Monday, June 30, 2014

What I Learned in June

How in the world are we already halfway though this year? I can't believe June is already over! This month has been different for me in a lot of ways - it was a dramatic change of pace from what I had been used to.

First of all, I have learned how to relax and live without a schedule. Since this has been my first true summer off since probably high school, I was not at all used to having so much free time! I usually function and am much more productive when I have a schedule to follow and a lengthy to do list. It was a difficult adjustment at first but I have quickly become a lazy bum! Ha.. Maybe not quite but I still did some part time work one day a week and that helped balance it out. It has been good for me to learn how to take it easy and realize its okay to sleep in! And actually finish a few books I had been wanting to read!

I also learned that you can survive a summer at home even if you don't have a swimming pool. All it takes is a $15 pool from Wal-Mart and a beach chair. Perfect makeshift swimming pool in my backyard. 

When I posted this picture to Instagram I had some people who thought I was kidding. I may joke about some things but having to make do without a swimming pool is no laughing matter.

I also learned that true friendships can survive distance and when you finally get to see each other after 6,7 or even 9! months it's as if no time has even passed. I have loved that I have had extra time to travel and visit with family & friends this summer. 

I also realized that I am getting old. Maybe not that old in some people's books but when I log into iTunes and know less than half of the songs in the "What's Hot" category.. I am old. But I am okay with that. I am perfectly content to jam out to my 90s music that was burned to my computer from actual CDs. Does anyone even buy CDs anymore? Oh well, I digress. 

On a less important note, I found a new favorite snack. If you have not tried these yet you are missing out- BIG TIME

Okay well I think that's all for June! We have lots of travels coming up in the month of July so I should be blogging about that soon! Hope everyone has a great Fourth of July! 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

SUYL: Hair Edition

The first thing to know about me when it comes to hair is this. I am boring. On any given day you can find me wearing my hair only about 2-3 different ways and occasionally may spot me in a ponytail if I am making a quick run to the grocery store or gym. I have never had my hair dyed save the one attempt for highlights in 7th grade (after that my hair dresser refused saying I had natural highlights enough) and have worn my hair long for as far back as I care to remember. (The one attempt at a bob back in 5th grade still leaves me with nightmares.) I have found what works for me and am not quite brave enough (or stupid enough depending on how you view it) to mess with it. My hair is somewhat naturally curly and I use this to my advantage. I used to try to straighten it but couldn't stand the fact that it took away all my natural volume and left my hair feeling terribly damaged. 

Most days I blow dry my hair regularly and just use hot rollers to give it volume and some curl. Before putting rollers in my hair I spray it with this.

I have only recently discovered this fabulous texturizing spray in the last year and it has made a huge difference in how my hair holds after I take the rollers out. 

I absolutely can't live without these.

Most people that find out I roll my hair everyday think I'm insane and that it takes way too long. To me, it is faster than trying to get it to look right in a ponytail. I can have my hair in rollers in just under 4 minutes and let it set while I put on my makeup. Then when I take them out I spray it and I'm done. Like Kelly, I have discovered the best hairspray is the cheap stuff.

We are actually out of town at my parents right now and I forgot my hairspray at home. My mom has several different types of hairspray but I just can't get the same effect as with Freeze It. I don't know what they put in the stuff but it is heavy duty. 

Here is what my hair looks like on any typical day. This was before work a few months ago.

If we are going out and I feel like I want a more "fixed" look or am fixing my hair for a wedding or similar I love a curling wand. I use a similar style to this.

I can honestly go to bed with my hair curled and wake up the next morning and it looks the exact same.

This is what my hair looks like when I use the curling wand. 

Now since I have some natural curl in my hair if I don't blow dry it I love to use this.

I spray this in and scrunch it with my hands and let it dry naturally and it gives it a wavy like effect. This product is awesome! Sometimes I will add some curling mousse to it as well for some increased curl. I like the Marc Anthony brand.

I don't wear my hair like this too much and can't find a recent picture but here is a throwback picture in honor of curly hair. Of when I apparently didn't know how to match my makeup to my skin color. Oh well. 

When it comes to shampoo I haven't found a huge difference in expensive brands versus cheap brands. I alternate between using Suave Rosemary Mint and Organix Argan Oil. I always condition my hair and rinse it thoroughly. Emphasis on thoroughly because when I go to my hairdresser and she washes my hair she never rinses the conditioner all the way out. I have never complained about it because I'm sure there is something I don't know about how good it is for your hair or something. But my hair will not hold curl for anything after that. And it just feels icky. 

I also use Moroccan Oil on my hair and maybe once or twice a year I do a baking soda rinse on my hair to remove build up. I'm sure you are supposed to do it more often I just never think about it. But my hair feels so clean afterwards. It's as simple as adding water to baking soda and rubbing through your hair then rinsing.

As I said, I'm pretty boring with my hair. For proof here is another throwback picture to my freshman year of college in 2006 when my hair looks much the same as it does now! Maybe one day I will get brave enough to do something different. But until then... 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

One Thousand Gifts

I have followed Ann Voskamp's blog for a long time now and have wanted to read her book, One Thousand Gifts, since it came out but never got around to it. About a month ago a sweet co-worker and I were talking about the book over lunch. The next day she surprised me with the book on my desk. What a blessing to work among such precious ladies.

I have just practically inhaled this book and all its truth and goodness. I cannot encourage you enough to go out and get this book. If I had to sum up what I have learned from this book so far in one word it would be thankfulness. Eucharisteo.

As Ann explains, "the root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning 'grace.' Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks."1

"But there is more and I read it. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds as its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning 'joy'."2

"Deep chara joy is found only at the table of euCHARisteo - the table of thanksgiving. I sit there long.. wondering... is it that simple? Is the height of my chara joy dependent on the depths of my eucharisteo thanks? So then as long as thanks is possible.. I think this through. As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible."3

I hope it's okay that I quoted Ann (proper credit given), but this thought has completely transformed my way of thinking about joy. Not that I ever consciously thought that joy was out of my control, but by my attitude and the way I lived - unthankful - I was unconsciously preventing myself from experiencing true God-given joy. This thankfulness that she talks about isn't just thankfulness for the big celebratory moments in life - but in the everyday, God gifts. And true thankfulness is also present in the difficult, trying moments. But while this concept has completely grabbed my attention, I need a practical way to put this - eucharisteo - into practice. Ann introduces the idea of an ongoing journal where she writes down one thousand blessings. And as one who often "thinks through my fingers", or through writing if you will, I can totally get into this. As I picked up pen and paper to begin my list, I excitedly began writing thanks. Thanks to God for things that I so often take for granted. Little things and big things. Exciting things and hard things. And as I continue writing in the days, weeks, months, and years to come of 1000+ gifts (because I know they are there), I encourage you to write along with me. The list will continue as life happens and I'm sure some days there will be more to add than others, but if someday all we can add is the fact that we have air in our lungs, well that is still something to be thankful for.

One thing I have noticed about myself as I continue my list is that I am seeing things as gifts from God that I usually overlook or simply do not give credit to God for. Like these beautiful deep purple hydrangea blossoms that are decorating the front of our house.

 Or fresh clean clothes, warm from the dryer.

Uplifting, christian music playing from our local radio station.

These beautiful ladies, inside and out, that God has given me as co-workers.

Sweet puppy kisses after a long day at work.

Smiles on sweet two-year-old patients' faces.

Fresh grown strawberries and creamy gourmet chocolate. 

Andrew getting to come home from work a day early. 

A season of growth for our marriage.

Live oak trees standing tall on either side of our driveway.

Fresh cut grass and a husband who mows.

And the list goes on. What kinds of things can you add to your list? Thinking on these things has created new depth to my relationship with Christ. For as Ann says, "is there a greater way to love the Giver than to delight wildly in His gifts?"4

1-4. Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 32-33, 219.

What I Learned in May

Today, I am linking up with Emily Freeman  to share what I learned this month. This is the first time I have linked up and I am excited about this! I understand they can be silly or serious and mine will probably fall somewhere in between!

1. I learned how to make chocolate pie! I had never tried making a homemade pie before and not sure why I thought it would be so difficult, but it really wasn't that bad! It only took two tries and several calls to my mom :) I ended up using my grandmother's recipe which was kinda fun.

2. The last day of school is just as exciting if not more exciting when you are working in the school as when you were a student. This is the first time I have had a summer in years and I plan to enjoy every lazy minute of it. Here is a fun picture of the other awesome OTs that I work with.

3. Apparently golf is not my sport but I have a really sweet husband who still tells me that I am good even if I miss the ball completely 50% of the time. Golf can still be enjoyed watching your husband from the golf cart.

4. Drawing up house plans is a little more complicated than I thought. Who knew that you had to decide on things like vaulted ceilings from the get-go? I was just focused on getting the size closet I wanted ;) No, for real though, we are extremely blessed that my dad does things like this for a living and he has been such a major help! Don't know what we would do without both of our parents as a source of wisdom during these times.

Future home site! Coming 2015!

5. Finally, I learned that I am not Mrs. Brown Thumbs after all! Here is proof!

Yay! Can't wait to see what next month brings!