My personality, drive, and mindset often lead me to interesting places. I'm in this wonderful and awful stage of life where every problem in the world is glaringly obvious to me, and I feel like I am the one who needs to fix it. I have always had trust issues, and have never, ever been able to delegate anything to anybody. So, what this means is that when I see a problem in town, I think, "okay... add a letter to the Mayor to my to-do list," and I actually do because I do not believe that I can trust anyone else who sees the same problem to take action.  I've considered continuing my education at the UofA because they have a Department of Education Reform and I'm just convinced that I belong there. I hear people say things that are crazy, unwise, or just plain wrong in my eyes, and I feel like it's my duty as a human to let them know. Ha! The good part is that I've tossed the "someone else will take care of it" mindset to the wayside. The bad part is that I too often take matters into my own hands--matters that don't belong there.

I am still on the "Bible in a year" plan, but I am also doing another Bible study which goes through the entire Bible and requires me to look at each story in the Bible and analyze what it means for women, what it means for our worldview, and the significance in the Word as a whole. It asks basic questions, but then always asks questions such as, "What was the purpose of God doing ____?" Or "So what does this tell us about God's character?" etc. I am obsessed with it, and the teacher in me instantly declared, "These are awesome, higher-level thinking questions!"

 In just a few chapters of Genesis alone, I suddenly saw what happens when the woman takes control. We have the infamous example of Eve, who took control and caused the Fall of man. Then, just a few chapters later, we have the example of Sarah taking control of their "infertility problem" and asking her husband to sleep with their servant, Hagar, who then gave birth to Ishmael. Many Arabs today believe that Muhammad was the chosen descendant of Ishmael, who again is the product of a woman taking matters into her own hands. I have read these stories several times, but because of the tough questioning in this study, I have an entirely new perspective of them and why we have them. And that wasn't even what the study was about! These are just two examples in a mere five or six pages of the entire Bible. I'm certain to find countless more examples as I continue.

I am still processing this and what exactly it means for me, but I know it is significant and will play a significant role in my life. Not only do I often take matters into my own hands instead of resting in the Lord, but I do the same with my husband, which makes it easy for him to forego his role as a leader... and then we're not at all living life as God intended. My new task: figure out a balance between being a doormat and being like Eve and Sarah.

Chew on that one with me.



The title sounds dramatic, which is actually a perfect way to sum up events from the past couple of weeks. Or years. I had two interviews on Monday for library media specialist positions. Both interviews went well, and I know that I did not get one of the jobs. The principal was extremely encouraging, and if you want to know more, just ask. Afterwards, though, I became extremely confused. All of a sudden, I realized I was upset because this means the chances of me going back to the job I had last year are even greater. After going through a series of emotions, I again decided that I will do whatever I have to do to get by until Ryan finishes school in May. In summation, I'm okay. :-) My current (and past) crisis is that I cannot, for the life of me, determine what it is that I even want to do. I know I can do whatever it takes to get to wherever--that's not the issue. The issue is determining what it even is.

My mom bought me a book a couple of years ago that I finally decided to pick up and read yesterday. It's If you Have to Cry, Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone. I read half of it yesterday, and while it is perfect for me right now, I can't recommend it with a clear conscience. She is quite bold, and says many things that are just not based on a solid foundation. If you can read it while constantly weeding out the bad parts (she made up her own religion, uses plenty of foul language, etc.), you might find something good in it. The title of my blog post comes from a chapter she named, "It's not a breakdown, it's a breakthrough." The truth is, when we meet resistance, we have a choice: breakdown, or breakthrough?

A few bits of wisdom, if you will:
"You'll find as you set out after your dreams that most people don't really want you to transcend the situation you were born into. Perhaps they're scared for you, perhaps they don't believe in you, or perhaps they're just nasty, negative naysayers. Whichever it is, I advise you to stop sharing your dreams with people who try to hold you back, even if they're your parents. Because, if you're the kind of person who senses there's something out there for you beyond whatever it is you're expected to do--if you want to be extra-ordinary--you will not get there by hanging around a bunch of people who tell you you're not extraordinary. Instead, you will probably become as ordinary as they expect you to be. ...when you're the most happening person at the party, it's time to leave."

I love what she says here. I have been quite determined about my future before, only to have it squashed by someone to whom I told it. I realize much of what Kelly has to say in this book, and particularly in the passages I'm sharing with you, seems cynical. If you read it in the context of her life story, or of my own, to be honest, it will make more sense.

"...sometimes in life seasons don't come in order; instead of fall, winter, spring, summer, we get three winters in a row. But that doesn't mean spring won't come eventually."

"You can either let someone by protected from reality or let them be sculpted and birthed by it. I firmly believe the latter option is best. We're constantly getting these messages to mind our own business and look the other way if we want to be well liked, to not tell the truth or speak our mind or say anything too intense. Well, I'm telling you here that this approach not only makes you party to other people's crimes against themselves but is a prescription for mediocrity and delusion."

This one really challenged my thinking, although if you know me, you know these words could have easily come out of my own mouth. Clearly there has to be a balance, but I found it interesting nonetheless. It is so true that we can either be protected from reality or be sculpted by it. I love that.

"...as you move through your career and your life, you will have to learn that if you're not what you do, then what you do has no business keeping you entertained at night."

I have always, always said that "my job is what I do, not who I am." I know people--many people--who are their jobs. They let their jobs define them. I hope I never will. I couldn't help but smile as I read what she had to say.She's right: your job is not who you are; you should never lose sleep over it.

I'll share more passages as I continue to read. Again, it is a good book, and if you want to read it yourself, by all means do. But please do not recommend it to somebody if you haven't read it yourself...especially to someone who is not very well-grounded in the truth of Christ.

And so you can see a little bit of what I've been up to:
  • Lots of dates with Ryan before August arrived. He is living out of town this month for a pharmacy rotation. Today I realized there are five weeks this month. Torture!

  • The picture below is from our anniversary. We had the most wonderful date at a fancy local place, Bordino's, and I was so upset that we didn't get a good picture together. I asked a lady to take one, but quickly realized she was not in a state of mind to take a decent picture. So we took one in the mirror when we got home. Sad. 
  • I've had a difficult time finding a way to decorate my dining room table, and dining room in general. Here's what I came up with:

  • Below is the view from where I'm sitting right now in my living room, peeking into my dining room. I painted those frames black. If you look at my previous blog post, you'll see they used to be a variety of pretty colors. I loved them, but it simply wasn't working with everything else. I'm really, really happy with what I've got going on now!
  • While I was reading outside in my back yard yesterday, I got a funny feeling and started looking around me for snakes and such. I didn't see anything at all, and continued reading. When I finally got up to go back inside, this was in front of the door! Weird, huh? My friends on FB assured me that it's a King snake and will eat other snakes. I wasn't scared at all, but it did strike two or three times in the opposite direction from where I was standing. 

Happy August!


A year

Ryan and I have been living in Fayetteville for one year now! It has gone by so quickly; it feels like we've only been here for a few months. We've had a great year so far and wasted no time diving right in and starting our lives here. We found our church home our first Sunday here, and have established some fun and edifying friendships. It took me a while--a long while--to even call this place home. Even a couple of months ago I was longing to move back to Little Rock. But, as with most things, I had a change of heart somewhere along the way. This is our home. We fit in, sort of. :-) We've found our place.

It might have taken me 6 months to call MLK blvd by the right name. I was used to JFK in Little Rock, so that's what came out of my mouth every single time. I'll probably never appreciate the congested highways here. And every August, I'll likely complain about the arrival of the college students. I still don't have the job I think I deserve, but that's ok. I'm content. We have so many things here--more important things--that we didn't have prior to moving here. So, a year later, I'll finally declare this as my home. I love this town...most days. ;-)

Picture walk through the past month or so: new arrangement on the wall (still need pics), new necklace from Ryan (acknowledging the crazy mess that I can be), chicken at Logan's shaped like a heart, and a pic of us (from tonight).  :-)

Also, my husband is totally finished with his coursework for pharmacy school!! He is now in his rotations, and on Friday will be finished with his first out of 9. This one has been at Washington Regional and is a pharmacy management rotation. Not his favorite, but he's done a great job! This was a little celebration for him that I put together after his last final. I'm so proud of him!


Tithing: a personal story

I bought a journal a while back, and have been writing in it and blogging less! There is something special to me about reading things I've written in the past, especially things long forgotten, but I do not want everything to be read by somebody. So that's why I got a journal.
But for some reason I feel compelled to share a personal story about our tithing. I'm just going to write quickly, so pardon my lack of eloquence.

Back story: If you know Ryan or I at all, you know that I've been the provider for our family while he's been in pharmacy school. He has been working through school as well, but just part time. When we lived in Little Rock and I was teaching, I thought we were poor of course, and then we moved. Ha. I am now getting paid half of what I was. Another reason why I'm ready for him to finish school. :-)

When we first got married, I had a hard time parting with that 10% for tithing. Ryan is in charge of our finances, and for a little while at first, I am pretty sure we did not tithe our first fruits, but would tithe if we had money left over. A few months into our marriage (almost 3 years ago!), we discussed how that needed to change, and we began tithing our first fruits. I have to say I am thankful for Ryan's obedience because I do not know that I could have been as obedient on my own at that time. We faithfully tithed to our church in Little Rock. It took us quite a while to find a church home there, so I just assumed it would be that way in Fayetteville. So, prior to moving, I committed tithing to a ministry that invested so much into my life. I did this because I wanted to give back, but also partly to hold us accountable during that time period of moving and church homelessness. I had absolutely no idea that it would take one day for us to find a church home in Fayetteville. One day. I committed to do that for one year, which will end in September (I had no income from June until September)! Our pastor in Fayetteville preached on tithing a while back, and stressed the importance of tithing to the local church rather than a different ministry. His message totally convicted me. It was mind-opening and I honestly had never even thought about it. However, I made the commitment, so I have to keep it (I am HUGE on commitment & struggle with people who don't keep theirs. Ya know... in case you were wondering!) :-) Once we give our last tithe to them in September, we will begin tithing to our church. Any money I want to give to a different ministry will be given on top of my tithes to my church, as I now know that's how it should be. Anyway...

I left my job and we moved in June (2011), before we even knew for certain that the UAMS campus up here would achieve accreditation. By the grace of God that all worked out, and it was the most faith-stretching time of my life. Regardless, back in May, I committed to tithing to my friend's ministry, knowing we were moving and I had no job. I had no hopes of a job. The prospects were extremely grim, especially when August came and I still had no job. Little did I know, I would get a job that would pay me half of what I was earning before we moved. And I had made this commitment. Yikes!

I believe that if you do not tithe when you have little, you will have a really hard time tithing when you have much. Likewise, if you do not tithe when you have much, you will certainly have a hard time tithing when you have little. Since we have moved, I have not one time struggled with tithing our first fruits even though my income was slashed in half. We haven't struggled with it because we were obedient when we had excess (which I would have never considered excess until now), and that obedience transferred over into our new circumstances.

A common phrase around our household is "it's because we tithe!" I truly believe that God chose to bless us several times since we've moved, all because of our faithfulness in giving to him. Last October-December (sometime around that time period), my insurance company started sending me money.  Yep.  Have you ever heard of that? I would spend $25 at the pharmacy, and get a check anywhere from $80 to well over $100 from my insurance company. Every time I went to the doctor or pharmacy, which unfortunately was quite often, I would make money. It was crazy! My mom even called the insurance company to confirm that they did mean for me to receive that money from them, and they said yes every time. There are also several other stories I can share, but the only words I have to say about any of it are always the same: it's because we tithe. And that has nothing to do with why we tithe. For about a year now, I have given joyfully. I no longer feel the "sting" of giving because I there is freedom in obedience.

There is freedom in obedience.

I encourage you to do the same. Don't even think about it. Just do it, right off the top. You will be blessed. You might reap what you sow immediately, or it may be a while. But you will.


Snow + God

I have to write one more post about snow. This time, it is to share why I love it so much and pray for it to reappear as if it were a dear friend. By personality and by trade, I am an over-analyzer. I believe this trait strengthened as I pursued my degree in English, but it has always been there, annoyingly tugging at my mind at all times. But sometimes I appreciate it. In December I heard a song that absolutely calmed my heart and brought over me the coziest, loving feeling. I cannot listen to it enough, both for its melodies and the lyrics. It's one that might not tickle anyone else's fancy, but it grips me every time. I think I know why. My analytic mind immediately connected it to two other pieces of literature that I absolutely adore. These three, when pieced together, paint a perfect picture of why I love snow...and words. 

Song: "Winter Snow"

Could've come like a mighty storm
with all the strength of a hurricane.
You could've come like a forest fire
with the power of heaven in Your flame.

But You came like a winter snow:
quiet and soft and slow,
falling from the sky in the night
to the earth below.

You could've swept in like a tidal wave
or an ocean to ravish our hearts.
You could have come through like a roaring flood
to wipe away the things we've scarred.

But You came like a winter snow.
You were quiet;
You were soft and slow,
falling from the sky in the night
to the earth below.

Oh no; Your voice wasn't in a bush burning.
No, Your voice wasn't in a rushing wind.
It was still.
It was small.
It was hidden.

You came like a winter snow:
quiet and soft and slow,
falling from the sky in the night
to the earth below.

Understanding this coupling of the Lord and snow comes so naturally to me, and since hearing this song, I think of it often. Onto the next two pieces: the first from The Shack (actually my favorite part of the book) and the second straight from scriptures.
"There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine. Snow or freezing rain suddenly releases you from expectations, performance demands, and the tyranny of appointments and schedules. And unlike illness, it is largely a corporate rather than individual experience. One can almost hear a unified sigh rise from the nearby city and surrounding countryside where Nature has intervened to give respite to the weary human beings slogging it out within her purview. All those affected this way are united by a mutual excuse, and the heart is suddenly and unexpectedly a little giddy. There will be no apologies needed for not showing up to some commitment or other. Everyone understands and shares in this singular  justification , and the sudden alleviation of the pressure to produces makes the heart merry. ... Even commonplace activities become extraordinary. Routine choices become adventures and are often experienced with a sense of heightened clarity" (The Shack, pg. 15).
"He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,' and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.' So that all men he has made may know his work, he stops every man from his labor" (Job 37: 6-7).


Well hello! Sorry for abandoning my blog so often lately. Between working, grad school, church commitments, exercising, and still trying to be a good wife, some things get pushed to the wayside. Here are some quick random pieces of information:

  • I bought a One Year Bible for Ryan and I to try this year. We both failed a couple months into the reading plan we tried last year. So far, it is going extremely well. I love the layout (each day has a reading from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalm, and Proverbs), and actually look forward to reading it each day. We hit the 100 page mark over the weekend, which I considered a small victory.
  • I have had no book posts recently because I am reading through the Harry Potter series. I am loving it, but I do openly struggle with series. :) I am currently on book 3. It is taking me a while with various time constraints.
  • This is the saddest winter of my life so far because we have had no measurable snow. I have not gotten to watch heavy snow through the window, nor any similar phenomenon. (Horrible life, I know!) I am trying to look at this warm weather as a blessing; I am trying to cherish it and appreciate it, but golly! I found this gem on Pinterest:

If someone told me to mentally go to my "happy place," it would look like this--not the beach; nothing fancy--just this...assuming there is a cozy fireplace and reading nook inside.