It’s a Girl!

This past weekend my college roommates and I hosted a baby shower for our friend whose sweet baby girl is due in April.  These ladies are my people, and we’ve been through a lot of big moments together—breakups, graduation, new jobs, weddings, and now a baby.  We had so much fun planning, crafting cute decorations, and spending the day celebrating the new member of our girl squad. We can’t wait to meet you, Kennedy Jane!

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On Celebration

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When was the last time you really celebrated something? Was it a fancy dinner to toast a new job or a promotion? Was it a birthday party where you blew out candles surrounded by people you love and gave thanks for another year? Was it a wedding where you drank champagne and danced until your feet hurt? Was is a baby shower where you cooed over tiny, perfect socks and ate cake with too much frosting? Was it a big game, a graduation, a proposal? Those are the big moments, the headlines, the movie-worthy moments that come along only every so often.

But what about the billions of tiny, ordinary moments that make up our everyday lives? Aren’t those moments worthy of celebration, too?

I’ve been rereading Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist, and it’s making me pay closer attention to the beauty and the magic of the life that I’m living right here and now. I love this passage:

I choose to believe there is nothing more sacred and profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don’t even see it, because I’m too busy waiting to become whatever it is I’m about to become….

I believe if we cultivate a true attention, a deep ability to see what has been there all along, we will find worlds within us and between us, dreams and stories and memories spilling over. The nuances and shades and secrets and intimations of love and friendship and marriage and parenting are action-packed and multicolored, if you know where to look…

This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events.  But pull off the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted. Your life right now, today, is exploding with energy and power and detail and dimension, better than the best movie you have ever seen. You and your family and your friends and your house and your dinner table and your garage have all the makings of a life of epic proportions, a story for the ages. Because they all are. Every life is.

I don’t know about you, but I want to live my life that way—with a keen awareness and deep gratitude for the little moments that are worthy of celebration. I want to celebrate the gifts, the snapshots, the minutes that add up and make a life. I want to pay closer attention to the warmth of the sun on my face, the smell of coffee brewing in the morning, and the comfort of my husband’s hand holding mine in the car.

Celebration, I think, isn’t something to save for the big moments. It’s a way of living that makes our everyday sweeter and richer. Celebration is also a choice. It’s deciding to give thanks, to be present, to savor what’s happening around you—good or bad, easy or hard.

What does it look like for you to live a life of celebration?

 

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February Reading List

 

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  1. After You by Jojo Moyes. After You is the much-anticipated sequel to Me Before You, which I just absolutely LOVED. In After You, the main character attempts to navigate life after losing the man she loves. It’s a really beautiful story about relationships, healing and learning to stand on your own two feet, but it just didn’t give me the feels like Me Before You. It’s a great book, but it just doesn’t compare to the original for me.
  2. I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum. I had seen this novel recommended over and over again, but really didn’t think it was going to be my kind of book. I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You is a novel about an artist who attempts to win back the love and affection of his wife following an affair. I found the storyline to be a little depressing (obviously), and the characters weren’t all that likable (especially the protagonist—he was pretty repulsive, actually). Still, something about this book kept me reading. The writing was smart, and she had me engaged until the very end. I can’t say I loved this book, but it was definitely interesting.
  3. The Divorce Party by Laura Dave. I read this book while I was in Jamaica, and it’s the perfect easy read for a day at the beach. The novel follows two love stories, one ending and one just beginning, and all the emotions, secrets, and trials they encounter along the way. It’s definitely chick lit—easy, enjoyable, and not too complicated.  Just what you want for a day on the beach!

Friday Links

Friday Links are round-up of my favorite posts/videos/projects/photos from around the web.  

tumblr_nkrviuqPpc1rt5pgzo1_400It’s Friday! I’m so excited for the weekend.  We’ve got the usual on the agenda—some time with friends, Netflix marathons, good food, sleeping in, and church on Sunday. Have a fabulous weekend, friends! XO

For your weekend reading pleasure….

 

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Jamaica

It’s a cold, icy, gross Monday over here, so it seemed like the perfect time to share some pictures from our vacation last month. We spent a few days in Jamaica at the end of January before I started my new job. The trip was a chance to get away and relax for a few days, celebrate new beginnings, and just spend time together. We had an incredible time. We stayed at Jewel Paradise Cove in Runaway Bay, and we can’t say enough about their wonderful resort and staff. We had such a wonderful time soaking up the sun and ignoring the real world.  Also, apparently I only managed to take one picture of the two of us together the whole time…sigh.  I really wish I was back there right now!

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Embracing Grace

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I heard a description of Lent today that I just love—Lent is a time to embrace grace.

I grew up attending a Catholic school, so as a child that was really my only experience with Lent (I am Baptist, after all).  Most of what I remember learning about Lent had to do with giving something up—something like tv or chocolate or soda.  Something to help you think about sacrifice.

Over the years I’ve embraced that notion.  Not so much giving up chocolate, but the idea of less.  I’ve come to understand Lent as a season that invites us to create space in our chaotic, too full lives. I’ve come to understand it as a season of quiet  and stillness and allowing God to enter in and work in our hearts and in our lives.

But it’s also more than that. I love the idea of choosing to use this time to focus on grace. This year I want to embrace the grace that is mine because of what Jesus did for me on the cross. I want to say thank you as often as I say I’m sorry. I want to allow myself to sit in awe of what God has done and is continuing to do in this world. I want to practice gratitude and wonder and joy in light of what Jesus chose to do for me even though I didn’t deserve it.

This season, for me, will be an exercise in embracing grace—when I don’t feel it, when I don’t deserve it, when I don’t notice it. I am choosing to lean in and listen hard to God’s voice, to the constant refrain that I am beloved.

 

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Easy Valentine’s Centerpiece

It’s almost time for Valentine’s Day, and I love decorating our home for holidays…no matter how small.  This year, I thought our dining room table could use a little love, so I made this super quick and easy centerpiece.  Most of the materials were things I already had or picked up in the dollar section at Target, so the entire project cost about $4.  Not bad for an afternoon of DIY-ing!

All you need to get started is a mason jar, some fake birch branches from Michael’s, a glue gun, and whatever shapes you choose to use (I used hearts for Valentine’s Day).

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I cut the branches down to the size I wanted and arranged them in the mason jar.

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Next, it’s just a matter of gluing the shapes onto the branches.  I started at the tops of the branches and then filled in until it looked the way I wanted.  I decided to stick with gold, red, and light pink.

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I planned on being done at this point, but the mason jar just wasn’t really working for me. I grabbed some pink and white kitchen twine (again…Target dollar section!) and wrapped it around the jar. It made all the difference!

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And there you have it…a cute, easy Valentine’s decoration for your home.

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Spring decoration are up next–what are you crafting these days?