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Sunday, December 13, 2015

5 Best Reads of 2015

The New York Times and Goodreads have published their lists of the top books of the year. Now let me add my little list of personal favorites to the interwebs. Of the dozens of books I read in 2015, here are the five that I enjoyed the most.


Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
I not so secretly want to be a small farmer who uses poop for fertilizer, raises chickens, and cans all her own food, so every year or so, I read a big, crunchy book about raising your own food. Barbara Kingsolver, author of The Poisonwood Bible, writes about a year of living off the land with her family of four. From everything you ever wanted to know about asparagus at the beginning to turkey sex at the end, this NYTimes bestselling memoir is cover to cover interesting!

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Auggie, a super smart 5th grader with severe facial abnormalities, has been homeschooled his whole life when his parents enroll him in a mainstream middle school for the first time -- an environment that is usually not kind to kids who are different. The author jumps around between different characters' points of view to tell this fictional story of Auggie's school year. It is a really quick, easy, fun read and the central message of kindness, although a little beat over the head, seems very relevant these days. And it's a #1 NYTimes Bestseller.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
Putting this book on a list of "reads" is misleading. The Artist's Way is more than just a book. It is an international, bestselling 12-week course replete with exercises designed to help people discover, uncover, and unblock their creativity. It is a lot of work and a lot of fun, and it changed the way I view and approach art and got me creating like crazy.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
This book makes my list because it's just so darn creative. The Crossover is a fictional story about family, illness, and basketball written from the perspective of a black, middle school kid. Every chapter is a poem or verse. (If you're thinking sonatas, you're way off. If you're thinking rap or spoken word you're onto the writing style). The Crossover won both the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award in 2015.

Soul Keeping by John Ortberg
In this book, John Ortberg delves into what the soul is and how to best care for this crucial yet fragile part of us through practices like gratitude, slowing, and silence. Much of the content is based off of a decades long mentor/mentee relationship between Dallas Willard and John Ortberg. Ortberg takes Willard's thoughts that are often as hard to digest as concrete and makes them super sticky and digestible.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Homemade Dark Hot Chocolate


Last night I had trouble sleeping and this morning I woke up feeling blah. I spent half of Cora's morning nap trying to get stuff done around the house with almost no results other than feeling more sluggish.

I've learned over the past months that, when I feel like junk, there are two quick ways to get out of it. One: lace up my running shoes and head out the door with my kids in the stroller. Two: create something. Since Cora was napping, I chose the latter.

"Hey, Grace. Do you want to make hot chocolate?"

"I don't want hot chocolate, I want warm chocolate." Replied my afraid-of-everything-over-100-degrees child.

"Ok, let's make warm chocolate."

We were out of our convenient little Swiss Miss packs in the pantry which was better anyway because as we measured and dumped and mixed and simmered, I felt my crankiness wear off.

Best part: Those little hot chocolate packs are always way too sweet for my taste. Since I made my own hot chocolate, I had complete control over the final product and was able to turn down the sweetness and turn up the darkness. Yum.

Here's the super simple recipe. If you're a sweet hot chocolate fan, double the sugar.

1) Combine 1 cup cocoa powder, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil stirring with a whisk or fork to break up clumps. Reduce heat and simmer for a minute or two. Add a little water if it's getting too thick.
2) Heat milk. Stir in a couple spoonfuls of your chocolate syrup. Add a candy cane, marshmallows, or whipped cream and sprinkles.
3) Store the chocolate syrup in the fridge for the next time you need some chocolate-y comfort.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Things I Learned this Fall

Here are ten random things that I learned this fall.

I wish I had the brain of a two-year-old.

Since we're moving to Bangkok in a couple of months, I decided to try to learn all 44 Thai consonants. Gotta start somewhere, right?

I practiced in the cracks of my day usually with my two-year-old Grace watching. After a week, I had memorized about half of them.

While I was patting myself on the back over my little accomplishment, Grace started reciting them. All of them. She had all 44 consonants down solid just from watching over my shoulder. Schooled by my two-year-old.

Now if only I could switch brains with her when learning Thai becomes my full time job...

One of the best ways to recharge my soul is to spend some time in a place where leaves outnumber humans a million to one.


When you change lanes on a CA freeway, you're supposed to (1) find your space, (2) blink your blinker for five full seconds, and then (3) change lanes.

Reality:
(1) stake out your spot but don't give any indication that you are intending to change lanes,
(2) begin moving into your spot, and then
(3) blink as your tires cross the dotted lines. Any more blinking forfeits your space.

Questions are powerful.

When I hit a confusing spot in life that has no easy answer, I usually feel uncomfortable, so I tend to rush ahead to force some sort of answer.

Of the 180+ questions that were asked of Jesus, he only gave a direct answer to four of them. The rest of the time he responded with another question or a story. (I owe this insight to my pastor Tom Hughes' sermon series based of his book Curious.)

For the past couple of months, I've tried to hold the uncomfortable questions before God. Questions like: How do I hold onto the big picture as I engage in the mundane details of life? and How do I engage with national and global news without feel utterly depressed and discouraged?

As I have held these questions before God, I've had flashes of insight into deeper truth than I would have found if I had rushed ahead.

A one-year-old can produce an unbelievable amount of snot in just days.

One week, Cora was sick with a really nasty cold, I swear I wiped about half a gallon of snot off her face.

Here's a pic from a really dramatic diaper change. I just want to scoop her up, wipe off her nose, and snuggle her. Pretty sure that's what happened once Michael was done changing her.


Finding a piano in an unexpected place is magical.

On an overcast afternoon in September, my family strolled down a wooden pier in Central California eating free samples of clam chowder and watching the seagulls flap around. Suddenly, we came upon an old, wooden, upright piano. It drew us in with its magic and we played for a while, serenading seagulls and passers by with our slightly out of tune playing.

It reminded me of a time when, on my regular commute home from law school, I unexpectedly stumbled upon an upright piano in Los Angeles' Union Station. A man who was homeless was pounding the keys with rusty skill and gusto. Being homeless, he probably rarely played, but I could tell he loved it. I can only imagine what a magical refuge that piano was to him.



Two months can pass between a baby's first steps and when they actually start walking.

Cora took her first steps a a couple of weeks before her first birthday. And that was it. She refused to walk for two months after that. She's definitely walking now, but even still prefers crawling.

It is very satisfying to have high hopes for something and for that thing to come through.

This happened twice this fall.

(1) Except for the few times they've majorly flubbed. (i.e. Cars 2), I love Pixar movies. I had high hopes for Inside Out. We watched it the day it came out on DVD and every hope was satisfied.

(2) I had high hopes when I heard that Sara Groves, my favorite singer/songwriter, was releasing an album. Since it came out, I've listened to it almost daily. The lyrics. The music. It's all so delicious. And I later found out that the album was birthed after several years of anxiety, depression, and writer's block. It's curious how the most painful stuff can produce the best art.

It is possible to write a gripping novel full of middle school drama. 

The novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio centers around the story of a fifth grader with severe facial abnormalities/differences (I don't know how to say it PC-ly) and his first year in a regular school. It's really quite good. And its message of kindness is one we could all take to heart these days.

It is possible to die with joy and grace.

Steve Hayner was the president of Columbia Theological Seminary when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died less than a year later. On his journey from diagnosis to death, Steve and his wife, Sharol, chronicled their experiences online. Their words have been turned into the book Joy in the Journey.

The title is appropriate. I was dumbstruck by how their struggles oozed with joy and grace. I wish I lived my little day to day struggles with the courage and hope that they lived Steve's last months.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Confession

I first prayed this prayer a couple of years ago. I stumbled upon it again today and, as I pray the words yet again, I find them so appropriate and so refocusing for these times.

~

You asked for my hands that you could use them for your purpose.
I gave them for a moment and then withdrew for the work was hard.

You asked for my mouth to speak against injustice.
I gave you a whisper that I might not be accused.

You asked for my eyes to see the pain of poverty.
I closed them for I did not want to know.

You asked for my life that you might work through me.
I gave you a fractional part that I might not get involved.

God, forgive me for calculated efforts to serve you only when it is convenient to do so, only in places where it is safe to do so.

Creator God, forgive me, renew me, and send me out as a usable instrument, that I may take seriously the meaning of Your Cross.

~

Now try reading them again, but this time as a prayer.

(Taken from the book of Christian art, images, poetry, and quotes called Imaging the Word.)

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Rocks that Make a Mountain

Welcoming a new child into your family and raising her is a holy, awesome endeavor. And day to day, that means a lot of butt wiping, lift-a-flap book reading, and sippy cup washing. Very quickly, mundane details smother my vision of the holy and awesome and I think, "I signed up for GLORIOUS PARENTING not this everyday parenting. What happened?"

Moving to another country to be a missionary is a holy, awesome endeavor. And day to day, that means applying for an international driver's license, fixing insurance problems, and scheduling typhoid shots. Very quickly, the mundane details smother my vision of the holy and awesome and I think, "I signed up for GLORIOUS MISSIONARY WORK not everyday ministry. What happened?"

Most of my life involves the mundane -- cleaning up crumbs, checking emails, taking kids to the dentist, scheduling a phone call with my supervisor. And somewhere in these details, I lose the bigger picture.

I imagine these feelings are not particular to my life. Working in the ICU, building a dam, writing a book, working on your degree, starting a business, or whatever you find taking up most of your time -- they are all holy, awesome endeavors. And day to day, they involve a lot of mundane details.


And I remember: Christ himself had the most holy, awesome endeavor of all -- to reconcile humankind with the Father and to usher in a new Kingdom. And on the average day, that meant fastening wooden legs to a table, memorizing the law, and picking bones out of his fish.

The day to day details are the individual gray rocks that make up the grand and lofty mountain. How do I engage with the everyday mundane in a way that does not smother my vision for the holy, awesome endeavor that I am working towards?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Happy 30th to Michael

When Michael went to his macho, Italian barber for a much-needed hair cut a couple of weeks ago, the first question the barber asked was, "So, how's school?" As in high school. 

Michael answered, "Oh I'm not in school anymore." As in he graduated from high school twelve years ago.

This week at the DMV in the middle of a conversation with the DMV employee, Michael said, "Oh ya, my wife and I..."

"You have a wife?! You look way to young to be married." If only she knew that he has been married for six years and has two kids.

These comments are nothing new. All through his five years of working at the Claremont Colleges, strangers assumed he was a prospective student. Aka, a junior or senior in high school.

So here's a little public service announcement for all macho, Italian barbers; DMV employees; and other strangers...

Today is Michael's 30th birthday.

Thank you.


High school Michael and two weeks ago Michael. See? He doesn't look like a teenager.

It's mostly funny but also slightly annoying to have people think your husband is a teenager. But, I suppose in 10 or 20 years when people think he's 30, I'll be proud of my husband's youthful good looks.

But, seriously now, happy 30th birthday, Michael! Ten years ago, we were living in the same dorm at USC and I had a major crush on you and you had a major crush on me and everyone knew it except you. Now here we are ten years later -- married with two little girls; two college degrees, a law degree, and a couple of jobs behind us; and a big cross-cultural move before us.

You are the kind of husband and father who will always lay aside his work or his phone to listen to my stories, help Grace deal with her big emotions, or read Cora's favorite book with her for the 72nd time. And that's a really good husband/father to be. The three of us are so blessed!

What are the next ten years going to bring? What will we look back on together when we turn forty?! I look forward to the next decade with wide eyes and a pounding heart grateful to have your hand squeezing mine.

Now go get some eye wrinkles so people don't start thinking you're my son!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween - A Mouse and a Butterfly

Last Halloween, when Grace was 20 months old and Cora was a newborn, we did absolutely nothing to celebrate because, well, Grace was 20 months old and Cora was a newborn. We were tired.

Since this is our last Halloween in the U.S. for a while, I decided to go for it. Only challenge: we're broke and trying to not accumulate new things like costumes that they only wear once. So, I somehow managed to piece together two costumes from things we had around the house and was thrilled with the result...

Here is Minnie Mouse and a butterfly dancing ring-around-the-rosy.




Here are two past Halloweens:
Halloween 2012
Halloween 2013

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Unknown

The other day, I sat down, picked up a pen, and began writing a list of the things that I will miss when I move to Thailand. The list included central air conditioning, our dishwasher, and our bathtub. Every home I've been to in Thailand doesn't have these things, so I assume we won't either. I will also miss really good Mexican food and Mediterranean food, wearing sweaters, scarves, and boots, speaking and operating in English, and living near or in nature. I will miss a lot of our stuff including books, dishes, our bed... Even though it's just "stuff," I like it all and I'll miss it. On a deeper, tear-inducing level, I will miss knowing how to operate within culture/society and I will most deeply miss my family and friends. I love my people. We're all about to be really far apart. And that's just hard.


I then began to list the things that I think I will love about Thailand and will eventually miss when we move back to the US. I'm sure I will miss the friends I make, though since I don't have any yet this feels more theoretical than emotional. I know I will miss low cost housing, low cost food, low cost everything. I will certainly be in sticker shock when we come back to the US. I'll miss eating awesome Thai food everywhere all the time and I think I'll miss speaking Thai.

Did you notice how much longer and more concrete the first list is than the second? The losses associated with moving my family thousands of miles across an ocean to a whole new culture stare me in the face. I have begun to clearly see the cost. But, I haven't found what I will gain in moving to Thailand. So much is unknown. The unknowns make moving difficult. The unknowns make almost all transitions difficult for that matter. I feel poignantly what I am giving up, but I don't yet know what I am gaining. I just move forward in trust that something good waits for me in the unknown.

In a few months, I will board a plane leaving behind a whole host of things, places, and people. Seven checked bags, three carry on's, two little girls, my husband, and I will enter into the unknown. I don't think I could ever do it if I didn't believe that our Father has something good for me, something I'll someday miss when I have to leave it behind. And so we move forward in trust and hopeful anticipation.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Easy Homemade Plum Jam


I love homemade jam. It's sweet, but not too sweet, super fruity, and tangy.

I hate homemade jam. Every recipe I ever see involves special canning equipment that I don't own and sterilization of that equipment. Sounds like too much work!

When I saw a recipe for jam that claimed to take only twenty minutes and used no special equipment, I had to try it. So I rounded up some 99 cent per pound California plums, boiled them down with lots of sugar, took a bite, and was so satisfied. Sweet, tangy, brilliant purplish-red plum jam had arrived in my home and it took less than half an hour.

Even though the Google homepage told me it was the first day of fall just a few days ago, summer fruits are still available in Southern California grocery stores, so go buy yourself a few pounds of California plums and make some jam. The recipe yields about five cups, so you theoretically should be able to enjoy it for a while, unless you gobble it all up right away like we did! Here's the recipe...



Easy Homemade Plum Jam (similar to and inspired by the recipe found in the Sept 2015 issue of Martha Stewart Living)

1. Wash and remove pits from three pounds of ripe plums. Leave skin on to get a tart flavor, red color, and piecey texture to your jam. Chop into 1 inch chunks.
2. In a large pot, stir fruit with 1.5 pounds of sugar. Bring to a boil. (Trust me, even though there's no liquid in the pot, there will be soon and it will boil.) Add two tablespoons of lemon or lime juice.
3. Stir the pot while it boils until the mixture becomes very viscous. About ten minutes. The bubbles will slow and the mixture will fall of your spoon in clumps. (My plums weren't very ripe, so I also took an immersion blender to the mixture at this point to break it all up.)
4. That's it, that's jam! Now pour it into containers leaving a little bit of space to allow for it to expand while freezing. It can be refrigerated for a month or stored in the freezer for about a year. I recommend eating it on crackers with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese. Yum!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Thailand - A Timeline

If you observed our lives from afar, it would appear that we decided to move to Thailand a few months ago and... zip, zap, zoop... here we are well on our way to moving across the Pacific Ocean.

This perspective is entirely incorrect. Below is a bare bones outline of the years we have spent planning this big move. It's still way oversimplified, but it gives you an idea of the time and intentionality it is taking to move our family to another country.

1980s I am born to missionary parents. Nature? Nurture? I don't know what to blame it on, but I grow up loving missions and anything cross-cultural.

2007 I find myself head over heels for a young man who has never really thought about those things. Me, "Hey love, I need to know: Are you open to doing missions someday? Because if not, we need to talk."
Michael thinks for a couple of days.
"Yes, I am open."
Me, "Ok, great."
(Fun fact: around this time, Michael was really into puns and I hated puns. Now, eight years later, I almost titled this post "Thaimline." I still hate puns. I just now join in creating those hideous things.)



2009 We tie the knot.



January 2012 Vacation to Thailand to visit Michael's mom's family and to do the touristy thing.



January 2013 I am seven months pregnant and Michael goes out of town for a couple of weeks to attend a missions conference with his students. I feel a little bored/unsettled with life and I ask God, "Shake things up. DO something." Michael calls me from St. Louis, "Hey love, wouldn't it be awesome to transplant our family to Thailand?" I hadn't thought much about missions for a few years and I feel a little unsure, but the underlying desire is still there and I respond, "Yes."

February 2013 Grace is born. We are slammed with unfathomable amounts of exhaustion and joy. Thailand, hold on a minute.



June 2013 We think, pray, talk to a few trusted people and decide, yes, we want to pursue this Thailand thing. And begin researching and networking to figure out what we might possibly do.

June 2014 Trip to Bangkok to check out some awesome potential orgs to partner with.



July 2014 I quit working a normal job so I can focus on home, kids, and getting us to Thailand.

September 2014 Hello, baby Cora!



December 2014/January 2015 Acceptance into our missions organization, begin fundraising.

Summer 2015 Michael's work with Intervarsity ends and we begin full time employment with our missions organization. We attend a training in Colorado.

September 2015 Fully funded.

Fall/Winter 2015 Get rid of lots of stuff, complete required readings, last visits with family and friends.

January 2016 Adventure begins.

There you have it. By my calculations we've been working on getting our family to Thailand for almost three years.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Cora - One Year Old

Our little Cora turned one this week. She is very quickly exiting the baby phase and entering the toddler phase. She's talking lots, taking a few solo steps, nursing less and less, sleeping through the night, and occasionally throwing tantrums. It's awesome to watch her grow up, uncovering who she is.


Here are a few things that I absolutely love about Cora these days.

The way she finally, consistently sleeps all the way through the night. 8pm to 7am. Though, I think there's still a 50/50 chance that she'll revert to waking up pre-6am again. We'll see.

Her love of the outdoors -- trees, birds, sky, wind.

The way she makes a beeline for me or Michael, crawling as fast as she can when she hasn't seen us for a while.

The way she'll occasionally take a couple of solo steps without even realizing she's doing it. Then, we'll try to get her to do it again and she refuses.

The way Cora holds a plum in both hands as if she is gripping a basketball and then chews it, sucks it, and shreds off the skin with gusto.

The way she goes down for naps and bedtime with lots of snuggling and no crying... finally.

How tiny she is. She still fits into her six month clothing.

How expressive her face it. When Cora begins to be upset, you can see her emotions spiral down. Trembling chin, pouty lip, furrowed brow, then two big tears. Or when she sees someone she likes, she makes a perfect flirty face, big eyes, coy smile, and all.

Her talking. She says little words all day long and many days surprises us with a new one.

Her dancing and instrument playing. She loves swaying and bouncing to music. She loves hitting drums, shaking shakers, and blowing into flutes.

Her hugs. When I'm holding her, all I have to say is, "Can I have a hug?" and she tucks her head into me and wraps her little arms as far as she can around me.

~

And so ends the first year of Cora's life. When each of my daughters was born, I wrote about them every couple of months in this space. An online baby book I suppose. Now that she's one, I'll write about her less frequently (as I do with Grace) and just enjoy and go slightly crazy having two toddlers in the house.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Six Things I Learned This Summer

How to make cheese. In Thailand, cheese is nonexistent or super expensive. Since we will soon be living there and since I already know how to make yogurt (the first step in cheesemaking), I've been wanting to learn how to make cheese. In July, my brother, who is probably the best cook I know, taught me how to make queso fresco. Now, I've just got to try making it once or twice on my own.

How to shoot a gun. My brother-in-law is a little bit hick (love you, Jason!), so this summer, when he offered to teach me how to shoot, I jumped at the chance. Jason, a few other family members, and I all went into the woods in Colorado and shot clay pigeons. I nailed a few which made me feel proud. But, then again, most were only about 15 feet away.

The origins of see-saw. Just a board across a gate. Brilliant. (The image below comes from Over the Hills and Far Away" a collection of nursery rhymes from around the world illustrated by dozens of the best children's illustrators of our day. It's one of the most beautiful children's books I've ever seen.)



I love watercolor paintings. When I see something like this painting or this blog header, I feel inspired.

The potty-train-your-kid-in-one-weekend method does not work for my toddler. Grace needs lots of time and lots of space to process any sort of transition, so what made me think she'd transition from diapers to undies in one weekend? Potty training involved one false start, lots of patience from me, and lots of unpleasant odors on our carpet. But, she's now rocking it.

My husband always teases me for being such an independent woman. And, he's right, I am. But, when it comes to anything techie/geeky/nerdy, Michael is the knight in shining armor rescuing this damsel in distress.

Monday, August 31, 2015

My Favorite Shots - Part Three

When I deleted hundreds (thousands?) of my photos this past summer, I found some old gems including these. Here are some favorite photos from the past few years.

~

Michael and baby Grace holding my fingers.


Cora starting solids. I love how clear and bright and sharp this picture is.


Grace and Cora playing on a bag of rice.


My piano.


Hydrangeas from the side of our house.


Spices from our favorite Thai restaurant.


A purple haze carrot from our garden.


Grace getting soaked in the rain.


Here's part one of this three part series. And here's part two.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

My Favorite Shots - Part Two

I recently deleted about 80% of my photos. It was a months-long project, but I figure that the fewer photos I own, the more I will look at them. So out went hundreds of shots. In the process, I discovered some old gems. Including these.

Here's part one of my three posts. And part three.

~

Bristlecone Pine tree at Cedar Breaks National Monument. It is thousands of years old.


Snowflakes.



Why, hello there!



We set the camera on the trunk of our car with a timer to get this one. Cambria, California. Little did we know how much our lives would change just a few weeks later when our first was born!



I love coffee.



Self portrait using my bathroom mirror.



I don't even really like makeup, but I like this shot.



Another engagement photo of Jason & Andrea.



Friday, August 28, 2015

My Favorite Shots - Part One

For the past several months, I have been deleting, deleting, and deleting old photos. I figure that the fewer photos I own, the more I will look at them. So out went all the boring shots, the super blurry shots, and the doubles, triples, and quadruples of the same old thing. I only kept the best 20%, and I'm so glad I did it. Even though pictures don't clutter up physical space, it still feels good to do a giant purge.

As I went through every picture, I found a few I love. Here are some of my favorite shots.

~

Sunset outside my parents' home in Colorado.


Sixth anniversary flowers



My dad at St. Mary's Glacier shot on a piece of junk point and shoot. You don't necessarily need good equipment to get fun shots, though good equipment sure helps!



Another Colorado sunset.



I don't know why I like this one so much.



Cheery.



Engagement shot for my sister and brother-in-law.



Grace kissing Cora.



I'd like to say this is dew, but I think it's just sprinkler.



A dead, gnarly tree at Joshua Tree National Park. (No, this isn't a Joshua Tree.)



Oh, crab!


My Favorite Shots - Part Two
My Favorite Shots - Part Three

Saturday, August 15, 2015

These Are the Days


These are the days of...

Potty training my two-year-old.

Building a marriage that will last.

Two girls in highchairs.

Simple meals.

Going on dates again -- a much needed breath of freedom and friendship.

Early evening walks.

Board games after the girls go down.

The daily ritual of sweeping scraps of food off of the kitchen floor.

Battling ant invasions.

Reading my Kindle before bed.

Fitness Blender workouts at home.

Watching God build a $70K missions budget one generous supporter/partner/friend at a time.

Growing in prayer.

Growing in trust.

~

I have a habit of always looking ahead to the next bigger, better thing rather than celebrating the smallness of my everyday life. This makes me a very productive person who always has a plan. It also makes me a very distracted person who misses life in the present tense.


I had the privilege of getting an advance copy of a favorite writer's newest book Simply Tuesday -- a book all about how "life happens in the small moments, the kind we find on Tuesday, the most ordinary day of the week." The author, Emily P. Freeman makes it a regular practice to make a "these are the days of..." list in her journal to practice being present to life as it is.

In these hectic days of always thinking forward to the next big thing (moving to Thailand!) I have so needed the reminder to slow down, to breath, and to celebrate the simple small things of my everyday life. I want to be present to my life even as I look ahead to the next thing.

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