7 Pretty Pieces of Art

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 Late last year on one of the many trips Michael and I took for his work, I spent an afternoon browsing the aisles of Michael’s. I have always enjoyed crafty stores because they present so many possibilities! Maybe one day I’ll take up pottery! Or weaving! Or woodwork! It’s a fun mind game.

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Daily Life & Pictures of it

Having grown up in the Millennial generation, I am in a unique position; a position that is only shared by…. oh, 75 million people give or take a few. (That number is not an exaggeration! I actually looked it up!) As a member of the first generation to spend the majority of their lives with access to the internet and all social media therein, I am always wondering how much sharing is too much sharing? This question is a good one to ponder in its entirety but more specifically, I often wonder about the visual elements of social media. Does everyone need to see another picture of the rain I experienced today? Or of my cup of coffee? Or of my breakfast? Or of my feet? Or, or, or… Continue reading

Intentional Living | The Facebook Edition

I’m becoming increasingly passionate about living intentionally. It sounds vague but it’s actually really simple: it means taking a step back from daily life, looking at the components and asking myself this question “why do I ________?” (Insert, binge watch Netflix, wear makeup, drink coffee, etc.) I’ve been amazed at the depth of insight I glean about myself this way. Sometimes this method of questioning leads me to have stronger reasoning behind my behavior and yet other times I’ve been surprised by how compulsive or reactionary some of my actions are simply because I haven’t taken the time to think about them before.

*Note! If you’re inspired to try this out in your own life, I have a simple tip for you: approach this question in a firm and kind way. Firm in the sense that you are willing to ask a hard question and willing to make a change in behavior (if needed) after examination. Kind in that you avoid harsh self-defeating language. Example: Don’t ask yourself “Why do I lash out at my loved ones all the time?” ask instead “What is causing such regular irritability in my life?” The first question starts you off on a negative platform. You already feel like you need to defend yourself, or apologize, or something! The second question doesn’t put you immediately at fault, but rather allows you to look for the heart of the problem. Moving on! 🙂
As you might have gathered from the title of this post, I have an intentional living boundary with Facebook. 
 
I was inspired by a conversation I had months ago with my close friend. She had decided to give up Facebook altogether in an effort to heal her heart in a specific way. She’d discovered that she had a growing discontent with a facet of her life that was fueled by frequent Facebook use. She recognized this in herself and decided to pull the weed which was choking out joy from the garden of her heart. I thought her actions demonstrated a deep understanding of herself as well as impressive determination to heal the damage she had unwittingly caused her own heart.
Motivated by my friend’s wisdom, I took a step back from daily activities and asked myself about my own social media use. For about a week I took note of the way different social media platforms made me feel during and after I spent time on them. Not surprisingly I discovered that Facebook had become an unhealthy compulsion for me and also something that robbed me of joy. Oddly enough, I was not even a heavy Facebook user! I would go on once or twice a day for about 5-10 minutes and that’s about it – yet those few minutes had a very dramatic effect on my mood. I realized that I had begun to use Facebook as a way to feel connected to “my real life” – the community of people back in California. It was also keeping me from recognizing that this is my real life, here in Alabama not in California.
I quit Facebook after that. Not in a legalistic way – I don’t think Facebook is bad! I think Facebook is bad for me, right now. It’s been nearly 4 months since this decision was made and I am ever so glad I made it. It was a healthy decision for me at the time and it has helped me to recognize how important it is to ask questions of myself. I want to live my life with purpose and this line of questioning has provided me with a way to refresh my life’s perspective and habits.
*Disclaimer: I have gone onto the Facebook site a few times in the course of the past 4 months and each time it was for a very specific reason – again, I didn’t give it up in a legalistic way that forbids it entirely! I gave it up in recognition of the state of my heart.

Are you squeamish?

This morning has been one to test my strength against my inner squeamishness. Here’s what has happened thus far:
1. Today is sunny and beautiful! The fresh air is too wonderful to waste so I decided to open the windows and let in the soft breeze. I then discovered yet another fat brown spider has taken up residence at the base of the screen cover. (That makes three all together!) Out comes the home-defense spray.
2. In an effort to tidy up our apartment, I gathered all the rugs and stepped out on the patio to give them a good shake. My hands were so full I couldn’t see that I was about to step on a juicy worm with my bare feet. Excuse me while I gag.
3. Rugs shaken and freshened, I turned around to survey the rest of the patio and found a dead bird in the corner, courtesy of the many outdoor cats around here. Thank you for the gift kitty kitty; but I find it objectionable.
4. While I was outside for just a few teeny tiny minutes, a gigantic black wing-ed interloper made his way in the door and decided to draw a battle line just inside the threshold while I was out. He may have snickered at me and swelled with his own power as I squelched a scream and danced around him to find a weapon but his power-play came to an end as he met my friend “boot.”
I am praying fervently that this is the end of today’s list.
Your home-defense, insect-killing, spray-wielding friend,
Natalie

 

Oh, hey!

Because a coffee-related photo is always relevant.

Guys, guys! 2015 is here. Actually the first month is almost entirely behind us and I’m just now getting around to putting a neat little bow on 2014 in my mind. Life sometimes feels like a game of catch-up, am I right? Somehow this season of life has managed to feel both slow and silent as well as unpredictable and chaotic. And I’m over here learning plenty in this new part of the country I’ve started to call home. We’ll leave it at that for now. 🙂

In other news my birthday is on Monday(!). There’s nothing particularly exciting about 25 – I won’t get to unlock any previously off-limits treasure or anything of that nature. Despite this, I’m still feeling abnormally excited about this birthday and I’m not sure why! According to science, my brain’s prefrontal cortex is reaching the final stages of development – the part of the brain which calibrates problem solving, planning, self-evaluation, and determining risk and reward – I think that’s reason enough to celebrate. So I’m off to do just that! (Or actually to make dinner. But I’ll roast cauliflower in the most celebratory manner I can.)
PS. I’m making this roasted cauliflower from one of my favorite food bloggers.
Image taken from this blog via Pinterest.

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Are You a Worrier?

I’d love to say that I don’t ever fall into worry but that just wouldn’t be true.
In my experience, it really depends on the situation. Sometimes I surprise myself with a carefree attitude – it is what it is; I have no power over the situation so I’ll let it go, etc. etc. Those experiences are so freeing and it makes me wonder why I even bother worrying about anything ever. And then three minutes later I find myself worrying over the most minuscule detail that nobody in the world – save me – would care about.
Recently I’ve been experiencing a new thing – the night-time worry. I’ve never really been one to wake up in the middle of the night, but the last week or so has been different. I’ll wake up for some reason or another and my brain leaps into action:
There is so much to do before we move! Are we missing an important to-do item? What if I can’t find a job in Alabama? Am I a good wife? What bad habits have I developed since getting married? Why does the heater sound like a dying whale every time it kicks on? Can a heating unit explode? Maybe I should wake The Engineer to ask him…
Somehow life seems a little more … well, nerve wracking at night, am I right? Yet in the morning life seems fresh and any basis for worry is easily rationalized away.  I’ve found that diving into prayer is one of the most soothing ways to calm not only the over-active brain but also the knot-filled spirit.
It’s a mixed bag, this worry. While it causes a bit of sleeplessness, it also drives me right into the arms of the Lord. Which is where I’m pretty sure He wants me to be.

Still the Same Old Me

 

I keep learning a funny little lesson in each phase of life: I’m STILL me.  I know, earth shattering, right? But sometimes it is a little astonishing. As a child I remember daydreaming about how I would be and who I would be when I was a grown-up high-schooler, when I was a college student, when I was a professional embarking on my career as a killer-whale trainer {ha!}  and, of course, when I was married! And here I have hit all those milestones – okay, not the specific whale trainer one – and at each passing milestone I have had a rather big defining moment when I realize, “I’m still just me.”
I thought about this again this morning while I groggily prepped my french-press with coffee grounds and waited for the water to boil… this is such a typical morning.  My groggy pre-coffee morning-self who glares at the few dirty dishes in the sink in the hopes that they can be willed-away {apparently dishes can’t take a hint} has pretty much been consistent. Whether I’m in high school or college, employed full-time or job hunting, single or dating or engaged or married, regardless of any sort of status I’m pretty much just your basic Natalie.
In so many ways nothing about me has really changed since the days of the kid-Natalie who daydreamed about her future. Except that everything has changed.
Nothing has changed and everything has changed and somehow both those statements feel true. Life is so weird.
I guess I shouldn’t put too much stock in the thoughts of my pre-coffee morning-self. But there they are for your reading pleasure or amusement.