July 23, 2010


If you're not familiar with Shauna Niequist, you need to get to know her. Her second book, Bittersweet, released today and I was fortunate to be able to read an advanced copy. I fell in love with the book so quickly that I've been counting down the days until the actual release to purchase my very own copy. It's that good.

I can't remember a book that has hit home in a way that this one has. I identified with every chapter. This year has been one of the most challenging that I can remember in a long time and not just for me and Todd. Our friends and family have faced trials that I wouldn't wish on anyone. If you're in a valley or have just come out of a painful season, I can't recommend this book enough.

As I read Bittersweet, I took pages of notes. I'm really looking forward to receiving my own copy so that I can go back through and underline the passages that will forever stay with me.

A few of my favorite Shauna quotes...

"It's so easy when your own world feels a little dark and fragmented, to become increasingly self-focused, only able to see the frustration and pain of your own life."

"Life hands us opportunities at every turn to get over ourselves, to get outside ourselves, to wake up from our own bad dreams and realize that really lovely things are happening all the time."

"I don't know where our future is leading us, and I'm exhausted from trying to figure it out. Many of the assumptions I had made about life and faith and friendship shattered with some violence, and on many days it felt like the earth was moving beneath us and solid ground was a thing of the past."

"When you stay with something instead of walking away, it builds something new inside of you, something solid and weighty, something durable. But you do have to wait for it. You have to earn it the hard way."

Bittersweet helped put many things into perspective and reminded me of several important truths:

*God is absolutely in control. Even during the bitter times. 
*Community is one of the most priceless gifts we can receive in this life and I'm more thankful than words can express for my "home team." 
*A life that is sweet all the time isn't reality. We gain our strength and become our truest selves during life's bitter moments.

Believe me, this book is worth reading. You can find out more or order your copy here. And meet Shauna here.

"When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. 
When life is bitter, say thank you and grow."


July 19, 2010

The Little Things

― Morrie Schwartz

My family visited this past weekend and Todd and I had a wonderful time with them. The past week has made me realize that I can't take one second with my family for granted.

We miss them already!

July 10, 2010

Leap of Faith

In my last post I wrote about how Todd’s job has made life a “bit” stressful. I need to update that statement. Todd’s job has caused life to be “very” stressful. But we won’t be shaken. In fact, our faith has surprised even me, someone extremely quick to worry.

I just recently finished reading an advanced copy of Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. In the book, Shauna offers a small piece of advice that is changing the way I look at my life. She says, “When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”

For the last few months I have been telling Todd that I felt closer to God than I had in a long time. Little did I know that He was drawing me closer to Him in preparation for a tough season, but I’m so glad He did. Todd and I have felt such a peace and assurance that God will indeed provide for all of our needs. I don’t have a doubt in my mind that He will. We’ve just begun the journey of job hunting, cutting back our spending, etc. but I have felt God’s presence each day in a big way. I haven’t felt led to pray for a “big break.” Instead, I believe God wants to reveal His goodness each day. So every morning I wake up and pray, “Father – give us a small victory today and we will know You are here.” And I can say with confidence that He has given us victories each day. Whether it has been networking opportunities, financial blessing, or just something to keep our mind off our situation and make us smile, He hasn’t failed to meet us where we are. I can also say with confidence that I am truly thankful for this season and excited to see who we will be on the other side.

When Todd and I first moved to Nashville, we were working lousy jobs and struggling to stay on top of our bills. We were approaching our first anniversary and wanted to celebrate in a big way. We were watching TV in our one-bedroom apartment when a Southwest Airlines commercial came on announcing their $49 one-way specials. Todd and I looked at each other and both said, “Let’s do it! Let’s go somewhere fun.” On a whim we chose Clearwater Beach, Florida and scraped up enough money for flights, hotels and a cheap car rental (a little Kia that we both loved driving). We had a blast and we weren’t going to let our current situation keep us from celebrating our marriage.

Clearwater Beach, Florida; May 2006

It’s so fun to look back now. We’ll often bring up our trip to Clearwater and say, "Can you believe we did that?" Our finances may have been tight, but we will never forget that trip.

Our situation feels somewhat similar today. Things may change and we may walk through a tough season, but we won’t stop living. God will provide. He promises that He will and we are firmly believing those promises.

Psalm 20: 4-5
May He grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers.

For the record, Todd still has a job – but things have changed and we’re doing our best to prepare for the worst. Who knows, things could completely turn around or maybe a new opportunity is just around the corner.

Either way, we know God holds our lives in the palm of His hand.

So for now, we will trust and say thank you.

July 5, 2010

July Fourth

                   “Idleness is not doing nothing. 
                    Idleness is being free to do anything.”
                                                                                                 ― Floyd Dell

This weekend we celebrated the Fourth of July with some of our dearest friends (and some new friends too). It was as close to perfect as a weekend can get. Without getting into any messy details, Todd's work-life is a bit stressful, and the timing for our getaway couldn't have been better. 

We spent two wonderful days reading, mostly on a deck overlooking the water (falling asleep in our chairs each time), boating on a beautiful private lake, swimming in a pool we had all to ourselves, and sharing delicious meals and funny stories with friends. It was heavenly.

Hope you had a restful, friends & family filled holiday!