August goals

July 29, 2014 — 1 Comment

August goals

Each month, I link up with Hayley to share my goals for the month. It’s a fun exercise, great way to connect with others, and helps me stay accountable.

A quick recap of July:

1. Get ahead on blog posts and take a blogging break

I did get ahead, and I am taking a break, but haven’t left my blog completely untouched during the break. Still counting it, as what I’ve been doing still feels very much like a break from my normal blogging effort.

2. Stoke cooking inspiration by trying a few new recipes.

I’ve tried a bunch! I linked to a few of them in my summer jam post.

3. Map new running routes and increase mileage.

Thanks to a friend who has become my running partner, I’ve learned some new routes and increased to four and five mile runs. And I’ve used the Map My Run app while I’m in Maui to find routes nearby!

4. Read one fiction book and one nonfiction book.

It’s summer. I’m on vacation. So I’ve read two fiction books and half of a nonfiction one.

Now, on to August:

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A good piece of marble

July 24, 2014 — 2 Comments

A good piece of marble

In The Meaning of Marriage, the author mentions something his wife says about looking for a compatible spouse:

“Most people are looking for a finished statue when they should be looking for a wonderful piece of marble.”

Her point is that we spend our entire lives sharpening each other and growing into our potential. To marry someone thinking you’ve got the finished product is to be sorely disappointed.

Even if we’ve seen both the good and bad in a partner before marriage, we’re only seeing a snapshot of who he is at this moment in time. 

What we’re looking for is some high quality marble. For me, that meant someone generous, kind, humble, and a sense of humor. 

As we get to know each other at a deeper level, we have more opportunity than anyone else on earth to bring out the best in each other.

The marble block doesn’t become David without Michelangelo’s hand smoothing the rough edges, chiseling the features until a stunning statue emerges.

We aren’t responsible for making our spouses into a new creation, or to change them at all, but we have a sacred vantage point, an opportunity to see and help shape the person he’s becoming.

I have the power to speak life and truth into his potential. I also have the power to sow decay with my apathy or criticism.

If you’re not married but want to be, look for a good piece of marble instead of a masterpiece.

If you’re not, don’t focus too much on you or your spouse’s rough edges. You have a front row seat and the most influential role in seeing a work of art step out from an unshapely piece of marble.

Does it change how you view your spouse (or yourself) to think of yourselves as works in progress?

Photo Credit: Grant Mitchell

numbers mean everything

If you’ve ever read anything about goal setting, you know that one of the keys is setting goals that are measurable. I love a goal with a definitive end point, something I can draw a big, bold line through.

The trouble is that sometimes, I see more value in the things I can measure – places where I can assign a number, a value, a literal marker of progress.

One of the reasons I’ve submitted so wholeheartedly to paying off debt is that it’s a tangible marker of progress every month in the midst of a life that otherwise often feels messy and confusing. 

We’re all motivated by different things, and one of my key motivators is validation. I’m always looking for proof that I’m doing enough, and I wish I were better at accepting the kind words from people who know and love me best. Instead, I look for tangible evidence.

In my mind, work that makes money always trumps work that doesn’t, even though some of the most important work any of us do on earth is unpaid. A paycheck is tangible evidence, and I put way too much of my identity into that number.

There’s nothing in me that particularly loves money. When I picture life with more money, I don’t think about what I would buy or where I would move. I don’t really care about having much more than I do now. It’s the sense of validation I’m looking for – the tangible, higher value of my work and time.

I don’t obsess over blog numbers, but I do define “success” for my blog based on numbers. It’s easy to say that if your words reach one person, blogging is worth it, but I do look for numbers as an indicator of how meaningful my words are. 

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My summer jam

July 18, 2014 — 5 Comments

my summer jam

Mmm summer. I always get the intense urge to slow down around this time – late July, early August. This year, it coincides with a family vacation, so all the more reason to spend more time outside, away from my laptop, enjoying the people I love.

Most of the thoughts I’ve had to share with you have been more superfluous than usual. So I thought, summer Friday? Perfect time for a list of stuff I’ve been into lately!

1. Trying new recipes

No one is more surprised about this than I am. I’ve been inspired to get creative in my kitchen again after months (years?) of dragging myself through the motions of feeding myself and Mike.

I love eating light and simply in the summer, so our dinners haven’t gotten very elaborate, but I did try these recipes in the past month or so:

banana walnut granola • browned butter banana bread • Marcona almond blondiesricotta basil bruschetta • sangria • whipped coconut cream • spicy zucchini frittata • cauliflower crust pizza • balsamic roasted quinoa

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babies and bellies revisited

I wrote last year around this time about not wanting a baby yet, even while everyone I know is having them.

Mostly, I feel the same way now that I did then, but I’m inching closer to the possibility. What has changed is that even more of my friends have babies now, and I’ve had more honest conversations with mothers, would be mothers and Mike.

I’m struck by the underlying assumption that we can (and should) control the timing of pregnancy. Am I more anxious because it’s a decision, something I choose to do rather than something that happens to me?

For most of human history, women haven’t had choices like we do. I’m grateful for them, but man, is that some pressure or what?

Maybe it won’t surprise you that this false sense of control is what I fear losing most.

As many parents will say, you’re never “ready.” There’s no such thing as the perfect time. There’s no getting around the weighty responsibility and permanent change that accompanies new life.

When I wrote about this topic last year, I wrote that at some point, gradually or all at once, I would stop seeing a baby as the end to life as I know it, and view it instead as the beginning of something so much better.

Well, here I am, a year later, and I’m not there yet. My view of motherhood is still closer to the “unwelcome interruption” end of the spectrum than the “greatest gift” side. 

*I am sensitive to the fact that many of you are on the other side of the spectrum, and are struggling with infertility. Please don’t take my honesty as callous or harsh or unaware of your struggle. My tears and prayers are with you and while I may not understand your specific pain, I want to acknowledge it.

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