Friday, March 27, 2020

Current Faves: Quarantine Edition

I'll be honest with you, it was a bit of a challenge to narrow down all of the possible titles for this Current Faves post, mostly because everything keeps changing so quickly! Some previous possible options were:

'Flights Are Super Cheap, Where Should We Go?' Edition

'Please Stop Yelling At Me, I JUST Washed My Hands' Edition

'My Hands Are Cracked And Bleeding, ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?' Edition

'How Do I Refund This Unusable Airline Ticket?' Edition

'It's Time To Stop Making Out With Each Other, Please Take This Seriously' Edition

'A Great Substitute For Toilet Paper Is Kale' Edition

'Jesus Is Obviously Coming Back, Why Are We Still Doing Push-Ups?' Edition

The list goes on and on. In the end I decided to keep it simple, but I thought you'd appreciate knowing how difficult this process was.

I will admit that so far, other than my kids forcing me to sit through at least 87 musical reenactments of Frozen 2 (I must say, they're either really starting to get good or I'm losing my mind sooner than I expected) and me having to repeatedly tell my son that we are not going to rename our dog "Fart", we've been doing surprisingly well. I've felt a lot of God's grace the past 2 weeks in the forms of my kid's playing really well together (a miracle in itself), the weather being beautiful, and just a sense of peace and hope that has kept me going one day at a time. I've actually really appreciated doing life in the slow lane, especially because of how busy we all tend to be. 
Although we all know that too much of a good thing doesn't end well, so we'll see how long my sunny disposition will last before I go cuckoo for cocoa puffs and start buying dozens of feral cats online to be my new best friends..
Only time will tell I guess!

In the meantime, I'm happy to hunker down and let the amazing medical professionals do the hero work that they trained for at the Hogwarts School for Jedi Masters and Agents of SHIELD or wherever they graduated from, and pray that this thing goes away quickly.

Here's some of the things that have kept me enjoying this weirdly surreal season of life:

1.) My New Puppy

Any of you who keep up with me on social media know that we have a new addition to our household in the form of a Very Good Boy named Captain, and there could not have been a better time for him to join us! He's really settled in with us well, and we've had so much more opportunity to focus on house training and crate training him than if we were still the busy little bees that we were 3 weeks ago. He is such a sweetie and we absolutely love him.

Another reason this dog's presence in our life has been serendipitous timing, is that that it's forced me to go outside multiple times a day, and getting so much fresh air on all of these walks with him has been really good for my mental health.
(Also my physical health, because I've literally been baking almost every day, so unless I try to balance all of these delicious carbs out with some exercise, I'm going to look like Jabba the Hut when this is over.)

He's been surprisingly hard to take pictures of because he's fallen slightly in love with me, or at least that's what I assume the emotion is behind someone trying to constantly sit on your face, rendering photography attempts futile.
(But the feeling is entirely mutual, even though I express myself in much more dignified fashions. Like spending one of his first nights here sleeping on the cold, hard bathroom floor with him, in a puddle of his urine. You know.. that kind of dignity.)

2.) Knives Out 

Oh, you guys. This was a good one.

I remember Knives Out being in theaters this last winter, around the same time that we were all going to see the last Star Wars (where was the stimulus package to get all of our money back from THAT, huh? Whatever, I'm over it.) and I couldn't wait to see it.
It became digitally available last week and let me tell you, we enjoyed every minute of it.

After the death of a rich family patriarch (Christopher Plummer), which very obviously looks like a suicide, a detective (Daniel Craig) joins the police investigation to interview the deceased's family and staff to find out what really happened. Seeing different perspectives of the previous night's events from each person who is questioned, you try to put the pieces all together of what actually happened, right up until the middle of the movie, when it shows how Christopher Plummer's character actually died. BUT THEN it becomes all about certain characters trying to keep the truth hidden, keeping you on the edge of your seat with twists and turns and a surprising finale.
 The whole movie has the colorful excitement of a quintessential whodunnit, while still adding original intrigue and constant suspense throughout the story.
The cast of actors did amazing, and it was so refreshing for a modern movie to be made like a classic mystery, but with better writing and quality filmmaking, and still free of gore and smut.

You HAVE to see it. And may I respectfully point have no excuse not to.
 I mean, what else do you have going on right now? I say that in love.

Available to rent or buy on Amazon prime.

3.) Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

I had seen multiple people recommend this book over the past couple years, but it wasn't until my friend Karie grabbed my hand and with wide, crazy eyes pleaded with me to read it, that I jumped on the bandwagon. I recognized those very same crazy eyes, because I too wear them whenever I passionately try to talk someone into experiencing something that I just know they will love, so obviously I took her recommendation seriously.
And she was not wrong, you guys. This book is a gem.
Written from the point of view of an eccentric single woman, Eleanor Oliphant, it follows her thoughts and life happenings as her usually-consistent world starts changing for the better and she's slowly forced to confront the things in her past that have made her keep people at a distance for so long. The whole story is just charming and witty and weird and delightful, and you can't help but root for this odd, quirky heroine (who has some serious Dwight Schrute tendancies) and be overwhelmed with compassion for her as she stumbles through this sweet, hard journey of making a beautiful life for herself.

Get it on Amazon HERE either in actual book form, or audiobook (which a free trial is available for right now!)

 4.) DIY Card Display Boards

If there was ever a time in life to get our craft on... that time is now.

This particular project has been on my to-do list for over a year now, and I'm so tickled to finally have it done.
My guest room downstairs has a travel theme to it, and I really wanted a fun, pretty way to display a lot of the postcards that I've collected over the years from our different travels and the ones we've been sent by friends and family. I saw these boards on Pinterest and my search was over.

They're just stained 2x4's (but you could just as easily use pallets!) with bulldog clips tacked into them. So easy and fun and rustic. And I love that you could use them for displaying christmas cards or photos, I might even make more just for those purposes.
Here are links for the bulldog clips and tacks, and I have full faith in you to find the wood on your own. (So many jokes, so little time.)

Anyway, that's all for now.
 I really hope that the next time I post about my current faves, it will be something along the lines of 'We're Finally Free!' Edition.

And hopefully not 'I Take Back My Advice, Kale Does Not Work' Edition.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

A Confession On International Women's Day

Well I’ve got a few things to get off my chest on International Women's Day.

First of which is...
I used to think that this day was really stupid. 

(Bear with me here.) 

I think that a lot of that apathy came from the fact that I was blessed to be raised in a home where the women (along with our thoughts/giftings/status) who lived in and came through it, were just as valuable as the men. Our loud family table, filled with food and wine and belly laughs and heated debates, was always surrounded by an organic diversity of gender and color and culture. And frankly, it kind of ruined me a little.
Only in the sense that for a while it made me a little naive about the reality of sexism(and racism) and fueled a confusion and lack of understanding when it came to modern feminism. 
I also noticed early on that a lot of behavior coming out of hollywood and political arenas done in the name of “equality” were (and often still are) actually just a fight for superiority. A fight for the tables to turn and to finally have the upper hand, the same hand that has been sadly wielded with abuse and neglect by men for so many generations before us. But I wasn’t angry at men, on the contrary, I’ve always treasured the male relationships in my life, and never wanted to be apart of furiously blaming them for misogyny they weren’t guilty of.

So it took a while for my heart to be softened enough to see past those wrongful responses of women to the brokenness and injustice done to them, and the pain that came with it. (Not that that excuses or justifies bad behavior.) Unfortunately I had to learn some of those lessons through my own experiences of being dismissed and undervalued, and watching the wonderful women next to me treated the same. But still, I can appreciate now how those painful mistreatments were used to shatter my sexism-free bubble and fuel a compassion and desire to walk in a healthy middle ground, without falling into the dysfunctional ditches of extremes.

So now on International Women’s Day, I no longer roll my eyes and grumble “if there was an International Men’s Day, everyone would lose their freaking minds...”. 
While there is still a lot about modern feminism that I will always speak out against (because it's often sexist itself or just plainly objectifying), I don't make the mistake any more of throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Today I feel the pure and wholesome and righteous celebration of womanhood and I’m here for it.

I’m thankful today to God for creating two genders, both different in design but equal in value. 
I’m thankful for how special God made women, in the ways we relate to men and in the ways we are unique from them.
I’m thankful that in spite of our world history and current climate of oppression and mistreatment, that redemption is coming. That someday we will all see each other rightly, as people who all needed a savior. And in heaven, as co-heirs to His kingdom. Which neither gender earned more of a right to, but that was freely given because of the cross.

I’m thankful today for the men in my life. 
For my dad and my husband, who continuously point out my giftings and cheer me on to ‘go for it’. To run, not walk, towards who I’m called to be, and put the insecurities and lies I believe in their rightful place. 
I’m thankful for my brothers, who were one of the reasons I was so ignorant to sexism for so long, because even when we wouldn’t agree on things, we always respected and valued each other’s opinions, and I didn't know any other way.
 I’m thankful for the male friends I have who love me like their sister. The ones who give me big bear hugs, without treating my personality or body as something ‘potentially problematic’ or something to be scared of.
I'm thankful for my pastors and my church, for honoring women and very visibly demonstrating that they believe what we bring to the table is important. For being intentional about making that belief a natural part of our community culture.

I’m thankful today for the women in my life. 
The family and friends who all bring beautiful and unique colors to the painting of my world.
I’m thankful for the women who are fierce and brilliant fighters for what’s right and true and good, even at great cost.
I’m thankful for the women who are gloriously strong, because they are openly and vulnerably weak, finding their strength and freedom in Jesus. 
I’m thankful for the women who encourage, uplift, and breathe life into every room they’re in, never stepping on other women to feel a little better about themselves. 
I’m thankful for women who are creative and poetic, and the ones who are faithful and organized, both of whom I learn so much from.
I’m thankful for the women who are devastatingly funny, while still remaining classy and kind.
I’m thankful for the women who serve and sacrifice with ferocious love and gentleness, never stepping on the men and children in their life to get ahead or find narcissistic purpose.
These women are my heroes, and I make a point to be around them as often as I can, because we become what we behold.

And I'm thankful today that God gave me a daughter.
I look at her at 8 years old, and I already want to be like her.
She is sweet and caring and joyful in a way that's like the sun coming out on a cloudy day.
I love that she loves to learn and that she comes alive when she gets to teach. 
I love that she loudly sings off-key with confidence and passion and is the first to volunteer to help out with just about anything. I love that she is typically found cheerfully playing with the quiet, awkward kids, but never seems to really notice that about them or that she has befriended the outcasts.
I'm inspired by how beautiful she is on the inside as much as she is on the outside, 
and I feel a serious weight of responsibility I have to her, that makes me get on my knees to pray for both of us.

I pray that God would exemplify womanhood at it's truest and loveliest, to both of us.
That we will not only be able to flourish in our femininity, but also be humble and teachable.
That when it comes to our fears and heartaches and all of the things that make us feel out of control,  that we wouldn't scramble to comfort ourselves in destructive ways or take matters into our own hands. But that we would find peace in trusting the One who is in control, and comfort in the fact that we are not.

I pray that we both see, in our minds and in our hearts, how God delights in His daughters. 
So that on days like today, we can delight in each other too and in the beauty of our maker.