Thursday, July 28, 2016

July and Me

CURRENTLY 

loving. The pictures Alexes took of me. They make me feel beautiful. 
needing. More time for paint and books in my days. 
wanting. Nothing. Right now, I am not in want. And I want that to continue. (Ironic.) 
writing. All over the place. In my journal, here, at The Rising. All over the place.  
watching. My succulents grow. Daily they get bigger and stronger and I love. 
listening. To Coffee and Crumbs podcast. SWOON. 
wishing. For a pedicure. The toes are looking pretty haggard. 
feeling. Prepared. And accomplished. And ready. Come on, adoption classes. 
craving. A poolside, swim up bar. Because isn't that what summer is for? 
eating. Jicama. Jicama with lime juice and Tajin. 
drinking. Iced lattes from the new coffee shop by my work (death of me). 
smelling. My desk at work. It smells like pho and I wonder who owned it before me. 
working on. A new line of really detailed, floral globes that I (sort of) want to keep. 
contemplating. The book of Luke. Man, Jesus is fascinating. 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

We can't get pregnant. But we want kids. So, we're adopting and we're over the moon.

I have some sweet tips for serious readers in my life.

Otherwise, I'm just finished up peptalking on Instagram because I can't handle the daily pressure.

WHAT I'VE READ



A MUST READ:
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I mentioned in my coffee date post that I was in a serious reading rut that made me sad because BOOKS. I mentioned it and then remembered that my mom had sent me Eleanor & Park on Audible (which is an amazing new feature that I love). At the same time, she was out of town for the week so I decided to start listening to a book while tackling my morning run. And then I just couldn't stop listening. 

The charm of Eleanor & Park was multi-layered and wonderful. It is everything I've come to expect from Rowell and more. After reading Attachments, I didn't know if I would be happy with another love in an unlikely way story from Rowell, but this. This is sweet and wonderful and made me feel good inside. My heart was warmed by the two main characters -high school students- and their ability to be more mature than their peers. My high school self was wishing I'd known them in my formative teen years.

And the ending (no spoilers!) is what I love in the ending of books: honest and good, but not perfect. It's not what you want for Eleanor and Park, but it is. It's not fairy tale, but life is not fairy tale. It's the right amount of closure and optimism and The End. Secretly, I'm hoping the way it felt like the door was mostly closed, but not all the way shut on the two characters is because Rowell will resurrect them for us later (#literarywishes). 

Other mentions for the month of February:

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (review|| ★★★★★
The World's Strongest Librarian (review) || ★★★
Modern Lovers (review) || ★★★  * didn't finish this one
Before the Fall (review) || ★★★
The Bride(zilla) of Christ (review) || ★★★    
The Boston Girl (review) || ★★★    
Kingdom Come (review) || ★★★★★



Three Nifty Things You Need to Know

1. Incorporate pictures and ignore lines while you do your sermon notes. I learned this from Rachel (girl's a jedi at being faithful) and it makes church so much more engaging because I'm listening but not attempting to write down ALL THE WORDS the pastor is saying. 

2. If you crush charcoal (like you use in your grill) and put it in the bottom of your succulent planters (like mason jars, tea cups, or pots), it'll absorb water and keep things fresh in the soil which will keep your succulents healthy. 

3. COLLABOREADS. It's back. The beloved, online book club is BACK. It returns this month with a new (random) criteria for you to take with you to the library. And then, head back here and we'll link-up on August 24th to talk all about the book each of us picked. YES, LET US READ COLLABORATIVELY. So, the criteria: 


Read a book by an author that is a different ethnicity than you. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Reflection on Whoa


I didn't know how to write anything today. I didn't know how to write after the pure joy that was sharing our news with ya'll last week. It was an accident -the timing. An accident that my faith in all this process needed so desperately. Because it was seven months ago last Wednesday that my dad passed away. Seven months to the very day.

The last thing I asked of my dad -and asking wasn't a thing I did often in the later years of his disease- was to find his grandbaby in Heaven and send their sweetness to us. I'm certain my words sounded like meek bleets out of the mouth of a baby sheep, but spirits don't always need conversation to communicate. He passed. And I've not stopped thinking of that conversation.

Through the horrid, fateful meeting with my doctor, through the deep mourning of my biological Mama dreams, through the subsequent decisions that brought us here to Adoption's door. It all started in his dying days -the ability to talk about a Thomas babe. So, here I am, seven months (and two days) later, saying Whoa, embracing Whoa, thanking Him for Whoa.

It was the moments shortly after my dad died that Whoa arrived. It wasn't a single obvious detail, but instead a conglomeration of the last seven years -emphasis added in the final seventy-two hours- that birthed my fascination with Whoa. The conviction was there, but ignored. In picking Whoa as my focus of the year, am I inviting woe? I sat in the lobby waiting for the funeral home and knew I couldn't manage another year of woe.

Sweet Jesus, I need Whoa.

With deep reservation, I honored my conviction to bravely approach the Whoa-covered throne He'd set aside for my 2016.

I imagined Whoa as Sum 41's In Too Deep. Loud, brash, easy to shout along with. I imagined it loud -blasting out of speakers taller than my head. I pictured my year looking like a mosh pit with wild fists and a litany of bruises and a small chance of surviving the mess. I bolstered myself for the madness a year of Whoa seems to beg. But, none of it came.

Instead, came bad news.
Instead, came a spirit of quietness.
Instead, came intentional moments.
Instead, came realizations.

And with the new rhythm of stillness, came an intense gratefulness for the way living in the Whoa is far simpler than the roller-coaster I was certain I'd jumped on as it wildly pulled away from the New Year's platform. The anthem of Whoa in 2016 is more lullaby than war song. It's more of the Dixie Chick's Easy Silence than any song.

It's a year of asking for peace.
A year of seeking Him.
A year of reading voraciously.
A year of soaking in wonder.

Sometimes the Whoa is so much, so overwhelming, that I can hardly look it in the eye. Sometimes it feels like the white heat of the son on my eye balls -drying them out with the pure overwhelm. Sometimes the Whoa is relaxed in such a way that it feels intense and makes me want to turn away, to distract with the powers of MTV and chardonnay. Sometimes I want to recant on the Whoa lifestyle and head home to the comfort of a cozy, familiar bed.

But, I'm trying not to be one who lets fear lead.

If Whoa was going to write it's own lyrics, there'd be a love song feel combined with the conviction of a power ballad. It'd have the heart of Adele's words with the hair raising ferocity of Alessia Cara and the bold beats of Desiigner. It'd balance the right amount of excitement with calm, knowing that slow and steady is best.

Whoa, this year.
Whoa, my life.
Whoa, my friends.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

On Paperwork and Parenthood || A Marriage Letter



Dear Jason,

Well, we've done it and started calling ourselves pregnant. Not because we're growing a baby, but because we're in the process of expanding our family. It's not so much lingerie and sexy time as it's a hundred signature lines and parenting coursework. It's not about the stretch marks and hard contractions; it's about safety upgrades and orientation meetings.

Our first introductions to the agencies felt stressful and heavy. We had all the information; more facts and statistics and choices than we could form into a pro-con list. We had a litany of opinions -favorable and cautionary. We had brave hearts pounding in our chests, minds running overtime, and a conviction deep in our bones. We knew there'd be work, long hours, and the possibility of broken hearts. We felt like eighteen year-old kids, fresh out of school and overwhelmed by the promise of the world laid out before us. 

We said our prayers, crossed our fingers, and made a choice that came from the warmth in our guts.We said yes to work, to heart ache, to learning to let Him lead. We said yes to packets of paper, background checks, and locks on so many cabinet doors. We high five, smile big, and set out to tackle our list with expectant, pregnant hearts. We said yes to being asked a hundred different questions -yes we disagree over expectations, yes we're sexually compatible, no we don't have a drinking habit- and smiled at what looked like a thousand sticky flags marking all the places we're to autograph.

We've started enjoying glasses of wine at the dinner table turned desk space and curriculum review center. We've started talking about our baby -our God-ordained baby- when we lay in bed at night. We've started betting if it'll be a boy or a girl, if it'll be newborn or not, if we'll have it for temporary or for life. We've talked about the risks, the potential for loss, and every time we end back in the same place: this is our heart's cry, our Called Place, our invitation to The Feast. 

And, for the first time in a long time, we've approached The Feast He's provided with wonder and joy. Joy that bubbles over at the thought of seeing you called Dad. Joy that couldn't be written out on all the surfaces provided by the piles of paperwork we've completed. Joy that founds itself in the promise of being a Mama to the blessed child we have the chance to call ours. Joy that makes my hands beg for space to write, my feet for room to run, my heart for all the love. This joy isn't traditional -in any sense of the word-, but we've never specialized in living the expected way.

There's hurtles and regulations and processes we face, but at the end are our new titles: Mama and Dad. I'd work through all the yellow tape, sign all the black lines, cross all the Big Ts, and jump through hoops of fire if it means being a parent beside you.

Our one-day-in-the-future babe and I are a blessed pair,
Amber


- - - - - - - - - - -

This letter is one in a series of letters I write to remember mundane moments of my marriage that would otherwise slip away. I write with a dedication to hold tight to him and to remember how life looks right now at this very moment. The chance for these letters to shed light on our marriage before children for our children because they won't know us as newlyweds is a much loved and added bonus.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Seven Resources for Avid-Readers






My reading habit gets far more intense in the extra light (and warmth) of summertime. I'm one to finish three of four books a month, but the three glorious months that are marked by sunshine, pool time, and long days, I polish off closer to six or seven. This means I'm spending more on books and, while knowledge is priceless, I've been trying to be a bit more budget friendly in my habit.

1. Thriftbooks

Just placed an order last week after seeing a Thriftbooks sticker on someone's book-stagram. Imagine my thrill when I checked out their site and it was an online used book store. About a year ago, the used book store in our town went out of business -much to my soul's sadness now. So, Thriftbooks. You get free shipping after you spend $10.00 which is simple enough. Eight books later (at an order total of $28.00), I am a fan.

2. Reading friends.

The kind of friendship that blossoms because of books is the best sort of relationship. I feel like a bragger when I say, a half dozen of my closest friends became so through our undying love (and voracious appetite) for books. But this is where you can get the best value for your book by coordination - run any and all purchases by each other before you buy just to be sure you aren't double owning books.

3. Book Match-Making Sites

WhichBook
What Should I Read Next?
BookBrowse

Using different algorithms and criteria, these sites attempt to provide you with a beloved blind book date. I've used them a few times with mixed results, but no harm done when things don't line up because it means you get to try the system out again.

4. Audible send-a-book.

This is a (relatively) new feature that Audible has installed in their mobile app. Basically, you're listening to a book and realize your best friend needs it in her life too. So, instead of texting her and telling her she has to read this book, you send it to her. A link arrives as a text and then she can download it into her library.

I've only done this a few times, so I'm not sure how the cost breaks down (I've only sent free ones), but the convenience is unreal.

5. Blogging for books.

Also Net Galley.
Also BookLook Bloggers.

If you're a blogger and you love to read, why wouldn't you take advantage of these free copies in exchange for a review business? There's no reason, that's why.

6. Little Free Libraries.

These are part of a precious and amazing grassroots literary movement. They operate under the "rule" of leave a book, take a book (though, no one's holding you to that). I am not a re-reader so I find myself with stacks of books I've finished and won't tough again. Enter, Little Free Library which can be visited and traded.

There is a map of LFLs, check out your town or the next city (they're worldwide) you visit -like we did in Denver!

7. Book Pod-Casts

I can't listen to audiobooks without needing some serious decompression from the story line and narrator of each story. So, I intersperse book-listening with literary pod-casts which can be challenging because I'm a snobby listener. Proof: I don't like to listen for more than an hour, 40 minute podcast is optimal. Mouth noises are caught by microphones and if I hear them I become obsessed and annoyed. No spoilers allowed.

What Should I Read Next?
Dear Book Nerd
Get Booked

So I've dropped all the resources and tips I've got.
What am I missing out on fellow bookworms? 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

a reflection on our nation's ongoing tragedies

Mini globes available via AmberThomasMakes
I've been drowning myself in Christmas music over the last week.

I've been filling my brain with Drummer Boy and O Come, O Come Emmanuel and O Come All Ye Faithful. There's some serious hope in those songs, some beautiful, baby-laden hope and right now, hope is what I need. Because I'm feeling all of the feelings, working through all the news of the last week, and wishing for some Christmas magic in July.

I've been trying to make sparkles and shine the distraction from all the emotions that come with tragedy. I've been trying to comfort myself with warm memories because Right Now feels so chaotic and uncertain. I've wanted to speak out, to say how everyone should unite and feel and do and love. But, it's exhausting to hear all the ways people want us to act. It's exhausting. And it's an important first step to welcome and get to know all the feelings swirling around in our souls.

Friends, I am scared. Admittedly, I spend more time online than I want to. But last week, I couldn't stay away from the stream of news as the terrifyingly unjust events happened. From Baton Rouge to Fresno to Boston to Dallas, I was glued. I watched and scrolled and broke into a million little pieces inside. I am scared for my youngest brother with his dark skin and sweet soul, for the judgments placed on him by strangers and I want to take all his life's dangers away.

Friends, I am mourning. I am mourning the deaths of Black men on America's soil. I am mourning the officers who didn't make it home from protecting the people. I am mourning the dream of America as not separate and always equal - an idealism I can no longer pretend exists. We've progressed, but still have so far -so far- to go. I am mourning the future for my children who might be hated for their skin or their sexual orientation or their life choices.

Friends, I am burdened. Deeply and wholly burdened. Burdened as a White woman, as a citizen of the US, as a sister of Black friends, as a Christ-lover, as a future mama. I feel burdened to listen where there is conversation, to cry where there is heartache, to hold space in order for healing to come in heaping doses. I feel burdened to smile a little harder at strangers, to pray rhythmically through my day, to identify and alter the frame of reference that can skew my reality.

Friends, I am angry. There is only one enemy here and he is not human. He is not Black or White or Asian. He is not uniformed or layman. He is not always obvious and single-handed, but he is always mean, always ugly, always a source of hot anger in my chest. He is real and dangerous, but we've got so much more beauty in our hearts than he has power in his possession.

Friends, I am still. Rash and wild is my default reaction to tragedy. I see the pain and want to go sprinting towards it, needing to ease the pain. I want to speak all the words, attempt to patch all the wounds, and make all the aches better. The intention is kind, but the action turns out frantic, chaotic, and, sometimes, ignorant. I am still and communal, allowing my own emotions to wash over the shores of my soul, knowing He's sovereign despite the circumstance.

But friends, for the most part, I am hopeful.  I've been begging Him to sing hope over our souls because I know that hope heals. The internet is full of scary facts and bad news. But then there's this, this, this. Small breaks in the stormy clouds where light pours in, pours through, and is so pure it makes me squint. I've said it before and I'll say it always, but it's action that brings healing. It's holding tight to our similarities and embracing what makes each of us different. It's steps toward each other, where we embrace with arms, engage with minds, and drop walls that will bring back joy.

So, my feelings are named, my thoughts set down on paper (and blog post), my heart ready for action. I circle back to love every time. Love that provides hope, joy, kindness. Love that is honest and pure and unconcerned with the spectrum of our skin, sexual orientation, social status. Love that is made up of small steps in the direction of community.  I've started seeing the people around me in Starbucks and the library and Target instead of engaging with Instagram. I've pushed my face to smile, my voice to welcome, my heart to seek kindness.

I've stopped worrying so much about me and started investing small cents in the people around me. Small currencies in the form of "good morning" and smiles and general kindness. Small cents that are flipped from the tips of my fingers into the wishing well of humanity. Cents filled with wishes and hopes for goodness poured out. Small cents that add up, just as yours do.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Coffee Date || 26 (A Link-Up)


If we were on a coffee date and it was outside, I'd be drinking a sweet cream cold brew. But if we're inside where the air conditioning is kicking, I'd go hot coffee because I'd probably be catching a chill and have left my sweater at home (or in the office). The air conditioning balance is the greatest struggle of life in California (or so I tell myself).

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you I've been adding lemonade to my morning smoothies. Just for the zing of the lemon really, but it's delicious. I'd recommend it to you and then ask if you have any cool, smoothie-enhancing tips. I'd add that I know my mom throws a peeled tangerine in hers for a zesty taste sometimes.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd admit that there's an odd stirring in my soul. It's a stirring that's obsessed with redemption and moving from the black and white area of faith into the grey. It's stirring that's fueled by a new attentiveness I have to the way He works in details and patterns. It's a stirring that's got me engaged in life and faith and thinking hard all over again. It's a beloved stirring.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask you about rhythms in your life. And I'd tell you that mine have shifted lately. They've dropped into a slow, kind pleasant movement that feels like a gentle porch swing in evening light kind of movement. To and fro I go, with a peaceful pleasantness that isn't like any season I've known before. I'm holding tight to this snail's pace, accepting the slow down, and praying some thank yous.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd be curious and pressing about the grey areas in your life. I'd want to know if you embrace them or hate them or attempt to color them in one way or another. I'd tell you that I've learned grey is my happy place (and chosen clothing color) which is a fact I fought so hard for more years than I'm completely willing to admit to.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd recommend grilled spaghetti squash to you. It's so warm in the evenings that I don't want to turn on the oven and make the house hotter, so instead, I put it on a low grill. The charred bits and smokey taste have won, not only me but also, Jason over. I use it just like pasta and it's always a win. Always.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd confess that I'm in a sad reading rut. I'd share that I finished three books that I really loved in early June and haven't found any hint of literary magic since. Then I'd quickly beg you to help me out with your recommendations for restoring my romance with all things literary. Give me tips to get back into the books. Tell me what I absolutely need to read right now. Remind me how a good book can change the course of your day.


If we were on a coffee date, I'd remind you that we're the good in this life. I'd share how hard the news is lately, how devastated I am for our country and how helpless it can make me feel. But then I'd remind you of the way you've changed my heart and made a glorious impression on my life. I'd tell you that you're powerful in beloved, kind ways and I'd dare you to take action for the world just like you did for me.


- - - - - -

Join us friends. Join Erin and I right here, right now.


If this month isn't what fits in with your time or content (the form will stay open for two weeks), you can join the second Monday of every month from now until Kingdom come.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

On Giving Welcome and Learning Names



I went into Target last week. I walked through the sliding doors, was kissed by the cold air of their building, felt thrilled to throw my purse in the red cart of promise. I had a list with three things: dog food, a case of bottled water, and flour tortillas. I went, not only for the three things, but with the dream of drowning disappointment in clothes, nail polish, and office accessories.

It was between the decorative pillows and picture frames that my heart started feeling heavier than the money in my wallet. It was there, just past the baby department of Target, that the real stuff settled in at the bottom of my heart. The real emotional stuff finally made its way to the floor and begged to be addressed.

Usually, I dive near this place where the feelings rest and pick up the words that are easier to massage and comfort. Words like contentment and disappointment. Words that convict me and tire me while serving as familiar systems of control. I know things can't fix problems or make babies, so I shouldn't buy empty promises. I should go home and read my bible and stop looking at what material bandages Target can offer me. I leave my cart, find the exit and all is well.

But it's not contentment or disappointment this time. I leave my empty cart, go home, read my bible, feed the dog. I sit restless, waiting for Jason to pull into the garage. But, my heart remains unsettled.

It's unsettled because this isn't about contentment.
Or things.
This isn't about disappointment.
Or empty promises.
This isn't about heartache.
Or wishful dreams.

This is about names. This is about learning the names of those hard, uncomfortable emotions and giving them space. This is about seeing their face, saying hello, and letting them in. Letting them in so they can run their course, challenge your heart, trouble your soul. It's about naming them so you can know them, so you can use them to heal and change and do more good.

Sad. Anxious. Nervous. Overwhelmed. Names for the currents sweeping through my soul.
Thrilled, exhilarated, brave. The emotions I'm learning to welcome in the proper, honest way.
Wonder-filled, angry, tired. The baggage my drifting soul carries is evident, but rest is offered.

Leave the door open today. I tell myself.
Leave it open. Let's see who shows up.

I'm working on being hospitable to myself this month. Grief makes us strange, fresh beings -like a phoenix rising from the ashes of your previous life's dream- who are learning what it means to walk in this world. July is my month of working on welcoming in what comes without trying to over-program it. My soul is a stranger, a new friend with wild ways, who is equal parts charming and confusing. My soul wants to settle into a new, different bed that I've dedicated July to making.

Throw open your doors friends.
Let the stuffy parts air out. Let the unfamiliar parts come in.
Leave your doors open and welcome who shows up.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Five Joyful Reads for Your July



This month I'm working really hard on slowing down my pace and hopping into the gorgeousness that is summer days. Longer evenings and bright mornings are the song of my soul. So I've been getting more reading in before and after work which has led to a growing list of books I want to read.

I've struggled finding the perfect poolside book this year. I know there's lists floating around and recommendations all over the place, but I'm in a weird place where I don't want too much fluff or too much weight to any book that I pick up. I want substantial characters and interesting plot, but there doesn't need to be a happily ever after or dreary turn of events. Yes, I'm being insanely picky.

So, I wrote myself a list of five books that are perfect for poolside reading. And then I decided you might want to see the list too. So here you go:

Where'd You Go Bernadette

This one is perfect for those suffering from wanderlust and Real Housewives of all the cities lover. Read this to get your dose of drama in without having to endure the actual consequences. This is a page turner that had me BEGGING the world for more time in my day.

Year of Yes

This one is for inspiration, motivation, boldness. Read this later in the month when you're winding down the relaxation vibes and getting ready to get back to hard work. Have a highlighter and page flags ready because wisdom overflows from the pages of this book.

Counting by Sevens

This one has tinges of sad, but is overall so much good. Everyone should read it. Honestly, I don't have words for the way I truly adored this novel. Willow, the main character, is a heart stealer. From page one until the close, you'll be thinking of Willow's fate and humor and intelligence and tale.

The Art of Racing in the Rain

This is for the dog lovers out there. Because dogs all the days of my life. If you want a book to listen to (hi Audible!) THIS IS IT. The narrator is perfect, the story lends itself to being spoken, and the only problem is you'll be dying to know how it all turns out.

Lizzy and Jane 

This is for sisters, for friends, for girl tribes alike. There's sad, but it's outweighed by SO MUCH good. And the close of the novel will leave you with a hunger for more of these characters from Reay.


As a bonus, three reads that are on my Summer Reading List for you to peruse, add to your own, encourage me to read, or tell me to skip.


Because dogs. Because loving something while it dies. Because the cover is adorable. Because everything about this book says easy to read, bring me to tears, and yet flood my heart with love which are the essential elements to a glorious reading experience.

All of Us and Everything 

Because Kelsey recommended it. Because it's the story of some girls. Because there's relationship and life and transition as themes that are explored (which are also playing out as big parts of my life right now).

A Man Called Ove

Because elderly people are precious. Because unlikely friends. Because neighbors who turn out to be more important to your life than simply being the person next door. Chance meetings -even bad luck kind of chance- are beautiful, redemptive things and, well, redemption is currently my obsession.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Public Service Reminders v. 3.0






I had dinner with a sorority sister last month. We sat across from each other and talked about her two boys -gosh I adore her boy-mama heart-, her siblings, my family, and God. This is where I told her, I've been terribly mad at Him lately. I've been mad because we can't have kids. She froze. The waitress stood at the edge of our table. We ordered. 

And then we cried. We sat in the middle of a busy restaurant and cried for my dashed dreams, for biological babies, for the way life throws a wrench the size of Godzilla in our best laid plans. I wiped my eyes and said what I meant. I told her I know that He will redeem this. I said it through the ugly cry face I'm so good at making. She nodded and let salty streams line down her cheeks. 

No one's reacted to any of the horrible news of the last decade of my life in such a beautiful, honest way. No one's met me in the deep sadness with such ease. No one's warmed me so thoroughly. 

This is a public service reminder: Bad news won't be healed with words. It will be healed with community. 

Tears, a bottle of wine, and amazing food are all highly recommended. But maybe your sad friend needs a hike or a prayer or a letter in the mail. Maybe she needs a tub of ice cream and two spoons to share. Love your people well, love them without words and with lots of kind actions. 

- - - - - -

We went river rafting last month. It was an adrenaline-filled blast that exhilarated and terrified me. Before we got in the boats, we had a safety briefing. It covered all the bad things that could happen and the safest ways to navigate currents or rapids should you fall overboard. Our guide mentioned that swimming against the current is pointless and exhausting, so assume a safe swimmer's position and let the water carry you to an easy-to-swim place. 

Essentially, don't fight. If you fall overboard and you're in the middle of strong water, don't fight. Instead, ride it out, keep yourself as safe as possible, and watch for slower waters -because slower water will always happen. 

This is a public service reminder: Don't fight when life forces you to swim. 

Life's going to toss you overboard. The current is going to get wild and unruly, you're going to attempt to paddle and suddenly, you're soaked and scared and underwater. You're wearing a life jacket which will bring you up to air. Instead, lean in, let life's waters push you to safer shores. 

- - - - - -

I went to the dentist two weeks ago and I loved it. I used to hate the dentist because they always gave me trouble for my poor (read: non-existent) flossing habit. But then, two years ago, I became dedicated to flossing because I was tired of spending my time getting cavities filled. I haven't had a cavity since. 

But this isn't about cavities. This is about the hygienist deciding I needed a periodontal test (where they rate the health of your gums). She called in another hygienist and they got ready to go when a joke was made that they should just put in a random sequence of twos and threes. This is an indication of great dental health. I was flattered. They did the test. I got all twos and threes. This is all thanks to flossing. 

But this isn't just about flossing, it's about putting in the work and getting the reward. It just took me two minutes every night (unless I ate beef jerky, then I flossed midday) to reap the healthy gum, dentist bragging reward. But it took me years to get to the point of dedication. 

This is a public service reminder: Do the work. Do it now. Don't wait. 

Floss or paint or read or run. Blog or journal or bible study or walk. Do the work instead of putting it off because there's no progress without your dedication to the process. 

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