From WNM and staff.
(Many thanks to those who participated in CAOK 13. You are generous, wonderful souls!)
From WNM and staff.
(Many thanks to those who participated in CAOK 13. You are generous, wonderful souls!)
Sisters in Spirit is a series of essays by a group of women who felt a spiritual perspective lacking from the steady stream of daily news. They each agreed to carve space monthly on their blogs for a spiritual conversation. The topic this month is: the new beginning of Easter.
I crave new beginnings. I think we all do, culturally. We love the story of a great turn-around. Those who took a closer look at their lives and decided to make sweeping changes for the better.
Think Robert Downey, Jr. Or, more superficially, Jennifer Hudson.
This is why we refuse to give up on those so in need of a new beginning. (Again, for the cultural references: Lindsay Lohan, Ted Haggard, Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Charlie Sheen.)
Something tells me that we would publicly applaud each of these current day pop culture villains if she/he were willing to make significant changes to regain honor. This also requires heaps of forgiveness and grace on the part of the public. Tiger can be forever faithful to his next wife, but it will be viewed with skepticism until we provide the forgiveness. Within this, a new beginning is born.
Jesus died to provide anyone willing to believe such forgiveness. Easter is a celebration of this sacrifice, and a symbolic reminder we have the ability to start new with each sunrise.
Easter is my favorite high holiday because it makes me feel so incredibly lucky to be loved by a God who will overlook my transgressions and provide a clean slate. I can be new, today. I can walk away from former errors and try to be a bit better, knowing full well when I trip again — there is even more grace to be had if I am willing to ask for it.
Such unconditional love is only found in a relationship with God.
I hope you continue this conversation by reading and commenting other perspectives on Christianity with my other Sisters in Spirit. Become part of the conversation:
Sarah is municipal attorney, mom to a toddler boy, and United Methodist’s pastor’s wife. (She does not play the organ.) She is a life-long Missouri girl with a heart for hospitality and social justice. Sarah enjoys cooking, running, knitting and embroidery, reading, and playing in the sprinkler. Sarah blogs at www.beautyschooldropout.net
Bianca is a Navy wife from the great state of Texas (where she coincidentally currently resides), and she and her husband welcomed their first child in the fall of 2012. She has a passion for serving others, asking hard questions and sharing The Gospel with both her words and actions. Bianca loves Jesus, her hubs & her son, authentic friendships, traveling, making lists of all kinds, and trying new recipes which she blogs about on BecomingBianca.com
I’m packed and leaving for a long weekend in NYC. Theater, long meals, dancing until the wee hours of the morning, walking, walking and more walking.
(Do you know? Because I don’t. I’m trying to play it cool, while my suitcase with approximately 35 different outfit options screams otherwise. Be cool, Donley. Be cool.)
I’ve had one previous trip to NYC which was really only 8 hours wandering in the city by myself. The rest of my Big Apple knowledge comes from television and film. As such, I anticipate finding my soulmate at Serendipity. Getting mugged for my Louboutins. And seeing a giant marshmallow man near the Empire State, which may or may not also have a huge gorilla hanging off the top.
All bound to happen. Right?
The good news: my good camera is packed. My shenanigans will be recorded. It will be a weekend to remember.
This week’s Calculated Act of Kindness: broncos baby hats for a friend expecting her second baby this year. Her 2 year old loved the big brother version.
(I need to learn how to make pom poms.)
Week in review:
Gluttonous food photo of the week:
This week I was in Orange County for work. I didn’t see any housewives, but I did find a conveyor belt sushi place for dinner one night. The waitresses wore kimonos and giant Hello Kitty-inspired glittery bows in their hair.
It. Was. Awesome.
Come to find out, the danger of such a restaurant is you want to try a bite of every interesting plate that zooms by. And if you are anything like me, you will do just that.
Awkward headless fashion photo of the week:
I have the best of both worlds; working from home, I can get a ton done in yoga pants. This lets me look forward to getting dressed up when with clients.
Guilt gift photo of the week:
Nelson pretends he’s angry I’ve once again left him until he finds the latest squeezer toy in my bag. This one lasted all of 10 minutes before it was snowing stuffing in the living room.
Annoying weather photo of the week:
Of course this is what we woke up to Saturday morning. The day of Adam’s 30th birthday bbq at my house. What do you do when life hands you yet another 10.8 inches of snow before noon?
And entertain yourself with silly t-shirts, and call in the reinforcements (aka: roast the pig in the oven, have a very sweet friend come over early to dig out and prep the fire pit, provide enough libations no one will care they will later be standing on ice around the fire pit, with happy bellies full of roasted pork.)
Guess who is turning 30 this week?
And, oh. Holy smokes have we been friends for a long time. It feels like we were just celebrating this birthday.
The shenanigans of this weekend will be properly documented. You’re welcome, Interwebs.
Palm Sunday is this weekend, meaning we’ve got less than two weeks to complete Calculated Acts of Kindness. Are you playing along? Folks have done some pretty amazing acts of charity during this Lenten period. (Some recorded here.)
One of my favorites came from Lori, who found an iphone when out on a walk with her kids. Sticking out of the snow by a riverbank, they never thought it would be salvageable. Sure enough — they got it to turn on, and got it back to the very happy owner.
Another incredible act? A friend of mine recently took in a 6-year-old little girl in need. The child’s mother has issues with substance abuse and needed a safe place for her daughter. My friend, who already has five children, has set another place at their family dinner table with a smile. Such grace! Whether that child is with her for a week, or a lifetime, her life will be better for it.
My efforts pale in comparison. A couple of washcloths in a “congrats on your new house!” gift, and Broncos baby hats.
Here is to hoping you have kindness unexpectedly dropped off at your doorstep today.
Hey! How about this for a vague blog post: I’ve got a ton going on in my life at the moment, very little of which can I yet share. In the meantime, how about some more headless instagram fashion photos?
Yeah. I know. I’m boring. You came here for a rant about why I love Jesus, and what I’m knitting. FASHION PHOTOS ARE SUCH A STRETCH.
(Thanks for reading is what I’m saying. Hang in there. I’m sure my sewing machine will get plugged back in sooner than later.)
For now, Instagram Fridays might be a thing.
Adam and Kim bought a new house. They are doing some major repairs, and we all pitched in last weekend. Somehow the only photo I have from the demo is of BJ with a crowbar and some nasty tile:
(I asked Adam no fewer than 10 times, “You took before photos, right? I mean, this is totally different from when we started. You are documenting this. RIGHT?” To which he patted my little blogger head and walked away before he caught my crazy need to chronicle life. Don’t worry Internets. I’ll take photos.)
The weather in Denver has been nutty. We had a foot of snow earlier in the week, and today I’m sitting outside on the patio in 70 degree, clear blue sky weather, wondering if I should go put on a hat. The yard is muddy, the grass is coming back nicely, and of course tomorrow it is set to snow. My Arizona skin is having none of that. My legs want to be free. I’ve been wearing more skirts and dresses, although the open toed shoes haven’t yet made their way back to the front of the closet. (Snowy toes? Brrr.)
To celebrate such nice weather, my brother and I took a hike this week. We parked in Boulder’s Chautauqua Park and headed up the Flat Irons for a couple hours. It was muddy, icy, rocky and a good bit of fun. Until he decided he’d had enough, sat down, pulled a bagel out of his backpack and threatened to take a nap on the trail so I could go off and continue to hike by myself.
“Just go do that little loop-de-loop. I’ll be right here. You won’t miss me on your way back.”
I kicked him in shins and we continued on together. (Yes, he has a shriner. No, I didn’t give it to him.)
I’m thinking Fiji. Who’s in?
Here is hoping your week was wonderful. And next week is even better for us all.
Much love from a gorgeous day in Golden,
Book Whose Title I’ve forgotten and can’t find on Google. It was easy and entertaining, which is what I needed. A young woman travels to Columbia to visit her maternal family. Her mother, who died when she was young, had a second life previously unknown to her daughter. Also, of course the young American falls in love with a narco’s son, and is lured into a dangerous life. So memorable, obviously. 2.5/5 bananas.
TED: The Empowerment Dynamic. My housemate BJ suggested I read this. He is not a reader, but loves this. (When a self-described “non-reader” makes a book recommendation, I take note.) Again, an easy read. This reminds workers how to react to difficult situations at work. En sum: don’t be a victim. Create your happiness. Learn to react in a positive, productive manner. If you are into these types of business, good-attitude, pump-you-up books, you’ll dig it. 3/5 bananas
The Sunflower: A coworker years ago gave me this novel. Again, total vacation reading. It is about a woman who travels to Peru to volunteer in an orphanage after her engagement is called off. I enjoyed it for what it was: romantic, spiritual, fluff. (Who doesn’t need an entertaining, easy read from time to time?) 2.5/5 bananas.
Season of Migration to the North: This was our book club selection for February, and surprisingly — most of us read it. This novella is considered part of the classics for African literature. Set in Sudan, it is the story of two men who return from the west to reintegrate into their villages, with colonization haunting their every move. I didn’t enjoy this book, but it has made me better for having read it. The brilliance is how much heavy thematic layering the author crams into a basic story of two men in a Sudanese village. At the end, you have to reconsider each of the character’s actions, and what influenced their decisions. I’ll think of this book for years to come. 5/5 bananas.
Shantaram and The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet. The T.S. book is beautiful, but an odd shape and heavy. It is too big to hold at night when I normally read, or the tub. My sit-at-a-table-and-read-a-book time isn’t often. So, it’s going to take a while, even though the story is enchanting. Shantaram I’ve wanted to read for years and just haven’t gotten around to it. (Found a copy the other day at the Boulder Bookstore and literally jumped up and down. The last copy I’d seen was in the Joberg airport and I didn’t have the room for yet another heavy book.) Also, the next book club book looks pretty darn good: Peace Like A River.
Oh, and hey! My second novel is at 190 pages. Woo! Colorado has been so very good for my writing life. I’ve had the chance to join some great writing groups, take classes and become a member of a writing cooperative, and spend countless hours in mountain coffee shops surrounded by pines, distracted only by the steady stream of attractive, rugged bearded men who could be lumberjacks. Or my next boyfriend.
I consider reading good books training these days. Like a golfer who drives several buckets of balls after each round because he knows it makes him better — reading fiction, nonfiction and the cereal box at breakfast is my writing workout. Writers who say, “I don’t read! Who has time for reading?” are frauds at best.