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17 Things

17 Things



Many years ago I wrote a “51 Things About Me” list. A few years later I carved it down to twenty-seven. Now, more than halfway through 2020, it’s interesting to see what remains the same and what has changed. So if you want to know the latest thoughtful or quirky things that make up my being, I present: Seventeen Things About Me. 

1. While I love to listen to music, I rarely listen to music with singing in it anymore. Over the last couple years, I’ve developed this unfortunate thing where songs get stuck in my head for hours and days and I seriously can’t handle it. So my Spotify playlists are mostly comprised of relaxing spa soundscapes and gentle, lyric-free artists. 

2. An exception to the above would be my favorite praise album: Shane and Shane’s “Psalms Live.” Their version of “Psalm 46” is my anthem. I also love “Psalm 145.”  

3. As an expectant mama, I’ve been soaking in the wisdom of authors Clay and Sally Clarkson. I heard of them years ago, but only with the advent of my son have I spent time in their pages. I’ve been so encouraged and honestly, surprised to discover that Sally has written the books I’ve always wanted to write, even using language that I use myself (seriously, The Lifegiving Home? “Lifegiving” has been a guiding word for me since 2012 at least). Clay’s book “Heartfelt Discipline” sits on my shelf and is almost entirely underlined or highlighted in yellow. I’m wrapping up “The Lifegiving Parent” and “The Lifegiving Table.” And of course, “The Lifegiving Home” is my heart in print. Love love love these books and I highly recommend them to anyone who longs to embrace gentleness, grace, beauty and truth in their parenting and home.

4. In September 2020 my husband and I will celebrate our 18th anniversary. We joke that our marriage is now a legal adult and here we are, having our first baby. :) Such a blessing and miracle.

5. My favorite things are windchimes that sound like church bells, dark rich coffee with my homemade almond milk, Japanese incense, soft blankets, sheets, sweaters, and light; books, luscious rain on a cozy, candlelit day, interesting old doors, baking delicious things that bring joy to others, wabi-sabi beauty, linen, gentleness, spiced peach cobbler, genuine kindness without ulterior motives, Octobers and Novembers, creating meaningful experiences for others through touch, words, gifts, photography or hospitality; nurturing massage therapy, cozy coffee shops, flowers, hygge, making home, and falling asleep with my husband stroking my hair.

6. I was a vegetarian (ovo-lacto) for almost twenty years. A few times I tried to incorporate meat into my diet for health reasons (I realize there are various opinions on this, so I’m simply sharing my own experience) but had no success. While pregnant with my son I developed gestational diabetes and needed to severely alter my diet. As a result, I’ve found a few ways to include some organic turkey or chicken into my meals that have been a success. It’s been a challenge (mostly mental), but it’s also getting easier with prayer and time. And certainly, the numbers don’t lie. A navel orange I ate one day spiked my blood sugar as much as a slice of cake, while a baked organic chicken breast yielded the dreamiest glucose reading I could imagine. Plus with all that protein…

7. I am so grateful for all of my senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound) and could never choose a favorite. That said, the sense of smell is especially powerful for me. I am very sensitive to smells: vinegar and disinfectant spray make me crazy. I can’t stand cigarette smoke, cheap incense, or the stench of neighbors smoking pot. However, I love aromatherapy and my favorite essential oils and resins, Patchouli Absolut perfume, walking into a boulangerie, flower shop, or an Aesop store; Japanese incense, fresh coffee brewing, sweetgrass and newly-mown hay, the scent of curry, earthy root veggies roasting, soft yeasty bread baking, the earth after rain.

8. I learned how to bake bread from scratch at a very young age, perhaps nine or ten or so. Our large family made all our bread at home using whole wheat flour and a big steel bowl you could bathe a baby in. As I grew older, the breadmaking became more abundant, each week mixing up to twenty-four loaves at a time, kneading and pressing the dough into well-seasoned loaf pans to bake. I haven’t made bread many times in my later years, especially when trying to minimize carbs because fresh baked bread = love and curvy curves around my belly. But I miss it. I miss the home-y-ness of it, the rustic loaves steaming fresh, the earthy fragrance of yeast, the butter melting into soft, thick slices. I hope to resurrect this art soon, this time with my son wrapped close.

9. Things I dislike and try to avoid: the question “Why are you so quiet?” Prying conversations. Shoe shopping. Questions with hidden agendas. Prolonged extroversion. Feeling obligated. Emotional or psychological manipulation. Sales tactics. Feeling overwhelmed, cramped spaces, and coffee you can see through. Clutter. Rush hour traffic. Debates. Social media algorithms. The constant barrage of ads. Scratchy tags in clothes.

10. I sometimes weep when taking photos of people (and / or during the editing process afterward). I see so much tenderness in their trust of me, their vulnerability, their beauty. It’s transcendent. 

11. I’m probably stating the obvious here, but I am a highly-sensitive introvert who tends to be quiet and private and usually awkward with spoken words. I love people and being with people, but sometimes during a social gathering need to slip away to recharge for a bit and rest. 

12. I used to follow (and share) all things Enneagram, but to my sorrow have learned some things about it that are contrary to my faith. You can read about why I no longer support the Enneagram here.

13. As much as I talk about coffee, and as many daily pots (yes, pots, not just “cups”) of it I’ve consumed in my life, the truth is, I stopped drinking it over a year ago. At first it was for health reasons following a wisdom-tooth extraction that took forever to heal. I was concerned about my hormones and adrenals, so took the opportunity (pain meds!) to give up caffeine. After that I went on a cleanse and detox that also nixed coffee. And then I had maybe a cup or two a week for a few weeks as an experiment to observe how my body felt and responded…and then I found out I was pregnant. Actually, the very last coffee I sipped was the week before I discovered my little love. I was off work that day and wanted to be snuggly with a pot of french press. To my surprise it tasted terrible and I could not drink it. So I’ve not had a cup since. Not going to lie, though, I’m looking forward to trying it again in moderation after Solomon is born. I’m not someone who finds chai or hot tea a satisfying substitute, so I’m curious how it will go. 

14. My favorite flowers are ranunculus, soft pink peonies, sunflowers, daffodils in the woods, sweet little wild violets, and lavender. Lavender especially in a french country stoneware pitcher resting on distressed wood. 

15. My husband and I have lived in the same third-floor apartment for over twelve years and have never signed a full-year’s lease. We moved here hoping it was temporary and I confess to having struggled greatly the first several years with discontent. I’m ashamed of that now and am so thankful the Lord has worked on my heart. He has helped me learn to make myself at home and do the best I can with what I have. It’s been a creative challenge at times, and I do still dream of a home of our own outside of the city (see #16), but I’ve come to peace and thanksgiving with the preciousness of what we have now. It’s why I’ve adopted a vision of “making home.” In a spiritual way, I’m also reminded daily that even if we did have the home of our dreams, it all truly is temporary. This life is a gift, and we are so blessed through our sojourn here, but our ultimate destination is a heavenly one. And I long for that.

16. I do still hope for the home of our dreams. It is a different kind of longing than the desperation I used to have, because I don’t know what the Lord has planned for our immediate future, but I come to Him in prayer with what I hope is a humble and thankful heart, letting my request be made known. (Phil. 4:6-7) I dream of a light-soaked, spacious house on peaceful, uncluttered land with luscious trees and some acreage outside of the city. I say spacious not in a materialistic way, but I have dreams of gatherings and comfort for blessing others. I also believe hospitality begins at home, and my husband, likewise an introvert, needs space of his own for woodworking and retreating from gatherings when needed. I am especially eager for a large kitchen filled with an abundance of natural light, high ceilings, and everything needed to do what I love: bake and create nourishment for bodies and souls. I envision a home where my son can thrive and I can do photoshoots outdoors and hold Thanksgiving feasts around a long, wooden table. I envision guest rooms for loved ones full of comfort and solace. There is so much more, and this is a dream that I hold both deeply and lightly knowing it is safe in God’s faithful hands. I believe He does all things for my good and His glory. He knows the days to come, the boundaries of His vision for my life, and I trust Him with it all.

17. Only in the last two or three years have I come to clearly understand my life purpose. As an artist with a sensitive womanly soul, as a believer with a complex spiritual history, as a creative entrepreneur who has tried dozens of small business ventures, purpose has been a steady thread throughout it all—maybe an unraveling one at times, but it was the question mark beside everything. I shrivel from pointlessness. I must, I must have a meaningful life. But what does this mean, actually? Only when I experienced it for myself did I come to understand: the purpose of my entire existence is to share the goodness and the grace of God. This transcends the pithy questions: what should I do? Who should I be? What should I become? Instead, it opens up so much freedom and possibility. It takes a new perspective, providing a wise foundation to start from. Do whatever, and in the doing, share the goodness and the grace of God. Of course, I believe in vocational gifts and callings. I believe in seeking the Lord’s will and walking according to the Spirit. But whether one is faithfully clocking in at work everyday or gathering an armful of wildflowers for a friend, we can share God’s grace and goodness as we do so. This makes every act a sacred one. It is lifegiving. 

Which of these things did you enjoy reading most? I’d love to know something unique or surprising about you. Share with me?


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