing’s not my thing. That’s not me.

Until, one day, it was. It is.

I went to Allume again this year. (And I promise, as long as my wallet will allow, I’ll keep going.) I went last year to check it out because I knew famous people would be there (and they totally were, and they were totally awesome) but I really wasn’t sure what else to expect from it.

Y’all, life change. That’s what I should have expected from it. So I went again this year, somewhat expectantly, because I knew that Allume people were my people. I knew that there would be a hotel full of women like me, women not like me, women who loved to write (I admired those so much!), and women who were just figuring out if writing fit into their lives. I knew, on some zoomed-out, large-scale level, that these women would be kindred spirits. What I didn’t expect as much, was to put real-life names and faces to those women. I made connections this year at Allume that I hope to carry with me for a long time.

Consider going to Allume next year? It really is that awesome.

My heart is full. My hands are writing. Friends, I hope you’ll stay with me on this journey. I hope that there are some words here that resonate with you.

Much love, Kindel.

#write31days: Day 31

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I’m hesitant to even write this post today because I’ve enjoyed this series so much. I’ve always said tha I’m not a writer, but throughout this series, I have found a writing stride. I’ve learned a lot about myself as a writer and as a foster parent.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this series as much as I have writing it. You can always go back and read each post in any order you’d like.

I also hope that I’ve helped shed some light on what real-life foster care looks like. It’s just identifying a need in our community and meeting that need to the best of our ability. It’s that simple.

If being a foster parent isn’t something you’d think you’d like to do, there are other ways to be involved in these kids’ lives. At Christmas, foster children need a sponsor that will take a wish list and buy gifts for the children. I can personally say that this is a big help to foster parents, as well as kids who are in group homes.

I’m so thankful that foster care has been a part of our family’s journey. It just wouldn’t seem normal otherwise. As hard as it is on the hardest days, it is absolutely worth it. It has changed me in ways that I never expected, and it has changed the whole world of one very special Little Man that I know. :)

So thanks, friends, for following along this month. And if you’re interested more in what this crazy life is like, let’s grab coffee, real or digital, and chat.

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