"I want to write a book when I grow up."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Just like every little girl, (yup, that's me- on the left, with my lovely sister) I used to dream about what I wanted to be "when I grew up."  At one point, all I could dream about was being a waitress or a cashier.  Many hours were spent in the basement at my childhood home, where my sister and I took turns being the customer while the other spotlighted the much coveted role as waitress, grocery store cashier, or even as Dairy Queen employee.  Since then, these dreams have faded into the background- just a fun memory gone by.  I never became a waitress.  I never worked at Dairy Queen.  I did work at a Christian bookstore for 3 years where I got to enjoy the pleasure of ringing people up on the cash register.  So I guess you can check cashier off my list. woohoo!  But there are a few dreams that I remember stating often when asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" that still ring true as ever- that I'm still pursuing as I work towards this whole growing up thing.

One of those dreams was, I always wanted to be a writer.  In fact I used to imagine myself working for a Christian magazine, writing articles, doing interviews, and maybe even one day being the editor.  That and, I always told myself I would write a book someday.  [I guess in some ways you can check that off the list- my Christmas present one year was one of those awesome projects where you got to be author and illustrator, and at the end you sent it in and received a hard-cover copy of your very own book!  This was pretty darn cool, I must admit.]  As I went through high school and the beginning of college, my passion for writing continued.  I loved writing papers, took a few journalism classes and wrote for the Ripon College newspaper, called College Days.  (Check em out - here, here, and here.  They're kind-of entertaining, hah.)  But somewhere after Sophomore year, I veered away from this passion and pursued a major in Religion and a minor in French.  Super random combo right?  Although I don't regret that choice of focus at all, (it led me to my beloved job working with the college ministry at Elmbrook Church) it has been since getting married and joining the blogging world that this passion for writing has been re-ignited.

The long and short of it is- I've realized that I'm not quite ready to let go of my childhood dream.  Wanting to be a writer is still very present in my heart.

In fact, I'm excited to share that I've actually made a step in continuing and pursuing my passion for writing.  Yesterday, I made my debut as a contributor for a website called Circle of Friends that serves to reach and encourage women in their walk with the Lord.  Through this website, many different authors write devotionals or blog posts, sharing what God's doing in their lives and encouraging the many women who frequent the page.  I am so excited to have been given an opportunity to be one of these contributing authors and share my heart by writing a blog post twice a month.  [Here's my first post .  Tag along on this new adventure, if you'd like!]  I'm glad to be a part of this mission, and look forward to what God has in store.

So I guess you can consider that 'Step 1' in pursuing one of my dreams.  I have no idea if I'll ever reach the point of getting a book published, but I have every intent of continuing to dream and moving forward with hope.

Is there a dream that is heavy on your heart?  Maybe you, too, should consider going for it!  Even though we may be somewhat "grown up", no one said we had to stop dreaming.


A Lesson from my Succulents

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I must admit that I have a major crush on succulents.  Okay, maybe that's putting it lightly.  I'm actually quite in love with them really.  I'm not sure where I first saw them or how our love affair began, but I think that they are so so lovely.  They seem to be all over Instagram lately, and I can't help but 'like' every picture that I come across with succulents.  With that said, I'd like to introduce you to my three little babies.  

I first met these guys about a year ago at my neighborhood Steins.  And let me tell you, it was love at first sight.  I went in thinking that I was going to buy just one, and walked out with three because they were just too cute.  But my love for succulents goes deeper than just looks...they are so easy to manage.  A little bit of water (about once every two weeks in the winter and once a week in summer) and a lot of sunlight gives these sweet plants just what they need to grow.

Being that I live in Wisconsin, my plants have to live inside in the winter and soak up as much sun as they can through the window.  And what I've noticed over the past few weeks is how much they really need the sun.  I started to notice that instead of their leaves growing up towards the sun, they were starting to droop down towards their sides.  At first I thought maybe they needed more water (I'm no botanist) so I tried that.  When that didn't work I started to think about their need for sun.  Here in good ole Wisconsin, it has been a LONG winter.  Now that the sun is finally making an appearance more often, I decided to test out my theory, and move the plants out on our tiny porch where they can soak up a lot more sun.  In just a few days of bright sunlight, they are already picking up their droopy little arms and reaching up towards the sunlight.  I seriously love this.  Maybe I sound a little crazy but it really brings me joy!! 

What's crazy to me is that these plants, they seem to just know that they need the light to grow.  They know it so well that if they feel the light, they literally turn their little heads, leaning or growing towards the direction of the sun! And this is where I feel that I've been schooled by my succulents.  

Just as the succulents need the sunlight to grow, I know that I need God's wisdom, His Word, His involvement in my life, in order to grow and to be transformed into the creation that He created me to be.  Knowing this, I want to follow in the example of my succulents.  I need to be really intentional about leaning towards the light.  To seek my heavenly Father more and more, trusting that He can provide exactly what I need to make me grow.  

So, thank you, little succulents for setting such a great example and making me appreciate the sun (and the Son) even more.   

Images by me :)  Thanks to my sweet grandpa and my lovely new Canon T4i.

In Love with Life: Birthday Blessings

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Here I am, two days later, and I am still a little overwhelmed by how blessed and truly celebrated I felt on my birthday.  As I shared in a post about a huge birthday balloon for my sister, birthdays have always been kind-of a big thing in our family.  We try to make them special for each person and make sure they know how much we love them and how special they are to us.  It's actually quite awesome and I'm so blessed to have grown up this way.  Someone recently commented on how birthdays after you turn 21 just don't have a lot to them- how turning the big 27 is really just me reaching my late twenties.  I shrugged, and somewhat agreed, I guess.  But now that my 27th birthday has come and gone, I can honestly say that it is up there on the "most special birthday" list.

Waking up in the morning I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes just enough to give my husband a kiss and receive a few cheerful "happy birthdays" before he went out the door.  Shortly thereafter, I was forced to jump out of bed as the doorbell rang and a beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived from my sweet man.  Taking my flowers into the kitchen I was greeted by a funny card with a love-filled message on the back.  Not even an hour into my day and I was already feeling the love.  I quickly hopped in the shower, threw on a sundress (thank you God for giving me a sunny day) and went out the door to my next birthday event.  Sitting out on the patio, soaking up the much-missed sunshine, (even to the extent of a little sunburn, oops) my super-cute friend, Tara, treated me to mimosas, a yummy breakfast, and a morning birthday sundae at the tasty Cafe Hollander.

Full, on my just-eaten breakfast, I wasn't so sure how I was going to digest quickly enough to make room for the lunch I was supposed to have with my mom in the next 40 minutes.  I went home to sit for a bit, only to find a little package waiting at my door. Another one of my friends, Alexa, had driven 45 minutes to drop a little something off for me!  At this point, I was thinking that this day couldn't get any better.  And then the doorbell rang...

I was expecting to see my cute little mother's face when I opened the door, but was quite surprised to be greeted with a Minnie Mouse balloon that was almost my size!  With a big smile on my face and a little chuckle I opened the door to see my mom AND MY SISTER hiding around the corner.  The caps are most definitely important here, because my sister is a teacher and it is not often that she is able to take time off work.  In fact, she gets 1 personal day for the whole year.  My amazing sister took half of that 1 day, to spend with and celebrate me.  Oof- I cannot even explain how overwhelmed and how special I felt from this enormous gesture along-with the special coordination my mom pulled off to make it happen.  And that wasn't it; the day continued to get better and better as they surprised me with a birthday lunch followed by pedicures!!  We wrapped up the day by heading to my parents house where my sweet pops grilled up some shiskabobs.  We ate together, shared a lot of laughter, some birthday cake and they continued to spoil me with some gifties.  On our way home, I couldn't help but get a little teary in the car as I thought about how truly amazing my birthday had been.  I was so overwhelmed and overjoyed by how much love I had experienced.

The reason I am sharing this is not to rub it in your face or stick my nose up in the air and say "look at what I did, aren't I special?"  I wanted to share this with you because it made me realize the impact that really being shown love in a tangible, physical presence sort of way, makes on our lives.  I don't know about you, but I want to experience love like this everyday!  What's crazy is, that's how God loves us- in a way that is overwhelming, that is all about blessings and encouragement and support amidst whatever trials we are facing in this world.  He created us to desire, receive, and be givers of this crazy love.

One of my dear friends called me a "specializer" yesterday.  She said that I am really good at making people feel special and celebrated, and that she was so excited to hear that I experienced being "specialized" on my birthday.  I was really honored and humbled that she labeled me in that way.  Thinking more about it, I think we are all created to be "specializers"- to make others feel loved and celebrated, and not just on our birthdays.

I am so thankful for everyone who made an impact on my day (and my life) by showing me crazy love.  I hope that I can continue to grow in my role as a "specializer" and make more and more people's days by showing them overwhelming love.


P.S. Thanks to everyone else who sent me love on my special day too!  And a shout out to my Iron Man 3 watching, tattoo-bearing friends. :)

Why hello, Canon T4i!!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Yesterday as the UPS truck pulled up, I couldn't help but book it down the stairs to meet the beautiful brown box labeled B&H Photography with my name on it.  But before I tell you about the joyful, early birthday goodies that were inside, I have to give you a brief backstory and a much deserved shout out.

Not only do I have the cutest, but I also have the sweetest grandpa in the whole world.  I mean, check it out- isn't he adorbs? [This pic is from his birthday in March.]

I, along with the 3 other grandkids, have been so blessed (maybe we better call it, spoiled) by him over the years that I cannot begin to express the gratitude that I have for him.  As we've gotten older and grown out of the "I want 10,000 toys and candy and presents" phase, we keep telling him that we don't want him to spend money on us.  And yet, the stubborn and sweet man that he is, he continues to bless us over and again with his generosity.  Which leads me to the brown box...

For a couple years now, I've been thinking about how someday I would like to learn more about photography.  I took a couple classes back in the good ole highschool days, where it was all film photography and we got to use the darkroom and everything. It was fantastic; I loved it.  But over the years, I just haven't really done much with it.  I have a point and shoot camera, but let's be honest I've been using my iPhone and Instagram a lot more than anything else.

I think it was researching wedding photographers and receiving our beautiful photos by the lovely Marissa Maharaj and continuing to gawk at her photos along with others like Meghan Klein, that really inspired me to think, I want to take cool photos someday too.  I'm pretty sure I won't ever come close to being as fabulous as either of these two, but one can hope and aspire right?

With all that said, my grandpa loves loves loves when we actually have an idea to give him for our birthday.  Usually we say, well I don't need anything, I don't know- and he gives us money or gift cards or something... but this year I did my research, asked a lot of questions and found a great deal via B&H Photography that I pointed my Grandpa towards as an idea.  Two weeks later, and 5 days before my actual birthday I received this beautiful package featuring a Canon Rebel T4i, lens, and all sorts of other goodies (image above).  I am such a lucky, blessed little lady.  I called my g-pa immediately and told him how thankful and ecstatic I am about the oh-so-generous gift that he gave me.

I have no idea what I am getting myself into.  I have A LOT to learn.  But I am so excited about it.  And so so so blessed to have been given the opportunity by my loving Grandpa.

So cheers to loving grandparents, and all things birthday!

Check out the stellar birthday party I had last year.
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