What I Learned in October

Today I’m joining in with Emily P. Freeman’s “What we Learned in October” link up.

What I learned in October

I love her idea of taking time to reflect over the last thirty days before heading into the next.

We’re headed out to a Fall Retreat the lake in the woods with students this weekend, and I am very much looking forward to that.

Once we come back and October is actually finished I’m looking forward to sharing my What I Read in October with you as well as a re-cap of the Blondetober Instagram challenge. Fun stuff, friends!

Here’s a handful of things I learned this month:

1. I love the community and fun of the online Blog-osphere.

BlogosphereThanks to the kickstart from Bailey Jean’s Blog-tember challenge in September, I jumped back into the Christian women’s blogging circle, and I’m sucked in.

I have learned a lot and had so much fun interacting with new people.


…participated in and been featured in the Secret Blogger Club

…chatted it up in the (in)courage Simply Tuesday Book club and enjoyed the twitter parties and the facebook group discussions.

…been in on some live periscope chats to learn how to love my lettering

…been inspired by Natalie Creates to Dress in Happiness Daily ..

and it’s just been fun. I feel like it’s a whole new world out there and it’s fascinating to take it all in and almost surreal to see this whole other culture going on that is the creative women’s universe.

2. We are never going to be good at dishes.

Pumpkin Pie Mess

The kitchen is a wreck…but I have a pumpkin pie to show for it so it’s all good.

Y’all, for two people…we dirty a lot of dishes, and we cannot stay on top of them. We have tried every system under the sun; no going to bed with dirty dishes in the sink, do the dishes as you go, switch days of dish responsibility, etc.

Craig’s proposed solution is that we eat out for every meal. Which I would be all about but we just don’t have places we enjoy here in Mostar.

Save your judgement, but we even broke down this month and bought a bunch of paper products to see if that would help the problem.

Maybe one day we’ll be adult enough to handle it. I hope that moment comes before we add extra bodies and their dishes to the family.

3. God’s hand is in the hurt of my life too.


This is like a “duh!” thing that we all know. But I really feel like God spoke something intimate to me in the story of Him touching Jacob’s hip when they wrestled and leaving him with a limp for the rest of his life.

I wrote more about it here so I won’t recount the whole thing for you.

4. Mini Spatulas are the best kitchen tool.

Birthday Cake

Not mini spatulas..but cake…which you can make with mini spatulas

I have five mini spatulas. If you’re judging me for owning five mini spatulas then you have obviously never used one. I realized every time I have a baking endeavor these all end up dirty somehow…cause they’re so stinkin’ cute and useful!

There you have it..the fun, the embarrassing, the deep, and the silly.

What have you learned in October?


Trains I’m hoppin’ on…

Trains I'm hoppin' on

Craig relentlessly makes fun of me because I can’t help but get excited about and jump aboard with fads and concepts that come up. Sometimes when I recognize a fad coming, I warn him and tell him under no circumstance to let me partake.The most recent example of that is when last year I told him to not let me re-decorate any part of our house or create anything in a white and gold color scheme. I don’t like gold…but left to my fad-following self….I could start loving it.

Here are a few things though that I’m unapologetically hopping on board with.

1. Brene Brown

Brene BrownWe’ve watched her Ted Talks and thought she was awesome…but I really didn’t notice her authoring career until recently with the campaign for her newest book Rising Strong.

This morning I am home with a head cold and just feeling all around yucky and so of course that called for watching all the videos of her that I could. This one was a favorite…I was furiously scribbling notes the whole time.

Her three most recent books are going to the top of my “to-read” list after I finish all of my currents.

So much realness and so much wisdom. Love her. Can’t get enough of her.

2. Simply Tuesday

Simply TuesdaySo Emily P. Freeman’s newest book is out and all the ladies from the Blogtember Challenge had it on their to-read lists and so I got intrigued and added it to mine.

A few weeks ago though Emily’s blog post announcing her Simply Tuesday book club came up as a suggestion on my Bloglovin feed and I noticed it started that day.

Thanks to the time difference here in BiH from America I had time to download the book and read the first part before her first weekly periscope chat.

It’s been good…she has some good concepts, I’m especially loving her bench analogy. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of thinking through discussion questions to go along with the book, and going through it with a larger community, which I’ve never done before.

3. Hand Lettering


Prints from others that I hand-copied during a long seminar last year

If I’m being reeeealllly honest. I’m kind of annoyed that this is a big thing now. Everyone’s a hand letterer or learning calligraphy now. It’s the new thing everyone’s doing now after they’ve bought their first DSLR from Costco and have a “photography business.”  (If that offends you just know that I too own a DSLR and I too enjoy hand-lettering)

But. I don’t control these things.

I’ve mentioned Chris from Handlettering Co company before, and I’ve been a part of their video classes.

Right now I’m following along with Lisa at Looking at Life CreativeLei as she does 31 days of Love your Lettering and have enjoyed that.


4. Periscope????


I know…I know…I’m behind on the times and periscope is already popular. I’ve just recently joined up to keep up with the Simply Tuesday book club and some ladies from Write 31 days.

I don’t think this will be something I stick with though. I have found I just get annoyed with commenters and when the broadcaster gets sidetracked by commenters. Maybe I’ll get used to it…or maybe I’ll just vote people stick with vlogs…we’ll see…the jury is still out on that one.

There you have it.

What fads are you following that I need to get in on?

No More Disclaimers

No more disclaimers We’ve all uttered disclaimers at some points in our lives, and Lord knows we’ve all heard our fair share of them.

They’re those sentences that preface whatever it is you’re doing. Having someone over, providing a meal or service, showing up to something….you get the hello how are you’s out of the way and it’s that next thing that slips out.

It’s the: “Oh excuse my house, it’s such a mess” (when, is it really??), or the “Well, this didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to so I hope it’s alright and you don’t hate it.” Then there’s the “We really wanted to do [insert thing or even here] but really our life is so crazy in these billion ways.”

For me it’s usually “I will try to do this presentation in your language, but please be patient because I am just learning.” Among others.

I have one of those presentations coming up in a few weeks and as I mulled over in my head what I would say, that disclaimer was the first sentence drafted in my imaginary speech.

I’ve been talking recently with a lady much wiser than myself, and she always asks me “well, are you doing [whatever it is you’re doing ] to get a longing fulfilled?

What that usually boils down to is examining my motives for what I’m doing. And often times I’m completely unaware of them. It’s, for example, the difference between; am I unpacking these boxes right now because I am afraid my landlord will come over this morning and judge me because I’m not unpacked yet and their place is still cluttered, or; am I unpacking these boxes because I want us to be settled in this place, and we really need a workable kitchen for that to happen so I unpack the kitchen boxes? The first reason is because I want them to think highly of me (I’m longing for significance and worth) and I am operating out of my fear that they will think less of me. The second is just doing what needs to be done in life, in the manner I want to get it done.

So these longings, and my actions to get them fulfilled have been on my mind a lot.

And I got to thinking, that these disclaimers are really something we utter to get a longing fulfilled.

What we’re often saying when when we say “Hi! come in! Don’t mind my house, it’s a mess” is “Don’t think less of me because I can’t stay on top of this” or even perhaps “I want you to be impressed, or even intimidated, by me and what I consider a ‘mess’ because let’s all be real my house is clean.”

We’re longing for approval, for significance, for worth…and we’re asking others to validate that.

Isn’t that true though?

Even if it’s not always on that deep of a level, our disclaimers are screaming “I’m not OK with who I am! And I need you to validate me and tell me I’m significant.”

The reality is, everyone knows that I’m learning language and I don’t need to bring their mind to that and tell them I’m just learning so they’ll either be patient with me, or impressed by what I do know.

Everyone knows that life is crazy, that houses get messed up, that we don’t all always bake everything like a Top Chef, and that we don’t always have time in our schedule for everything. And we all know those people (or are those people *cough cough* ) who try to keep it all together and like the woman asking “does this dress make me look fat?” we just want to hear “no, of course not, you’re perfect and beautiful and lovely.”

Disclaimers bring attention to our faults or our strengths and beg others to pay attention to them. If we’re really being honest, they ask for too much accolade or actually include too much self deprecation.


No more disclaimers.

Who we are, what we’ve provided, where and when we show up, how much we can or can’t speak the local language….is enough. It is what it is, and we don’t need to make it more or less than that by demanding others pay attention to it.

When I get up to make my presentation I hope I am able to get up and say my hello how are you’s and confidently move into what it is I’m there to provide. Because what I’m offering is not myself, or my talents, my experience, or any combination of those things…but it’s God-given content coming through me to serve someone else. And maybe, just maybe, it’s not all about me.

No more disclaimers, please!

Secret-Blogger-Club-ButtonI’m linking up with The Secret Blogger Club at The Blonder Side of Life

He Touched Me | When we ask for the hand of the Lord

Happy Monday everyone!

I had grand plans of sharing with you today my what I read in September list, but God wrecked that this morning when He met me in my time with Him. I tried to go on with my day but felt the push to share with you a bit.

He Touched Me

There are so many places in the Bible when we see that touching or being touched by Jesus brings great healing. He touched lepers and they were made clean, reached out to touch the blind and they were healed and could see, touched a coffin and a dead man came to life. Even the woman who had been sick for 12 years reached out in faith and touched Jesus and was healed.

I’ve heard sermons on it, read articles on it, and we often pray for it…the hand of God in our life. We pray for him to touch people and situations, we ask him to mold characters and outcomes. We’re very OK with this idea of God touching and shaping our lives, for good.

What about Jacob though?

In Genesis we read about his struggle with the Lord:

Jacob Wrestles with God

The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two
female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford
of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and
everything else that he had. And Jacob was left alone. And a man
wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw
that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket,
and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then
he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said,
“I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him,
“What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your
name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have
striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob
asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that
you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the
name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to
face, and yet my life has been delivered.” The sun rose upon him
as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

(Genesis 32:22-31 ESV)

Peter Scazzero in His Daily Office Devotional (which I highly recommend, by the way!) shares:

“It was by the brook that Jacob was finally broken by God and radically transformed. He was given a new name and a new freedom to live as God originally intended. This came, however, at a price of a permanent limp that rendered him helpless and desperate to cling to God. And it is out of this weak place of dependence that Jacob became a nation (Israel) in order to bless the world.”

I don’t know about you but when I ask the Lord to touch me I don’t imagine His touch leaving me with a permanent limp.

From our point of view this limp does not look like a good thing. We asked for a healing touch, didn’t we? We asked for more. We asked for cleansing, for sight, for life, and we get a limp. What??

Oh, but in His goodness He’s given us that and so much more.

In our brokenness, our pain, our limping we are radically transformed.

We are cleansed from our pride of thinking we can do life on our own.

We’re given sight to see that we can’t move without Jesus.

We’re given life in that out of our place of injury, like Jacob, we can be used to bless the world.

I’m in a place right now where I feel like the Lord has wounded me. I feel sidelined by a lot of things, like he’s touched my hip and slowed me down, like I can’t move very well.

I often don’t look at my current situation with the eyes to see that God has touched me. He has reached into my life and in love has slowed me down. He is radically transforming me to be dependent on Him alone, and to in time be a blessing to others.

His touch still brings healing. Healing for me looks like having to walk with a limp so that my heart is clean and whole and looking in the right direction.

His touch still brings life.

He touched me. And it is painful. My hip is out of joint and there is real sting to that. There is discomfort. There is still annoyance because it hurts.


There is God there in that pain, and He has in love touched me that I may know Him more and display Him more.

It might not look like good to me, but I can rejoice in the fact that whatever it looks and feels like, that He touched me.

What about you? Do you think about the hand of God bringing not only healing but hurt? Where is God touching you right now? What is your limp, and how is it slowing you down to see the Lord?

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