Saturday, June 8, 2019


As I wrote yesterday, the past week has been emotional... and with high emotions come exhaustion. Add to that a trip to Lexington to get glasses, a youth group trip to Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana (even though all I did was lounge on a float in the lazy river and try to finish the second Outlander book and sleep), and Relay For Life (even if a shortened version!) last night, and I was more than willing to have a day lounging around the house doing nothing but playing Candy Crush, reading, and catching up on Season 2 of Outlander and my Netflix list. The clouds were heavy and it spoke of rain and there's nothing quite like burrowing on the couch on a rainy day.

Caleb had to be up early for the ACT, but thankfully he's now able to drive so he got himself to Wolfe Co. He had mentioned going to the Beer Cheese Festival in Winchester when he got home, but I guess the early mornings babysitting and all of the brain power needed for the ACT convinced him that he was tired, too, because when he rolled in at Twin Cedar he had changed his mind.

I quietly breathed a sigh of relief and promptly stuck my nose back in to Claire and Jamie's world.

Then, because I'm nearing the end of the novel and my hand was getting tired from holding the book in a certain light to try to be able to see because I'm getting old (I have about 200 pages to go BUT it's almost 1000 total so I feel like I'm getting close to the end)...
Anyway, because I felt like I needed a break from reading I hopped on my computer and started scrolling on Facebook.

I ran across pictures of facebook friends at said Beer Cheese Festival, at a BBQ Festival in Lexington, at the beach, at at the Gorge, out of state, eating out...

All the usual fun things you post about on social media...

And I found myself starting in disdain at the book that I had JUST been saying I hadn't had enough time to read.

Because y'all.

Social media envy is a real thing and if we aren't careful it will destroy our lives.

I'm pretty sure that Paul wouldn't have written the verse about finding the secret to being content if he had lived in Facebook/Twitter/Instagram land... because those places are the secret to quickly becoming discontent.

I'm not saying I don't want my friends to have a good time... absolutely not! I LOVE social media and LOVE to see pictures of my friends and others enjoying life... all of their successes and all of their adventures. I know that I'll never live long enough to get to do everything that I want to do, but I can experience so many things and places vicariously through my friends.

It's just that sometimes when I see other people posting all of their great adventures, my lounging on the couch seems less than.

It's called FOMO... the Fear of Missing Out...

and we have to nip it in the bud.

I'm not saying don't pursue adventures- if you read my post the other day you know it's the complete opposite. Part of my goal this summer is to live as much as I can by getting out and doing things...

but it's also about being fully present in whatever moment we are given... not wishing I was somewhere doing something else.

So, I actually logged off the computer. I picked my book back up and ran my fingers lovingly over the worn pages...

because sometimes, the thing we need to fear missing out on is right in front of us. Quietness. Rest. Getting lost in a story.

The adventures will be waiting... and you'll be right on time.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Some Summer Reflections

This past week has been a roller coaster ride for my family.  As with any time of transition, it has me doing some reflecting... some processing... some recollecting.

My cousin Landry, the "baby" cousin, moved to Houston to start a new job.

My Uncle David died early Saturday morning from liver disease, something he had battled with for several years. . At the end, the last few hours, he worshipped along with my mom during her singing of Amazing Grace and I have no doubt that he is in Heaven with his Mom and Dad right now, struggling no more.

That very day, at 430 in the evening, my cousin Jordan married the love of his life, Samantha. It was an event we had looked forward to, and we were once again reminded of just how fragile life is, but how their is beauty in that fragility. It was a beautiful wedding, centered on the grace and blessing of God.

Tuesday brought Uncle David's funeral. As we gathered together in the funeral home, we were laughing and sharing stories, as we so often do when we are together. My Mamaw was a storyteller, and she taught us about connection. My cousin Gentry showed a video of his daughter Sawyer climbing up the changing table, and it resonated with me because I, too, was a climber.

My Mom found me on top of our upright piano one time. She walked out of the living room for literally 2 seconds into the kitchen and when she came back there I sat, swinging my legs back and forth. I was probably about Sawyer's age.

My favorite perch was on the kitchen table, though, just like a centerpiece.

I don't really remember it, but as my cousin Braylee said a couple of years ago,  I wasn't "afraid of nuffin."

My favorite reading spot a couple of summers in a row? A rock in the dried up creek by my house that was in the shape of Kentucky. I didn't think that copperheads or rattlesnakes liked to sun on rocks...

Crowds? Didn't bother me. I'd just as soon pretend I had a microphone in my hand and belt out "Tomorrow" from Annie. I even got a tip from a waitress at Disney World for my impromptu performance. The more people watching, the better.

I'm not sure when I lost that...

the ability to climb without worrying about falling.
the ability to not care who was looking at me or what they thought.
the utter fearlessness...

A couple of months ago, I was really struggling with a situation. Questioning. Looking for a way out...
and I felt like God spoke to me.
Not audibly... but in that small voice that you have to listen to really carefully to know what it was saying.
I'm pretty sure it was Him, because what that voice said was nothing I would have said to myself.
It essentially spoke up and said, "You can't keep letting fear push you away."

I would hear that message in podcasts on the way home from work... especially one by Emily Freeman, The Next Right Thing, who spoke in her calm and soothing voice about not letting fear boss you and not letting fear keep you from doing something you really wanted to do...

She basically said you could have other good reasons for not doing something, but if those reasons were being afraid of the what ifs... or the what nots... it wasn't a good enough reason.

I recently shared a meme on Facebook that spoke to where I am right now (or at least where I want ot be).  I don't own the rights to this picture, so please noone sue me (see! I'm afraid of litigation!)
So, amid the working ahead for the fall semester and working at the hospital and me forever trying to get my life under some semblance of being together... this is the summer where I do this.

Go back to laughing and basking in the sun and trying new things (except new food!) and not being afraid of taking the climb or what is hiding under the weeds on either side of the trail or if I'm doing enough or too much or whatever.

The summer before I turn 40?

A summer of adventure. Of appreciation. Of remembering what is important.

The best stories are those where the plot changes a few times... those that leave you guessing.

Here's to living that kind of life.

Monday, June 3, 2019

What I Read in April and May

What I read- not nearly enough!
But I did wind up a semester and do some hiking and got the boat in the lake for the first and second time this year and spent some time in my kayak and played bubbles with Melody...
so I'm giving myself grace because I've been busy living. I'll read as I can =)

1. A Light in the Dark by Maria K. Benjamin
This was a book I got through netgalley, and it was a good read. A fictional account of a sexual assault victim and how she found her way back to herself, it was a difficult read at times, but well worth it. The characters were well developed and believable, and I found myself hoping she could come to terms with her experience and learn to love again. 

2. Yes, No, and Maybe by Wendy Pope
This was a book we did with Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies, and I finished it late. It was all about learning to say yes to God, no to self, and maybe to good opportunities as they present themselves. Pope writes in personable voice, encouraging us to live the immeasurably more life. Full of Scripture, discussion questions, and thought-provoking quotes, I appreciated this book at the end of the semester as I question what truly is most important.

3. Bon Bon to Yoga Pants by Katie Cross
This book is about weight loss- but so much more. It's funny, sweet, and encouraging, as the main character,  Lexie, learns to love herself in her own skin. Highly recommend for someone looking for a short, easy read.

4. Educated by Tara Westover
In this memoir, Westover tells of her life as the daughter of survivalists. Her dad didn't believe in formal education, governmental interference, or healthcare, so she faced many difficulties throughout her childhood. She self-taught herself, went to college, and along the way discovered just what being educated meant. At times hard to read because of the heart-wrenching content, this book was a great reminder of how we can all do what we determine is necessary. Highly recommend!

5. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
I was leary to read this because how can you improve on the Wizard of Oz (although I had never read the book until this year- see below!) However, Caleb wanted to see the musical and y'all know I can't see something without reading it first... we've still not watched the musical but it's on our bucket list. I've got to be honest with this one. It was a hard read. There was some very lewd content and language, and I found some parts distasteful. If you can get past that, it's an ok read. (And that's just my opinion!)

6. From the Grave: A 40 Day Lent Devotional by A. W. Tozer
Loved this book. Brief devotions for each day of Lent based on the writings of Tozer.

7. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Yes, I had never read this one until this year! It was a bonus feature in my Wicked e-book, and a quick book but delightful.

8. Pauses for Lent: 40 Words for 40 Days by Trevor Hudson
This was another great read for Lent. Short devotions, thoughtful actions centering around one word a day.

9. And The Angels Were Silent by Max Lucado
I love Lucado, and the way he writes a story in every word on the page. This book was fitting for Easter time, working through the events Jesus faced the last week of His life. Loved it!

10. Preparing for Easter by C.S.Lewis
This devotional pulled writings from Lewis for each day. Entries were short and easy to read, and also easy to apply. 

1. Plowshare in Heaven by Jesse Stuart
A series of short stories centered on Northeastern Kentucky. I love that I understand Stuart's language and can picture some of the places he describes. Part of my #ExploreKy initiative, I'm reading Kentucky authors, so I"m sure Stuart will show up again.

2. Keep Showing Up by Karen Ehman
We read this for Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies, and I actually finished on time for this one! Ehman is such a talented author. She writes in a way that draws her reader in, and she provides sound Biblical basis for her ideas, as well as practical ways to apply the content. This book is focused on "average marriages", and is chock full of ideas to keep showing up and loving your hubby. Definitely recommend this one if you are married or if you're thinking of getting married.

3. Women of the Word by JenWilkin
Wilkin is an awesome Bible teacher who encourages her students to dig into the Word for themselves, learning what is actually there instead of having some one just "spoonfeed" it to them. This book gives tips and a process to really study God's Word so that it can be understood and applied. Highly recommend this for any student of the Bible- young or old!

4. Until I say Goodbye by Susan Spencer-Wendel
Spencer-Wendel was an investigative journalist who had a great life until she was diagnosed with ALS. She decided she wasn't going to take the disease without fighting, so she went on a "bucket list" type of final year. This book is about her life, her adventures, her family, and what she learned along the way. The latter part of this book was TYPED WITH HER NOSE, Y'ALL!!! Sadly, she passed away in 2014, but this story is a good reminder to live each day fully. Loved it!

5. Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
Part love story, part mystery, this book has well-developed characters, enough suspense to keep you guessing... and anytime one of the main characters turns out to have amnesia you know it's going to be good, right? Aimee has the perfect relationship until her fiance disappears. She has been told he is dead; even attends a funeral the day that should have been married, but something tells her it's not the truth. Her search then reveals a twisting, winding road of family intrigue, jealousy, and love that keeps the reader flipping the page. I recommend this one if you like a good, fast read with suspense. I just started the second one in this series.

6. Trust Me by Jo Huddleston
This is the second book in this series. I found the first book a little dull and this one was slightly better. The plot was choppy in places and the dialogue was hard to read at times. A short read set in West Virginia, it's a sweet story but can't say I'd really recommend it.

7. The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
This book follows the Ingalls family through-you guessed it! A long winter, complete with numerous blizzards and times when they surely thought they'd starve. I love this series and am sad there's only a couple more books for me to read.

I'm way behind my goal so I'm going to stop typing and get to reading. Check back next month for my June reads. I need to finish 17 books to get myself back on track! As always, I'd love to see what's on your list, even though my to read list is a mile long!