What I learned about myself from a week-long staycation

“There are seven days in the week and someday isn’t one of them.” Illustration: deeplifequotes (via Flickr)

I just returned from a week-long staycation. I took a week off from work with no structured or concrete plans nor anyone else to hang out with and decided to do exactly what I wanted with my time.

I’ve never actually given myself an opportunity like this. I tend to be driven by what other people need or want me of me, and then only secondarily,what God or I need or want out of my time. I’ve also had a really stressful year so far, with lots of changes and disruptions that make me wonder who’s actually at the wheel of this crazy runaway train car that is my life right now.

In the end, this experience wasn’t all that exciting or earth-shattering. I didn’t pull a Ferris Bueller or anything. But, I did return to work feeling refreshed and relaxed, and I learn a thing or two about myself.

Here’s what I learned from this experience: Continue reading

“I” Memories and “You” Memories – Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Flinders View from the rise. Photo: Georgie Sharp.

Flinders View from the rise. Photo: Georgie Sharp

I took a trip involving a long car ride this past weekend, and picked up the audiobook version of “Beautiful Ruins,” the 2012 bestseller by Jess Walter, to listen to during the trek.

This version is a beautifully narrated telling of the novel (I think too many publishers are getting sloppy with their audiobooks). The book is also a wonderful story, “spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives” (from the book description), and full of lots of thought-provoking quotes.

Here’s one that particularly struck me:

“Some memories remain close; you can shut your eyes and find yourself back in them. But there are second-person memories, too, distant you memories, and these are trickier: you watch yourself in disbelief.”

The book doesn’t elaborate on what, in particular, makes a first-person memory versus a second-person memory, but this was where my mind wandered to.  Continue reading

That One Beautiful Thing – 5/21/13

Bird taking flight. Illustration: Paivatar

Bird taking flight. Illustration: Paivatar

Sympathy – Paul Lawrence Dunbar (Poem of the Day)

You may recognize this poem more by this line, made famous by Maya Angelou, than the actual title: “I know why the caged bird sings!” I just finished reading Angelou’s book and was deeply moved by her storytelling of her childhood. She approaches her stories, many of which I can’t even imagine happening to myself, with an honest grace that is so humbling. I read the full poem shortly after finishing the book and appreciated hearing Dunbar’s words with echoes of Angelou’s in my mind.

24 Tiny Turtles Who Need a Reality Check (Huffington Post)

Ain’t nothing going to break these little guys’ strides… Continue reading

That One Beautiful Thing – 5/14/13

Faith as small as a mustard seed. Photo: echoesofstars

This is the start of a new series in which I share some of the links that lifted my heart this week.

Not Just a Girl (Jaime Moore Photography)

After the Disney Princess controversy this week, it’s refreshing to see photographer Jaime Moore dressing her daughter up for her fifth birthday as “real” inspirational women.

Continue reading

A Moment of Happiness – A Poem by Rumi

Just smile. Photo: ~tomatokisses

I’ve been getting back into poetry again lately. It soothes my soul. The poetry of Rumi, a 13th century Persian mystic, is particularly intriguing to me. There are so many layers to his wisdom, and I’m only beginning to uncover them.

Here’s one I particularly like:

A Moment of Happiness

A moment of happiness,
you and I sitting on the verandah,
apparently two, but one in soul, you and I.
We feel the flowing water of life here,
you and I, with the garden’s beauty
and the birds singing.
The stars will be watching us,
and we will show them
what it is to be a thin crescent moon.
You and I unselfed, will be together,
indifferent to idle speculation, you and I.
The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar
as we laugh together, you and I.
In one form upon this earth,
and in another form in a timeless sweet land.

Source: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-moment-of-happiness/

Nostalgia for Simpler Times (as told through movie soundtracks)

I have a few favorite songs from classic movies that I always listen to when I’m nostalgic for simpler times.

The first is “My Favorite Things”, sung by Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. Really, you can’t HELP but smile at raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. “And then I don’t feel…so bad.”

Next there’s another Julie Andrews song, this time from Mary Poppins: “Feed the Birds”. Continue reading