Thursday, October 28, 2010

Family Traditions

One of the joys of my life has always been some of our family traditions.  Usually connected to holidays somehow, there are  times of year and particular milestones that dually bring about fond memories of the past and childlike excitement for future events.  Whether you 'celebrate' particular holidays or not, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Everything from birthdays to christmas and including that random thing your family always did/does even though you're not sure why.

Neighborhood walks with the dogs - a small pleasure

After getting married, Randy and I have had more than one conversation where we look at each other in disbelief, only to qualify it by saying, "It's not (enter a holiday or event) without (enter a specific tradition)! For example, I come from a large family.  Thanksgiving dinner rarely consists of less than 25 people at least and more towards the 50 range, depending on which side we're talking about.  It doesn't feel like Thanksgiving unless there's a little bit of commotion and random conversations going on in every corner.  As opposites attracting usually creates, Randy's Thanksgiving traditions consist of 10 people or less (at least in my short years with him), and a much slower pace throughout the day.

Showers of food, fun and gifts for the arrival of a new child
Why do I bring this up?  First of all, I think its fun to compare those things in life that just seem solid and automatic, as though there's no other way in the world to do it. As kids, don't we assume that about a lot of things?  Anyway, this is also on my mind because I'm about to start my own family with the addition of a baby Butler and that requires the melding of two childhoods and histories, traditions and all.  No matter what you choose to honor, celebrate or acknowledge as a parent, children grow up with traditions.  I have a strong desire to ensure my kids have really positive and meaningful traditions in their life and I'm looking for some really fun, yet uncommon ideas.  Of course, halloween, thanksgiving, christmas, valentines, easter, etc. have been highlighted in our society, but there's a lot more to living and life than these, as we all know.  There are traditions for the start of a sport season, broken hearts, successes, anniversaries, etc.  Your family is unique and as such your traditions will be as well.  BUT, anybody have any fun/fond traditions that they either had as a kid or have started with your own?

Cedar Creek Camp - a lifetime tradition

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Some Inspiration

It is always fun to discover really cool things, like music or an awesome idea, but doesn't it make it just awesome when it originates with someone you actually know?  We can all ooh and aww over someone in the media spotlight, but its a little empty unless we actually have spoken to them before and they know your name.  Today, I'd like to share with you a few people who I think are awesome, who do some cool things and regularly inspire me.

Hannah Fancher does amazing things all the time that encourage me, inspire me and push me to be better.  She has 5 beautiful children and works regularly to improve herself and her family in so many ways.  I don't even have one child on the outside yet and I'm certain that she is working circles around me daily.  Perhaps I'm slightly biased because she's Randy's cousin, but I am thankful for the inspiration her and her family give me, all the way from California!

Alisha Hurt Photography is the brain child of none other than Alisha Hurt!  Even before we were formally introduced and I simply knew of her through friends, I've been such a fan of her work.  In some circles, photographers are a dime a dozen, getting pretty much the same thing every where you go.  This girl, however, has yet to disappoint.  She always has some creative and exciting take on all the work she accepts.  I love it, it always makes me smile and reminds me that its good to enjoy life.  She currently resides in California if you're interested in hiring her. Otherwise, her blog is continually bringing a bit of joy to the world!

Diane Hullet is a friend who can inspire me in multiple ways (the girl is so much fun to be around), but for this post I specifically am drawn to her sewing skills.  She might argue that she doesn't really know what she's doing and just plays around with stuff for her own benefit.  BUT, I have it on good authority that there are more than a few people walking around with clothing she has made or altered for them.  If she had a business or a blog, I would SO promote it.  What is most inspiring to me is that she may not 'know what she's doing' all the time, but she freely allows herself to experiment and learn.  That is something that a lot of us (or at least me) hinder in ourselves.  We accept that we don't know something and then somehow that turns into we never can or will!  The freedom to try, especially for Diane, turns into awesome creations and skills.

Isn't it great that the world is made up of so many DIFFERENT people. It gives us a lot of inspiration and room to grow!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Doing Good

Who can find a virtuous wife For her worth is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
                                                                                                                                 -Proverbs 31:10-12

Whether you are single or married, or even man or woman for that matter, it is worthy goal to have these words said of us.  Sometimes in the middle of busy weekends or chaotic work weeks, its easy for me to slip into a victim mode, throwing a pity party for things that didn't go right or extra work I have to do.  Its so easy to lose sight of my life through God's eyes and my purpose in other people's lives.  May we all be a person who longs to do right more than be right, and to give life more than get even.

October is my favorite month and we only have 2 weeks left of it!  Take note of the yards decorated today and sometime this week, take advantage of a pumpkin flavored something!  October 2010 will never be here again! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

A little fun for the weekend!

Here are a couple of videos of some sisters you might have heard of.  I'd forgotten about the band She & Him (featuring Zooey Deschanel) and stumbled across a new video, which reminded me of how much I enjoy them.  And there is a video of Emily Deschanel, who stars in Bones.  Just some quirky fun to brighten up the day! :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Changing Seasons

I went on a walk with the dogs this morning and was so thankful for the cool weather! So much so that I thanked God that the weather didn't stay the same all the time. And then it struck me how resistant to change we can be in our lives, all the while ignoring its natural, God-designed place in the world.  Everything has stages of growth, death, rebirth and change.  The natural world, weather, communities, families, relationships, physical bodies, personalities and hearts alike have, are and will go through shifts, growths and changes.  To stubbornly sit and demand that our circle is perfect and should never change or get better is naive and harmful.

There is beauty and benefit mixed with struggle and suffering in each season and change.  Whenever I can embrace that truth, the journey is a lot more joyful.  You'll never be here again so have a wonderful day!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Caring Too Much

I don't know about you, but I've said the words, "I know, I care too much about (insert personal flaw, like what I look like, money, clothes, etc.)" only to inwardly rationalize it away and never think of it again.  We all, I think, could have a laundry list of things that we easily get caught up in that, if we were honest with ourselves, isn't glorifying to God much less healthy to ourselves.

The majority of things aren't wrong to ever consider or do something about, but we just can't seem to leave it at that can we? Our considerations turn into obsessions or worrying escapades and before long the rest of our life only gets a fraction of attention. We all appreciate it when you look nice when you leave your house, but if how you look dominates more time than the needs of people around you or the health of your soul, its probably not something to brag about!

Here are a few things that I care too much about:
Being rejected
The age and quality of my kitchen floor
Being right
Being vulnerable
Just to name a few... :)

This weekend, think about something you care too much about and instead of just acknowledging it and leaving it where it is, try to care a little bit less. Replace it with a prayer for someone who needs it or a task you've been putting off. Growing rarely comes by leaps and bounds but by conscious decisions and tiny thoughts at a time.  Have a wonderful weekend!

35 Weeks

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Comparing, Contentment & Giraffes

Happy October! If I wasn't convinced before that October is my absolute favorite month of the year, I am now.  LOVE this weather! Taking walks with the dogs is so much more pleasant and fulfilling lately.  Which brings to mind the endless struggle with contentment.  Whether its just a nasty habit of finding the negative in everything or constantly comparing my life to others around me, contentment seems like a life-long lesson that may never completely leave me. Despite that possibility, I'd really like some ideas on promoting a content spirit in my every day life.

After perusing in the internet, below are a few suggestions I found that I liked.

-Cut down on your tv/movie/magazine/media time.  A constant ream of impossible standards or fake lives is a sitting duck for satan to plant a seed of ingratitude.
-Cultivate your creativity - spend time creating (writing, painting, building, etc.) stimulates positive and fulfilling feelings that do wonders at counteracting restless emotions.
-Spend time outside - whether 10 minutes or an hour, it energizes the mind and can remind us of all that God has provided.
-Focus on the journey of things, instead of an expected outcome.  If we appreciate processes, our idealistic expectations tend to relax into joy for the experience.
-Stop complaining - just eliminating the negative words can push out the discontent

What helps you appreciate your life, weakness and misfortunes included? How do you pursue contentment?  Life is changing so much that its clear that circumstances cannot be relied upon for this, so how do we keep steady when the winds are constantly shifting around us?

Who doesn't marvel at the giraffe? Even though as a kid one tried to attack me with its tongue, I still can't argue at the unique coolness of a giraffe.  But if humans were giraffes, how many would despise their height and long for a solid coat instead of one with spots?