Lunch date with no one

Isn’t it funny how, generally, we feel awkward being by ourselves in public while waiting for something or someone? My first reaction is to take out my phone and pretend to be doing something important…like typing a crucial text message or cruising the internet (and I don’t even have a smartphone). But today I didn’t need to use my phone as a crutch because I brought a book instead, which made me feel much less of a lame-o. I went to Ginger Snaps for lunch on my own today, as I had an hour to spare before a tennis date with Emma. In the small and crowded dining area, people in groups of 2 or 3 chatted away while I parked myself at the counter and read while waiting for my food.

And while I ate, I thought. I let my mind wander and realized that it was kind of liberating to not feel like I had to make conversation or worry that I had pesto in my teeth. I’m a people person and absolutely enjoy company, but it was an unusual scenario I found myself in. So I guess the lesson for me in this post is the following: there’s no need to feel like the weirdo girl who has no friends to eat lunch with, and it’s ok to not look like I’m occupied while studying every intricacy of each picture on my phone. Sometimes, it’s good to just be. That is all.

Gettin’ crafty with it

I’ve never really believed that you can “force” craftiness. Sure, practice makes…well, improvements, but is the ability to be crafty this piece of DNA that only some inherit? It’s unclear whether I possess this semi-fictional gene, but I am constantly trying to improve my craftability.Yep, I said it. Craftability.

It started this past school year, when I met my dear roommate and friend Shannon, who can whip up hand-made dresses like a batch of brownies. We became addicted to this website called Craftgawker.com, where people post little projects that they’ve either seen or attempted (or maybe both). And BAM! Suddenly I’m looking into crafts I can do in my dorm and following a blog called YoungHouseLove about a couple who conquers DIY projects in their home on a daily basis.

I have tried a few things. I made a big heart on cardstock out of black and white buttons and placed it in a frame, which I painted mustard yellow, and I’ve made pop-up cards and tissue paper pom poms. I’ve also made doily vases for my mom for Mother’s Day like this one. So I think I’m getting somewhere.

YoungHouseLove must be building this chuckle-worthy confidence in me, as I’m anticipating my first apartment and these big ol’ plans to reupholster chairs and learn to sew curtains and paint coffee tables and what not. We’ll see if that actually happens, but I love the pioneering mentality of it. I love the inspiration. So maybe it doesn’t matter if craftability is innate or forced or any other way it presents itself. Maybe all it takes is an eager spirit, yes?

Meet the best sandals ever made. Ever.

A few months ago, I came across one of MOST RAD pair of sandals I’ve ever seen. And the best part? I own them now, thanks to my guy! I fell in love with them on StumbleUpon and now want to spread their goodness and mission to everyone else. Their name is Sseko.

You can check out their website here: http://www.ssekodesigns.com/

As the story on the website goes, a young woman named Liz graduated with a communication degree and traveled to Uganda to work for a nonprofit. She discovered this community of women who were totally smart, but struggled to make money to attend higher education. So Liz designed a versatile sandel, a simple leather base with five loops and two ribbon straps that allow you to tie in multiple ways. Here’s a picture if I’ve confused you.

After Liz designed this, she hired the women to hand-craft them so they could earn money for school! How incredibly neat and ambitious is that??

They’re beautiful shoes made by beautiful people. I have three different patterns/colors of straps, so I’m having fun interchanging them and experimenting with tie varieties.

Sseko is only two years old and has not received much media attention. And not like this blog is MSN or anything, but I want people to know about them. The website offers materials for a “Party in a Box,” where you can host a Sseko party and get a group discount on all sandals! If you’re interested in ordering a pair, hold off and talk to me first! Let’s try to make a party out of it, shall we? :)

I want to work for this company. Liz’s story inspires me, and she’s a prime example of the “Why not?” mentality. Sseko represents hope and opportunity. Who wouldn’t dig that?

Wait, I’m not the baby anymore?

Things are coming full circle. I say that with a hint of hesitancy, but also with a sense of excitement for what’s to come. I’m talking about my family. As we headed over to Indy tonight for a family birthday celebration, I was able to sit next to this little bean:

Sweet, isn’t he? And while I tried excessively to make him smile by making ludicrous faces and talking that baby talk, I couldn’t help but later think about how our family life is changing and how it will continue to change. This feeling was further pressed, as upon arriving I saw my cousin’s adorable 8 month old, Eli, as well as the ever-enthusiastic Aiden, always begging someone to play with him, and there was talk of more babies to come. Those little babies and the can’t-help-but-laugh orneriness of Aid reminded me that that’s who I used to be. And Megan and Mark and my cousins too. We were the ones people doted over. We were the ones who were told to eat “just three more” bites before we could get down from the table. And now we’re the parents with the cute kids (ok, not me specifically, but you get the point).

It’s an odd thing. In the near future, Christmas and Thanksgiving and birthday parties are going to be overrun with kids again. Another generation arises. I realize this is kind of what happens; it’s the natural progression, or whatever, but it’s still an idea to get acquainted with. Strange.

But exciting. If I love these boys this much, I’m only going to love my own more. And the chaos at the dinner table, the messes, the much-strived for smiles…it will all just be…well, good.

My Kind of Feminism

My boyfriend (only half-jokingly) calls me a feminist. I’m certainly no man-hater, but I’ll admit that I do sometimes roll my eyes at sexist jokes (although some are pretty hilarious) and get a little disheartened when I see girls of any age wearing clothes that only say, “Look at my body,” like there’s nothing else they have to offer (i.e. a personality, sense of humor) that people would find attractive. I know, I know. I DO love clothes and I love feeling good about how I look, but where are the women, especially in the public eye, who act and dress more on the modest side and are STILL wickedly awesome? Well, look no further. I found one. Watch one or both videos of this classy chick, and then we’ll talk.

You can pick up your jaw now.

Her name is Janelle Monae, and my friend Andy introduced me to her. She’s gorgeous, an amazing dancer, but most of all, I see this energy radiating…like she knows who she is, and if she doesn’t, she’s well on her way to figuring it out. In “Tightrope,” you see her playful side. In “Cold War,” you see her vulnerability. LOVE this.

While we’re on the subject, let’s talk vulnerability. I don’t know too many women who are great at expressing it. Heck, I’m bad at showing it too. But sometimes tears are the most beautiful thing to witness, like something is being shed and healing is going on.

So cheers to Janelle Monae for being a prime example of womanhood: a captivating balance of strength and vulnerability, while not being afraid to showcase what she’s good at.

Encouraged.

The Preaching Saga

Today was exhausting. I know that doesn’t sound like the most positive way to begin this post, but I feel it. Why, you ask? As the ministry intern at my church this summer, I was given the opportunity to preach a full-blown sermon today for both church services and a shorter service at Westminster Village (I know Grandma Rosalie was thrilled to see me up there on her turf). I’m going to make this an anti-climactic post and just say that it went well. Because I think it did. But let me describe the preaching journey for you…

I knew this was coming from day one. I agreed to it, but it’s amazing how fast a date like July 24th can sneak up. Memorial’s pastors teach primarily from the Lectionary, which is basically like a church calendar that assigns each Sunday four scripture passages: old testament, new testament, gospel, and a psalm. About five weeks ago, I looked through the Lectionary to pick my text I would talk about. Genesis was out–how could I make a good sermon out of a story about a father-in-law tricking his new son into sleeping with the wrong daughter? The psalm wasn’t very specific and the gospel was packed with seven different parables. That left Romans 8:26-39. So I spent the next few weeks thinking, looking at commentaries, and being my own harshest critic. Soon enough, my sermon was born.Beyond the sermon, though, I also was able to pick all the hymns, praise music, words of reflection and liturgy, not to mention (nicely) ordering Scott and Jill around, telling them what they were in charge of for the day.

My sermon title was called “The Chase.” The main idea was that even though we’re guaranteed God will always love us, we sometimes run away from that security because we’d rather handle things on our own. Luckily, God still pursues us…every day.

Thought Number One: I totally have a new appreciation for ministers and the art of preaching. I spent however many weeks preparing this sermon, and ministers do this EVERY WEEK. Kudos times ten. For real. Scott and Jill, you are awesome. Thank you for all your encouragement.

Thought Number Two: Many many MANY thanks to my family and friends who came to support me today. Here’s looking at you Mom, Dad, Megan, Matt, Aiden, Owen, Mark, Gina, Grandma Adams, Grandma Rosalie, Emma, Andy, Paul, Madeline, and Ryan, as well as the Manning’s, my extension family, Kelli, Becky, and the rest of my absolutely amazing church family. And Thomas, I felt your support from New Mexico. Thank you.

Geez, I sound like I just won an Oscar or something ridiculous. Wrapping things up though, yes, it was an exhausting day, but most importantly, it was an amazingly rewarding day. Multiple people came up to me and said how they needed to hear those words, or they came with someone who needed to hear those words. That’s so cool. But what’s cooler is this: I didn’t tell them what they needed to hear. God did. He’s good. And to be a part of that goodness reignited my own faith. Oh, the saga of preaching.

(If you want to hear the sermon in whole, head on over to the church website, umcmemorial.com, and scroll down about halfway).

Tired and totally blessed.

Here goes…something?

When this whole blogging revolution started, I wondered if I would catch on at some point. I mean, I can write decently enough. I like spilling my thoughts and trying to make pretty sentences. But most of all, I love when I know people (and when people know me) on a different level. Not some everyday, we-say-hi-on-the-street persona, and not a you’re-my-weirdish-relative persona, but a you’re-a-real-person persona. You know, being able to admit and talk about the stupid things we do and celebrate the little joys that make our day better. Learning about people. Learning about life (sounds cliche, but it’s true). Keeping more in touch than we normally would.

My hopes for this blog? To become a sharing space. One day I might talk of  aunthood, stress of school, my handsome guy, and another day I may post beautiful photos of people I don’t know, or an article that makes me think. Whatever it is, I hope it brings us closer as family, friends, acquaintances, and anything in between. So I guess there’s only one question remaining…