The Morning After

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Yesterday, the day of November 8, I held my breath in anticipation and hope. Hope is a vulnerable thing. Hope recognizes one’s desires, and holds those desires like gems in the palm of an open hand.

This morning, I find myself flooded with many thoughts and feelings and questions. I am meandering through all the emotions, trying to find solid ground. I feel grief, anxiety, anger, disappointment, fear. I also hold my deepest beliefs tightly – my belief that there is God, and through him there is always hope, always love, always goodness.

We’re complex creatures, we humans. So I suppose that we can have the grace to allow ourselves and each other to have the true feelings and beliefs that we each carry. Perhaps on a day like today we can simply examine our hearts, and allow each other to do the same.

We also each have the power and responsibility to choose how we will move forward today. I encourage you to consider along with me how you will proceed today. Here is how I am moving forward:

I will allow myself to feel the way I feel.

I will allow others to feel the way they feel.

I will consider how my words and attitude today influence others.

I will be kind, no matter what.

I will teach my kids to be kind, no matter what.

I will turn to God as my companion and shepherd.

I will listen to others with compassion.

I will act toward others, particularly the marginalized, with compassion.

That is my list for today. Perhaps, and very likely, it will evolve in the coming days. But this is my list for today.

How will you move forward today?

10 Things I Learned in October 2016

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At the end of each month, I share things that I learned. This habit helps me pay attention to life, myself, and God’s presence. It’s my way of reflecting and celebrating. It’s how I take notice and be present.

“10 Things I Learned” have become some of my favorite posts to write. I love the process of looking back, and seeing the deeper lessons that I might otherwise miss.

In no particular order, here are 10 things I learned this month:

1. Packing for a trip is WAY better with the Stylebook app.

Have you heard of Stylebook? It is my new favorite tool to virtually organize my wardrobe and create outfits with the clothes I own. But the best use of this app was to organize my packing list. It lets me plan on the clothes to take on my trips, and generate outfits using those items. So helpful!

2. There’s no getting around my daughter dressing up as Elsa from Frozen for Halloween.

I tried really hard to redirect my 4-year-old to other Halloween costume ideas. But nope…despite all my efforts and suggestions, she HAD to be Elsa. Sigh.

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Minecraft Steve, baby Jack Jack from The Incredibles, and Elsa from Frozen.

3. Parents have all sorts of different strategies for dealing with the onslaught of candy during Halloween season.

I asked friends on Facebook what they do, and discovered a whole host of creative solutions. Some parents limit their kids to a particular number of candy allowed (we do 15), other parents let their kids eat one piece of candy once a week until their kids forget or get tired of it.

4. Boiled eggs are easier to peel under cold running water.

We’ve all been there. We boiled some eggs, and are now in the process of peeling the shell off. But then pieces of the egg stick to the shell, and our lovely boiled egg now has little chunks taken out of it. Here’s a great solution – peel your eggs under cold running water, and the shells come off easy peasy!

5. When I take risks, I thrive.

I took a few risks this month, including sending a book manuscript to a publishing company (eek!). You know what happens deep in my soul when I take risks? My soul soars. It feels joy in the simple act of courage that it took to try something new and unknown.

6. Pumpkin spice has worn out its welcome.

I, for one, am tired of how unoriginal pumpkin spice flavored anything is these days. Have some imagination, people. Okay, now I’m going to duck from offended people flinging their Starbucks cups at my head.

7. Sometimes something needs to die to make space for new life.

When we are about to transition into something new, there may be other things that need to end or get shelved to create the new space that is needed.

Speaking of making space for new life, I’m hosting something called 30 Days of Abiding over at my Spiritual Journey website. Want to know more about participating? Get more details here: 30 Days of Abiding

8. How to make my own homemade toothpaste.

My main reason for trying out this homemade toothpaste recipe was because Crest stopped making my favorite non-mint toothpaste. The taste of baking soda takes some getting used to, but I love how smooth and clean it makes my teeth!

9. My body is very unreliable these days.

In the last month, I’ve had a series of minor body malfunctions – strained neck, injured lower back, headaches, nausea. I have no idea what is going on, but it is super annoying and I’d love to be more physically healthy.

10. We can eat these chicken enchiladas for days. They are SO good.

What about you, friend? What things did you learn this month?

10 Things I Learned in August 2016

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At the end of each month, I share things that I learned. This habit helps me pay attention to life, myself, and God’s presence. It’s my way of reflecting and celebrating. It’s how I take notice and be present.

“10 Things I Learned” have become some of my favorite posts to write. I love the process of looking back, and seeing the deeper lessons that I might otherwise miss.

In no particular order, here are 10 things I learned this month:

1. How to say “selamat pagi” (good morning) well enough to make people in Indonesia think I am local.

It has been a few weeks since our amazing trip to Indonesia, and I continue to be grateful for that experience.

2. Ali Wong’s comedy special on Netflix is pee-your-pants hysterical.

I’ve watched this three times, and it gets funnier every time. I love that Ali is a spunky Asian woman who is masterfully funny storyteller. We need more of this! Warning: you need to be ready for cussing and topics like sex and vaginas.

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3. How each Myers-Briggs Type reacts to stress (and how to help).

Read this article if you want to know how you (and others) uniquely react to stress. I can say that as an ENFJ married to an ENFJ, there are some really helpful and accurate insights here.

4. I am working on asking directly for what I want.

This is hard for me. Female + Asian + harmony lover = I don’t naturally ask for what I want. I can go for pretty long with stuffing my real desires down for long periods of time…which of course, is generally unhealthy for lots of reasons. But I’ve asked directly a few times this week, and each time I do, it gets easier. My mantra: “just say something and give the other person the chance to respond.”

5. Coaching a soccer team of 7-year-old boys takes lots of energy.

These boys. Just keeping them focused and on task for an hour of practice is requiring me to use every teaching/coaching/parenting strategy I can think of. I’m loving this coaching gig.

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6. I am surrounded by some pretty great mentors.

In the last year, I’ve stumbled upon a handful of really wise people who I can turn to for input and counsel. Especially in this season of ministry, transition, and parenthood, I am so glad for these mentors making themselves available to help guide me.

7. Having three young kids is wild and insane, but sometimes it’s the best.

Recently, our kids have been playing together so well. Last week I found them having their own group story time. It is a wonder to witness their friendships grow.

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8. My friend Amy Dixon writes wonderful children’s books.

Amy’s most recent book is Sophie’s Animal Parade, and my kids immediately fell in love with the magical, creative world that Sophie dreams up. Amy also wrote the book Marathon Mouse. If you know of any kids who love books, go pick up copies of Amy’s books!

9. My 1-year-old has finally lost that baby smell, and it makes me so sad.

I will admit that I am one of those weirdo parents who takes deep inhales to get that baby-scent high. Please, someone. Find a way to bottle the newborn baby smell and turn it into an essential oil. I will love you forever.

10. Any form of change we undergo involves three factors: vision, intention, and means.

Dallas Willard explores this in Renovation of the Heart. Vision is that picture of the preferred future – the way it could be if a change took place. Declaring and deciding our intention is essential: we move from thinking about a particular change to intending that change to occur. And finally, we need the means: the various processes we engage or resources we pursue in order to experience the change. I’ve been thinking a lot about how change happens for people, and love those moments when someone has all three of the factors – the vision, intention, and means – to change.

What about you, friend? What things did you learn this month?


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