Currency

I was thinking about life today and things went deep QUICK. As all my contemplative times seem to do. Anyway, I’m in a space of considering and comparing others. Sometimes it has produced gratefulness but other times it has produced jealousy.

This friend has a baby. That friend is traveling the world. This friend has exorbitant amounts of money and creativity. Yada yada yada.

As much as I’d like to say that I realized the wrongfulness in myself, I cannot. I’ve stewed in my jealousy and grumpy discontentment more than I should have.

But something hit me today. The most precious universal currency is time.

Regardless of the state of life we are in and with whatever physical resources, the common denominator is that we have been allotted a specific amount of days. And we have the freedom to choose how we spend those days however we would like.

The second wave of realization hit me and I thought, “What am I going to spend my ‘allowance’ on?” Now I’d love to say it’s as simple as deciding to take my $4 to the store and buy sour candy and a Pepsi, but it’s not like my childhood allowance. This type of allowance is in the big leagues. We don’t receive any more after we’ve spent it (calm down-we can talk about after-life over coffee).

All that to say, I don’t care how much money you have. I don’t care where you live or how wonderfully you’ve decorated your home (although I am building mine and would love décor tips). I don’t care if you haven’t achieved what you thought your perfect life would be.

But I do care about people living abundantly each day and not wasting their life. You may have to think about this for a little while to decide what’s worth giving your time to. But surely you must put in the effort to decide what’s worth your time. You absolutely must.

All my people reading this who know Jesus…root yourself in Him and get to work for the Kingdom. Plant yourself somewhere. Put down roots and sell yourself out to something that will last.

 

(And p.s. putting in work for the Kingdom of God doesn’t mean you have to work in a Church building. God made people to be fashion designers, accountants, bakers, crossfitters, Moms, teachers, and librarians. So wipe that self-doubt off your face, He didn’t make a mistake by designing you to love the things you love and to be talented the way you are. Use those things.)

 

cheers

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Several months ago I began titling certain pieces after a lyric line from The Sound of Music’s, “My Favorite Things” ( See Previous, Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens, Bright Copper Kettles and Warm Woolen Mittens, Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with Strings). And now we have landed on “These are a few of my favorite things!” Oh how I love Julie Andrews. Can anyone not love her? 

Today, I share with you a favorite of mine.

Organization.

The word even makes me smile!

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Several years ago, I read “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. I highly recommend this book. It inspired me to set practical goals for the simple and lofty dreams I had floating around in my head. Simple tasks that we want to get done, CAN GET DONE! Go get that book. It will change your life.

One such inspirational effect of reading that book, left me longing to have a stockpile of greeting cards on hand. Seeing as I enjoy writing and sending letters to people in my life, I have always had stashes of stationary and random envelopes. But a fun, systematic way to keep all of it? Nowhere to be found.

UNTIL NOW.

I drank some coffee yesterday (I’m exponentially more creative and productive with that liquid crack in my veins) and had an epiphany. Just go make what you want.

Long story short and long minutes of scrolling and scouring Pinterest…I had my game plan.

Step 1: Buy a box. I used a simple photo storage box that I found in Hobby Lobby.

Step 2: Make dividers. I used 6 x 6 cardstock pieces and simple stickers to label their category. Anniversary, holiday, birthday, sympathy, etc. I also included “New Season” to include weddings, baby showers, new job, new car, house, etc.

3: Decorate box however you want. I glued white flowers to the front of it and called it good. I like simplicity and the way the cardstock looked as it is.

4: Organize your cards into each category and then sit back and bask in your glorious creation!

Here is my finished product! My “Greetin Cards”.

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That’s all for today. Now go do some fun stuff for the weekend.

Cheers!

Light

There’s a lyric that many a person has sung, “You light up my life”. Whitney Houston, LeAnn Rimes, and Debby Boone. I know, old school. I might as well be talking about crimping my hair. All hail 90’s Britney! My girl

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Britney once lit up my life. I still remember the day I bought “Oops I Did It Again” from the store and peeled off the plastic wrap. That was a good day. I’m certain my face was clearly lit up with happiness.

I’m not here to advertise for people to get back on the Britney bandwagon (shame on those who jumped ship). But the subject of light has me captivated.

What lights up your life? What literally causes your face to radiate?

I want my life to reflect the contents of my heart. I want people to know what I love and know what excites me.

I have always been accused of being unable to hide what I’m feeling. This CAN be a strength. Many times it is a weakness. I have been called “passionate”, “strong willed”, “moody”, etc. to be passionate well, it must be harnessed and released very strategically. Reckless passion can be detrimental.

Ill keep this short and to the point. Does your life, and literally your face, reflect what you love?

We talk about what we love. And our face radiates our inner content. May we be watchful of our passions and consistently reevaluate how our time is spent.

I share on this today because this is what Jesus is talking to me about this week. I want there to be no  competition in the walls of my heart. May there be no rival for you Sweet Jesus. May my love for you and others abound more and more.

 

The Death and Birth of a Burger

I still struggle with how I think about myself. I have struggled for years to have a healthy grasp of who I am. We can talk later about what horrific implications unhealthy thinking can (and did) lead to. As a woman, people told me it was a normal issue. But just because it’s a common issue doesn’t mean we have to settle with the struggle. I refuse to settle. I wholeheartedly believe God wants better for those of us who have to fight for correct self images. To see ourselves how God sees us.

Valuable.

Recently, this came about in a very odd way. I’ve stumbled upon some old pictures of my sport playing days. They called me “Hanenburger” for as long as I can remember. These times are sweet to me. I call to mind the long practices of suicides and shooting drills. Big games with thunderous crowds. The adrenaline and the thrill of working hard and fighting for a victory. Dramatic- but so so sweet.

After I stopped playing team sports, I went to Washington and eventually was married. And there was a lull. Sure I filled it with running and working out and Crossfit. But something ached inside. Not being seen as “Hanenburger” due to lack of team sports and due to not technically being a “Hanenburg” anymore began to grow a dull sadness in me.

I began to feel like I wasn’t myself.

Until the other day, a good friend flippantly called me “Shawburger”. Now, this is probably outrageously silly- but to me it was so sweet. It meshed in my mind- two people- who I was with who I am continuing to become. And God whispered, “You are still you no matter what you do.”

WHAT.

You are still you no matter what you do.

Whether you fail or quit or pursue new things- you are still you. And you are special (insert cheesy model pose). My Mom used to read me a book called, “You are Special”. It’s a precious children’s book about being confident in Gods love and how it doesn’t matter what people think of you. Quite foundational. Easily overlooked. God values who we are because He made us. And it hit me so tenderly this week. Whether they call me Hanenburger or Shawburger… I am still me. God finds value in who I am and He loves me.

To grasp that you are absolutely loved and infinitely valuable- it is what I wish for each of you.

Goodnight folks,

Shawburger out.

 

 

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with Strings

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The first year of marriage is in the books folks. It was a bit like a fire hose in the face with all the changes. From moving out of Spokane, starting two new jobs, living with family and then into an apartment…it was a bit much. Throw in some family dynamic friction and a fast paced daily schedule… whoo hooo!!!!!! Turn up the pressure! Don’t get me wrong, it was still one of my favorite times. Here’s why..

God is good and kind. In the midst of the chaos, He gives such sweet things to each of us. My husband and I have learned quite a bit in this past year and I have compiled a short list of a few. Without further ado, here is “My list of things I learned in the first year of marriage”:

Saying “I’m sorry” is only helpful if you follow it by taking responsibility for your portion.

Disneyland has the best corn dogs.

Keeping an argument going simply to be the “winner” is unhelpful.

Let him fold his laundry how he likes it.

Maturity means owning your own mistakes, talking about it, and forgiving each other.

When you are tired, hungry, or worn-out, do not try to tackle a serious conversation. Go eat first.

Pray a lot. Laugh a lot. And do things both of you like to do.

Be about the team. Stop being selfish.

Sometimes you just need to get out of your little home space and take a walk together. Thinking and talking outside is easier for me.

Do little things for each other OFTEN, as in every day.

Remember, everyone likes gifts.

Its a trap meme

But the biggest thing I’ve learned is that it’s not about me. My life has become exponentially more wonderful simply because of my sweet husband! It is such a joy to share each day with him and tackle what’s on our plates together. Sure, sometimes it feels like we’re wrestling a dragon in a tiny closet, BUT, there’s not better partner I would ask for.

God knew what He was doing when He orchestrated our story together. He knew the type of partner that would suit me well. And oh my darling, you are the best.

If you’ve got a spouse, friend, or partner in crime that makes your world brighter and more colorful…tell them. Don’t let any more time slip by without letting them know how special they are. Anniversaries and birthdays are great, but it’s really the mundane days that make life meaningful. Do something for your favorite people today.

Cheers

WCW:Willodean

You need to know how much I love you.

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And this is just a glimpse.

Countless nights slept over.
Do you remember I would ask you to wake me up when I had already done so on my own… I liked it when you woke me up.

Late nights of classic cartoons like Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry. Vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and sprinkles. The ice cream was always stirred best by you. I still won’t eat ice cream unless it’s stirred.

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Crochet lessons, the organ, pick up sticks and hi ho cheerio…the best activities at grandma’s house.

Even Grandpa would join in with dominoes or playing pool, farm magazines or watching the Lawrence Welk Show. He had the best voice for singing “Old Grogan’s Goat” in the yellow Cadillac all the way to the community pool.

I still remember when he would ask me to put on Johnny Cash and he would hand me his comb to play with his hair as I danced around his chair.

It was at your house when I first watched Star Wars, all bundled up in a fort on the floor.

You and Grandpa are the reason I love apple fritters and will always love breakfast food the most.

When I was sick with the chicken pox you and Grandpa brought me ice skating Ken and Barbie dolls to cheer me up.

Thank you for all the Grandparents Day brunches at JB’s, sleepovers, chasing me around in the red wagon, and making me a homemade piñata just because I wanted one.

Thank you for investing time and welcoming in my husband. It fills my heart with joy when the two of you spend time together. You are amazing.

Thank you for being so consistent with your love and affection. Thank you for being easy to talk to. Thank you for being so effortlessly humorous (you always say the funniest things). Thank you for being about your family. Your character and independence have shaped me into me. Just by being yourself and following Jesus, you have impacted generations. Willodean Hoesel, not that you have a choice, but thank you for being my Grandma.

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16.4 and Moving Forward

imageCrossfit Open 16.4

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood, until I received news of the released workout for today. Crossfitters all over the world have begun participating in the fourth workout of the Open tournament. This is what it looked like…

13:00 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible of…)

55 deadlifts
55 wall balls
55 calorie row
55 handstand push-ups

Previously, the number 55 held a highly respectable position in my mind. It’s the age when your discounts in life really begin to boost in benefits (dining, movie tickets, museum entrance fees). Early bird elderly prices EVERYWHERE. 55 in my mind is absolutely NOT elderly. I cannot wait to be 55 and drive to Mimi’s Cafe at 11:00am.

But seeing those four 55’s in a row like that. No ma’am I am not looking forward to it.

Now if you’re unfamiliar with the terms in the 16.4 workout, all you need to know for translation is that it reads, DEATH, MISERY, and WOBBLY LEGS. It was quite humorous to me that they called it an AMRAP because that means they expected people to complete more than one round! I watched some of the best barely get into a second round. I will not be among you.

Even though my goal was achieved (to get into the last section of 55 push-ups), I still left the gym partially disappointed. As I drove home, I wondered why I was feeling that way.

I have found that I become disappointed in myself when I only see what I have not accomplished rather than the progress I have made.

A have not life versus a have life is thankfulness. 

I am adamantly choosing to pursue a more positive, driven, and thankful attitude. Join me.

It’s almost the end of March. Which is the first quarter of 2016. We have 3/4’s left of this year. Take a moment and evaluate how the year is developing so far. Did you have goals in January? Is there something on your plate that is nagging you to be completed? Have you allowed yourself time to breathe and relax and enjoy your time? Take some introspective time to gauge where you are and how best to move forward.

Before you move forward, do not forget to celebrate what you have moved through. No matter how small.

I have achieved a personal record at the gym more days than not. I completed my first unassisted pull-up. I have been steadfast with my stretching (a never ending goal of mine is to do the splits). Outside of gym goals, I have stayed focused on specific ways I chose to love people around me.

In the Disney movie, “Meet the Robinsons”, his slogan for life is…

Keep moving forward.

I want this for you and I want this for myself. Keep moving forward and Be thankful. For it truly is a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Cheers.

Bright Copper Kettles & Warm Woolen Mittens

Dagnabbit! Good grief! Heavens to betsy! Rats! Jiminy Cricket!

I read an article from Real Simple today and in a small area it told it’s readers to “bring back gentle swears”. I loved it. Not that I’m a huge swearer, but sometimes the moment needs a strong word to match! I have decided to throw in some good ol’ Holy Mackerel!s into the vocabulary.

This actually has very little to do with what I wanted to share today. However, it’s Tuesday! So favorite things are what we have on the docket today. (Titled in sequence with the lyrics from Sound of Music’s My Favorite Things) Clever word goodies, check.

First, one of my least favorite things. Has anyone ever asked you what your pet peeves are? I have, and I never seem to have an answer. Until now.

I recently went to Disneyland (again, I know), and as the hubs and I were on the Indiana Jones ride, we were sitting behind a row of three high school aged girls. The real giddy and enthusiastic type of girls. I thought to myself, Great, fine…welcome to our car of adventure. Love your excitement. 

My appreciation did not last long.

The entire ride they had their phones out. Not just out, but full fledged flash camera status. Filming. Taking pictures. Documenting every angle for the next 3 minutes. Luckily I had been on the ride before so I knew what I was missing. But if I had never been to Disneyland and this was my first experience?!? In the words of Full House’s Stephanie Tanner, “How RUDE!” I was so flustered that they had ruined the ride (and that I didn’t have the guts to accidentally flail my arm toward their phone and knock it out). I literally do not recall anything except my fury.

Breathe Lauren, breathe.

This brings me to my big idea: many would rather participate in a reflection of life than life itself. 

This realization makes me sad. If only we would put our phones down more often so that we might be active participators in life!

I want to be the type of person that engages fully with what’s going on around me. I want to be at dinner parties and on Disneyland rides and on shopping dates and be committed to being fully present. I want to better someone else’s experience, not be a wet blanket on the moment.

I want those around me to feel cared about simply because I have put my phone away.

That is all. Put it away. Phones are not inherently bad objects. But let’s allow ourselves to be truly present. Put your phone down. Be where you are. All the best things happen when you’re present. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite thing.

Practice Connecting: 

Write a letter to someone: for their birthday or for no reason at all.

Be a person of thanks: write thank you’s for EVERYTHING (dates, good service at the mechanic shop, friendships).

Drive yourself into the wilderness: let it do it’s thing to your soul

Read a book aloud

Pay attention to what people say: If they have a big event coming up or someone is ill, send them flowers or call them on the phone. DO things. 

I had lunch with a wonderful woman about a week ago. She is a tall, fierce, confidant, vivacious type of a woman. She just fills up a room with all the best things. We had a marvelous time. And you know what? I don’t think either of us were on our phones. After my time with her, I was encouraged to do several things:

1- Be myself and enjoy being tall.

2- Do hard things.

3- Read as often as you can.

Lastly, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes,

A.S. said, “Pictures are to jog the memory, not be the memory.” 

Love to each of you.

 

 

Thirsty Thursday…for a thread barren soul

Drained. Worn out. Spread thin.

When your soul feels like a thread barren sweater, what do you do?

Some days I can barely muster the strength to LOOK at my To Do List! Heaven knows I’ve permanently resorted myself to no makeup days!

When we feel down, it’s easy to look for a quick fix to solve our blues. We go for a run outside, we read a book, we go out with friends. These are all good and wholesome things that complement and add refreshment to ourselves. Taking care of our physical selves, connecting with our people, and participating in enjoyable activities are all crucial to our emotional health.

However, even in GOOD things, we can miss it. We can miss what God really wants for us. I believe God provides good things for us to enrich our lives. But what He really wants, is to be our greatest delight.

Let me show you, read this..

Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

I’ve read this many times as I grew up. I took it to mean, if I loved God enough, He would give me what I wanted [insert: boy, achievement, big ticket item]. NOW, praise the Lord, I see it for what it really is…. When I know God closely, HE becomes what I desire AND SATISFIES IT. what!?

IYou want something… Bad. It could be a worthy desire. Praying for a sick relative to become well, a broken heart to be made whole again, an anxious kind to be quieted, a child to return from poor choices…. We all deal with things we can’t control that wear us down. And God is in this. But often we talk to God solely because we know what He has the ability to do. He CAN heal the sick, He CAN mend the broken heart, He CAN calm the anxious mind and He CAN bring a child full circle.

But do we talk to God because of who He is?

He wants to be our greatest delight IN THE MIDST of praying FOR the things we want. The answer to our prayer is already there because it’s Him.

As we ask FOR comfort, He IS the comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3, “…the Father of mercies and God of all comfort…”)

As we ask FOR peace, He IS the peace. (Ephesians 2:14, “He himself is our peace…”)

Sometimes we forget how wanted we are. Sometimes we just need to remember that someone cares deeply for us and our spirits are lifted. The load is lightened. So I will leave you with this…

This is one of the most soul nourishing passages in the whole Bible. I’ll give you my favorite verse, but go read the chapter yourself. DO IT. If you’re a lady, go grab your bible, an iced beverage, a quiet place, and DO YO THANG GURL. (If you’re a man, props to you for reading blogs, now go grab a man drink and your bible.)

John 17:22-24,

“The glory that You [God] have given me [Jesus] I have given to them [us!], that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me, and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am…”

Jesus wants us to be with Him where He is. Just hear that. He wants to be with you. He wants to spend time with you. You are always invited. You have all His attention and all His affection.

May your soul find a big sigh of relief today as you tackle your To Do list. May your rest be in Jesus himself.

Hold fast to Him.

Thirsty Thursday

imageSometimes I am a mixed bag of inconsistencies.

I absolutely love camping in the woods but despise gardening. It’s the worms and the bugs. I shall name them, “Ew” and “Gross”. And yes, I know the woods have more bugs than a garden, but somehow that doesn’t bother me.

But maybe I’m coming around, I’ve been drawn towards gardening (At least the concept). Stay with me, life is about God and people. We know this but we easily forget. To be totally transparent, I really have a hard time with contentment. My eye strays easily to friends’ latest accomplishments or purchases. It is an active fight for me to be content and thankful.

But this fight is absolutely central to our intimacy with God and satisfaction in relationships. And isn’t that what we all crave at the end of the day? To be closer to God and to be happy in our relationships?

God has given us certain things he wants us to tend to. He gave Adam and Eve the garden, he gave my husband a strong willed crazy lady, he gave other’s a classroom full of rowdy kids, but to all of us he gave talents, hang ups, fears, weaknesses, and passions. To each his own.

Think of it like this.

To each of us he gave a pack of seeds and a little square of land. He’s got the water supply and we’ve got the task of tending our own garden. But sometimes we see other people’s gardens and want their beautiful flowers, luscious greenery, or ripe fruit.

But Oh, my sweet reader, how coveting and discontentment kills growth! Growth of joy and satisfaction that comes from working together with the Lord. If we are not content with what He has given us now, we will never be content with whatever else we receive. What a rotten life that will be!

Everything you have is in your garden. Enjoy it and tend to your own garden.

I recently wrote about some girls I see on a monthly basis. I spoke of them as my “garden warriors”. Gardeners and warriors sound like complete opposites to me. But truthfully, what God gives us to tend is not always easy to deal with. Sometimes it seems like we’re given things that could rip us to pieces. Sometimes it feels like all we have in our garden is rocks and dead plants.

Hold fast and stay the course.

Give thanks.

Tend your garden.

If you need some encouraging verses, I’ve gathered a few that have quenched my thirst when I see a lot of dead plants, weeds, and things to tend to in my garden. May they be refreshing to you.

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18-
Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 (may you be SO captivated with Gods joy!)
Luke 8:15
John 5
Colossians 1:10