Finding Joy (Anniversary Edition)

I recently found a website/blog that is helpful and spiritual and inspiring. And I want to be a part of it. Luckily, Blessed is She has a weekly link-up:

As a child of divorced parents I have seen the risk that comes with marriage. A lot of people who come from a divorced home are skittish when it comes to life-long commitment. My mom even worried if I was afraid to get married  because of divorce.

However, tomorrow marks two years of being married to the man who makes me smile every day, who hugs me just right, whose laughter is infectious, and whose faith has grown immensely. His generosity and caring spirit inspire me to be a better person.

I feel like in today’s culture marriage is taking a beating. But inside my home, between the laughter and the random slow-dancing and the burning cookies in the oven and the “home-cooked” meals from Trader Joe’s and the creamer with coffee we sip together each morning I find joy.

It’s in the small things. And the small things make up life, afterall. PhotoLove_KD087

everyday life

7 Quick Takes

Since I haven’t been keeping up with the blog like I should, here are 7 quick takes to fuel the bloggin’ fire:

1. We moved back to our hometown about a month ago and we haven’t looked back yet. There is just something about your hometown that’s cozy. And then when you move back after 10 months away there’s a small sense of newness–new restaurants, new streets (we’re from a town of about 80,000), new concert venues (!). We’re loving it so far!

2. I’ve been unemployed for a month now, since moving and unpacking. The boxes are all unpacked and put away so I thought it was time for a new hobby. was calling my name so I signed up for a 2 week trial and it has been simply amazing. So neat to trace back my ancestors to Sweden, Germany, Belgium, and Scotland. I’ve found draft papers for several of the men in my family who fought in the Revolutionary War and World War I. The actual documents are, in some cases, scanned in so I’ve even seen some of their signatures.

3. I went on a small shopping spree Friday and got two candles for the apartment. Bath and Body Works was having 50% off selected candles so I got a pink lemonade candle and some kind of verbena-lemon scented candle. Candles are just so much more aesthetically pleasing than plug-ins. The risk of leaving the candle burning is worth the romantic reward.

4. I tried a new beer last weekend that’s super delish. It’s called Stiegl Grapefruit and it’s summer in a bottle. Super fruity and lighter than most beers. Hence, the only reasons I like it.

5. On that note, you should know that I don’t like to drink beer, generally speaking. I like more fruity rum drinks and mimosas. And the beach. And sunsets. And if we’re going down this path, sunscreen.

6. My grandma gave me an ice cream/sorbet maker that I’ll probably never use. But it’s nice to get new stuff for free and think “what if I want to make my own ice cream for $15 worth of ingredients versus $3 from the store?” Now I can waste time AND money making ice cream at home. Bet you couldn’t have thought of that.

7. I’m currently binge-watching The Mindy Project on Hulu Plus. It’s hilar. I usually don’t laugh out loud when something’s funny but I totally have a few times already with TMP.

Linking up with This Ain’t the Lyceum for 7QT



Lean In

Exuberant. That was the word they used to describe him.

As I sat among hundreds of other people remembering the life of this man, it made me stop and think about how I’m living my life.

He was a professor in the School of Social Work. One word that described him at times was “absent-minded.” He was absent minded in the best of ways. He taught a course on social work groups. In class it was rare if we spent a lot of time reviewing the assigned text. The majority of class was spent in discussion or listening to stories from our professor. The course had a textbook, but all of us students knew that he, our professor, was the true textbook. He had worked in the profession so many years and his clinical wisdom was boundless. He taught us to “lean in” when clients got mad or upset or things got tough. “Lean in” I would hear him say. Of course it wasn’t until I left graduate school and actually began clinical work that I understood what he mean when he said “Lean in.”

When I took his class, he wore a long braided pony tail. Right off the bat, I could tell that there was something different about this guy. This professor told us about Native American culture, he brought his flute in to play for us. Yes, readings from the text were assigned, but they weren’t the focus of the class. His class focused on life. Teaching and preparing social work students to have compassion for the people they would serve one day, going out of ourselves to advocate on behalf of those who aren’t able to advocate for themselves.

How do you grade students in the class of life?

As I sat there in that auditorium during his memorial service I couldn’t help but think of my own life. You see, every picture displayed around the auditorium of this man was unique. Unique in that in every single picture this man exuded the essence of life. I don’t know how else to put it. He was a man who had wrung every last drop out of life. And he was only in his 50s. All the stories told about him had a similar theme–this man loved abundantly. That’s a simple way to say it and maybe and understatement. He loved everyone and spoke directly to each person without distraction.

Maybe he wasn’t focused on the details. His wife said that he often called people by the wrong name. However, he was focused on what truly mattered–making each person he interacted with feel loved and accepted.

Reflecting on my own life, I began to think, “What will people say about me at my memorial service?” Will they say that I loved abundantly? Will they say that I left a mark on them, that I inspired them to do something greater? To be something greater? How do I exude joy and love to others? Like, how is that possible?

Leaving his memorial service, I was inspired. I want to love more deeply, more richly. I want to speak to others with love and acceptance. I want to be true to myself, like my professor was, not afraid to show the quirky side of my self. After all, to accept and love others as they are, we have to first love ourselves as we are.

Lean in. When the fire gets hot, lean in. He taught us that “leaning in” to situations with our clients makes them feel more safe and comforted. Notice how when someone starts to raise their tone or the situation gets heated, you naturally incline your body away from that person.

Lean in to life. Lean in to friends. Lean in to those in need. Lean in and give of yourself. Lean in and love without measure.