Obligatory Thankful Post No. 007

You guys, you know how every year in November I get all crazy about the too-early Christmas music? Well, I’m not sure if it’s the fact that Colorado weather just now turned cold or what, but this year the timing seemed juuuust right. (Do you see how I’m channeling Goldilocks right now?) And it sure didn’t hurt that Pentatonix came out with a new Christmas album to bring the holidays in with brilliant aca-music. #justsaying

I am constantly thankful for the blessings that occur in my every day life…a God that isn’t finished with me yet; my family for whom I have a depth of love that transcends words; friends of all types, far and near that I have the privilege of knowing; a job that I love; a roof over my head (that I now own! #adultinghardcore); a car that is steady and gets me through Colorado winters; not to mention all the luxuries I take for granted far too often.

However, this year I thought I’d use this time to call out some more…shall we say…trivial things that I’m thankful for. Here they are in no particular order.

  1. halotopI’m thankful for snacks that keep me sane. As I mentioned in my last post, I started a healthy eating journey this year. In my head I wondered if at the end of it all I would be that girl that would order a kale salad for lunch BY CHOICE and ACTUALLY ENJOY IT. Turns out, that didn’t happen. But what I learned in sticking with the program is that the success for me was dependent on two things (1) making a meal on the weekend that I could eat for dinners during the week and (2) finding snacks that didn’t taste like sawdust. If you’re looking for a list then, well, you know me well. Here are a few of my favorite finds:
    • Strawberry Kashi Breakfast Bars. Low sugar, high in fiber, and they tastes DELICIOUS. Plus, I really needed something that I could stick in my purse to have on-hand when everyone is eating cake in the break room.
    • Ritz Toasted Chips + Special K Cracker Chips. For when you need a salty snack, but don’t want to eat a meal’s worth of calories. The hardest thing here is to stop eating them at the serving size. Trust me on this.
    • Halo Top Ice Cream. Lord bless the genius that came up with this stuff. I’m serious. It’s like a modern day manna from heaven. So far, my favorite flavors are Birthday Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Vanilla, and Mocha Chip.
    • Corn GoodThins. Actually, all the GoodThins are pretty great. But the corn ones taste like Fritos and come in handy when you need a tortilla chip substitute.
  2. cupcake-scoopsI’m thankful for kitchen tools that make me happy to be alive. Baking is the best. And this year, I discovered a handy little object that makes baking muffins and cupcakes a breeze. The Tovolo Cupcake Scoop came into my life as a $8.89 impulse purchase, but it’s more than earned its spot in my very crammed cooking tool drawer. How do I love it? Let me count the ways. First, it’s under $10. Second, it makes uniform cupcakes and muffins. Third, it renders my former nickname “Batter Hands” obsolete. Need I say more?
  3. wwwI’m thankful for podcasts. PODCASTS ARE EVERYTHING! PODCASTS FOR PRESIDENT! PODCASTS FOREVER! So, I discovered podcasts this year mostly because I learned that two guys were starting up a podcast called “The West Wing Weekly”. If there’s anything I love more than (or maybe just as much as) Gilmore Girls, it’s The West Wing. While I have to roll my eyes at the liberal hosts’ opinions on some things, it’s basically one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened to me. I catch myself full-on grinning while I listen and then I have to rub out my cheek muscles so they don’t cramp (#firstworldproblems). I also love the “What Should I Read Next” podcast where host has guests on that are looking for their next read and asks them to tell her (1) three books they loved (2) one book they hated (3) what they’re reading now and (4) what they want to be different in their reading life. Recently, thanks to a friend’s recommendation, I started listening to the “Pass the Mic” podcast which is giving me a new perspective on racial injustice in our culture…and in our churches. I like that podcasts can be a way to get more information, entertainment, or broaden the scope of my understanding with just a push of a button!
  4. I’m thankful for Voxer. What is Voxer, you ask? I often describe it like this: if text message and voicemail had a baby, it would be Voxer. Basically, it’s like a long distance phone conversation with a friend that you don’t have to schedule. You send a recording of you talking about whatever to your friend and they can respond when they have the time. It’s been such a great way to keep in touch with some of my friends that don’t live near me…and when I was going through some serious processing earlier this year, these conversations really helped me think things through.
  5. I’m thankful Lip Sync Battles. You guys, have you even SEEN the Melissa McCarthy/Jimmy Fallon lip sync battle? It’s absolutely in my top 5. The others, in case you’re wondering, would be #1: Anna Kendrick/John Krasinski; #2: Joseph Gordon Levitt/Stephen Merchant/Jimmy Fallon; #3: Emma Stone/Jimmy Fallon; and #4: Ellen DeGeneres/Jimmy Fallon.*
  6. I’m thankful for hand lotion that keeps my hands from cracking right off the face of the planet. Living in Colorado is basically like living on the face of the sun. If you aren’t careful, your skin will be as rough as sandpaper in a handyman’s garage. I think everyone kind of has their go-to lotion to battle the dryness-to-end-all-dryness here, especially during the winter. Mine is L’Occitane 20% Shea Butter Hand Cream. Now, I’m not going to sugar coat this – the lotion is expensive. But I find that if I apply it to my hands every night before I go to bed, it keeps the little dryness gremlins at bay. And I really only have to purchase it once a year. In my mind? Quality over quantity, baby. (And yes, I just called you baby. Deal with it.)

If you’re just now coming to because you feel that I’m long-winded and should have gotten to the point sooner, here’s the bottom line: I’m thankful for #allthethings. For realz, people.

XO,

Amy

*I do not condone all the language in the music choices…just for the record. 

The Journey So Far…

Hi everyone!

So, November happened. And I was so ensconced in October that I totally missed it, marking my first failure to start and maintain my blog-post-a-day schedule in November (NaBloPoMo) since 2010. And a lonely tear drifted down my cheek.

I didn’t mean to flake out on this November journey of ours. In fact, NaBloPoMo really makes “blogger” a term that kinda loosely describes me (I can see all those super-disciplined and big name bloggers rolling their eyes at me and I really can’t defend myself). But this year has been a big one for me, so I hope you can understand why this slipped my mind.

Where to start? ALL THE THINGS.

  1. I started (and have kept) my New Year’s resolution to maintain healthier eating habits. And it’s been eye-opening! Turns out that just because a company puts “healthy” on the label, doesn’t mean it’s ACTUALLY good for you. And – I learned this the hard way – not all yogurt is created equal. I decided to use the Weight Watcher system and you know what? Sticking to the plan hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be! Now, I’m still pretty scared of cooking chicken and killing myself with salmonella. But I’ve made strides in other areas…promise! #halotop
  2. ciI left one job and started a new one. I made the difficult decision to leave my job in publishing, which I never thought I’d do.  I still love and respect people who I worked with at my previous company and miss several aspects of that job itself. However, I realized that particular environment when mixed with my personality (and weaknesses) ended up not being the healthiest place for me. That’s perhaps an overly simplified version of what happened, but that’s it in a nutshell (Help! I’m in a  nutshell!). So, I took a job as a Segment Manager at Compassion International. That’s right, I am now in charge of managing oranges. (Segments…get it??) JUST KIDDING! My new position is technically a marketing position, but mostly in serving the folks at Compassion that interact with donors. To be clear, I’m not the one that makes it rain, but I have finally learned where they keep the paper clips, so that’s progress right? Being on this new path took some getting used to, but I’m really grateful to be where I am. And honestly, I’m super eager to learn what the Lord has for me in this new phase of my life and existence.
  3. I went on a blind date. Some dear friends set me up on a blind date with a friend of theirs. You guys, it was such a good experience for me! I wore eye shadow and everything. After four dates, we realized there wasn’t any future in the relationship and amicably parted ways. I got to know someone who I wouldn’t have normally met and it was really a big boost of confidence to know that my friends thought me worthy of their friend.🙂 Now, at the same time, I was: considering leaving my job, interviewing at Compassion, and being asked by my landlords to consider moving out of my town home once my lease was up in August. So, I kind of wish all of that wasn’t going down at the same time. Let’s face it, my head was an over-analyzing mess because…well…I’m me. Overall, though, I’m glad to have had the adventure.
  4. I bought a house. My landlords were always really clear that they didn’t want to be landlords forever. So, when a friend of theirs was interested in buying my place it looked like I was going to have to move out. When that situation fell through, I knew it was the right time for me to be a grown-up and finally put down some roots. I had conversations with lots of wise friends, gathered my life as it exists in financial paperwork, did more math than I was comfortable with, and memorized the hold music at the IRS. And here I am! A home-owner. I’ve already been to two HOA meetings and can I just say that I think it’s wise that they make people purchase their home first before interacting with the HOA in any meaningful way. Because…people be crazy. My mantra every time I had to sign a super-intimidating piece of paper? “Amy, remember: You like this place. You want to live there. Remember the cross breeze? The great insulation that keeps you from hearing your neighbors? The location right next to Starbucks and down the street from Target? You can do this.”
  5. I became a book reviewer. When I left publishing, I found that I really missed being a part of the book world. So, I reached out to Book Reporter and they looked at my writing samples and took me on! The site is mainstream, but if you like that kind of reading and want to read any of my reviews, the links are below:

    The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin by Stephanie Knipper

    The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

    Paris for One by JoJo Moyes

  6. I went to hear a 3rd-party presidential candidate speak. Without getting too far down the rabbit hole, I’ll say this: on a personal level, I walked out of this election cycle more informed and prepared to vote than I ever have before. I engaged enough to know what I wanted my vote to count for and how I could cast it and sleep at night (a personal decision for every single person in our country with many justifiable outcomes). I educated myself on local ballot measures. I tuned in to the debates. I welcomed the levity that Jimmy Fallon and SNL brought to the proceedings. At the end of the day, there’s something deeply satisfying in knowing that I performed my part in being a citizen of this country. That I thoughtfully took part in this zoo of a process. Without taking a stance for any particular party, I think a few things are pretty clear: (1) the media has been a bit irresponsible with its awesome duty of reporting the news without bias (2) at an individual level it’s our job to denounce hate and choose love, always, no matter who is in power (3) sometimes, stepping away from social media is a good thing.

    As politics so often does, this whole season reminded me of a quote from the incomparable Aaron Sorkin.

    America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can’t just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the “land of the free”. – The American President

  7. loveI took more steps on this faith journey of mine. This, also, is complicated for me. This year I’ve wrestled a lot through things I used to have a pat answer for. What does Christian community look like when the church “formula” doesn’t quite work out? How can I shed some of my legalistic baggage yet still lean in to faith? How do I inform a lens of discernment that filters out well-meaning but often-wrong Christian rhetoric? What can I do to have a spirit of love and care for believers that would be easier to judge? How can I rip Christianese from my lips and instead be authentic and grounded? How can I have a relationship of love and care with those that disagree with me, have taken a different path from me, or might judge my choices in life? The answers are out there. I believe they are. But as I mull these issues around in my head, desperately cry out to God in prayer, and talk about all of the above with trusted friends – I’ll be honest – it’s kind of scary. In an exciting way, I suppose. It depends on which day you ask me.🙂
  8. ggNETFLIX ANNOUNCED A GILMORE GIRLS REVIVAL! And I immediately had to take a deep breath because, it turns out, I’m friends with FAR too many #TeamJess and #TeamLuke advocates. DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED.

    I have cautious optimism after watching the trailer for these new episodes. Sometimes I feel that a story suffers when a show comes back for “the fans” instead of being pursued for the story itself. But I hope I can trust Amy Sherman-Palladino’s writing and Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel’s acting chops. If you need me on Black Friday, I’ll be scrolling through Amazon deals and watching my dear friends take the stage again. Realizing, of course, that they are FICTIONAL friends. FICTIONAL. But they’ve gotten me through some rough times, so the love is real. Even if the posters do make me feel awkward. #deadeyes

Other highlights include: discovering Fixer Upper and visiting Magnolia Farms with my Mom, experiencing Newsies on stage with my friend Jessica, and meeting two families new little ones that are brand new to the world. But you’ve stuck with me for 1580-some-odd words. So I should be done now.

More posts coming! Just not one every day.

XO,

Amy

Book Review: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Well, happy January everyone! Can you believe we’re almost a month past Christmas? I can’t. I keep watching DVR’d shows with Christmas commercials and feeling sad about the whole situation we now find ourselves in. I’m going to blame my nostalgia on the fact that I’m still recovering from the PLAGUE sickness that has haunted me since the middle of December. #blech

(Side note: did you know that if you are sick for a long period of time, everyone in your life suddenly becomes a doctor? And it’s amazing. NOT.)

Ahem. Moving on because, apparently, time is going to whether I want it to or not…

BIG MAGICOur book club pick for this month was Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I, of course, was drawn in by the subtitle. After all, who needs creative living beyond fear more than me? (Don’t answer that. I may be self-aware, but I already have a complex.)

I was excited to pick this book up, because:

(A) The cover. Yes, please.

(B) The promise of inspiration.

(C) Seeing the book everywhere. No, really. I’m serious.

A quick summary from Goodreads for you:

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity.

With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives.

Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Now, I should say that this is my first Elizabeth Gilbert book, so I have not been “drawing inspiration and empowerment from her for years”. In fact, what I know about her mega-bestseller Eat, Pray, Love did not endear her to me in any way*. But the subject matter of creativity did pull me in. I wanted to feel inspired. I wanted an author to put words to feelings I have that I don’t know how to express and put it in a context that would propel me forward with new zeal. I wanted to discover fresh approaches to every day problems like feeling restless or just plain tapped out.

I finished the book yesterday for our discussion today (no time like the present, amiright??) and realized that the reading experience with this book was a bit different for me. I usually have one of three responses to a book: I really dislike the book and can’t imagine why anyone in their right mind would read it, much less love it; I read a book that I don’t love, but can see its virtues and don’t consider the time reading it to be a waste at all; I fall head-over-heels for a book and cannot recommend it fast or vehemently enough…to the point where people start avoiding me because I’m that girl. #marketing

This book is a departure from any of those responses. Here’s the truth: The entire time I was reading it, I felt as though I was reading a book that was not written for me. Although Elizabeth Gilbert and/or her publicist might disagree with me, I don’t think that this book is meant to be a widely appealing, accessible read. I think it was written for a niche audience that desperately needs a shot in the arm. She wrote it to bolster the artist…people who create beauty from nothing and who want to be validated in their passions. She wrote it to encourage these readers to continue to dream and not to give up their art even against the harsh backdrop and challenges of real life in the world we occupy.

And here’s what I learned. I am not an artist. I have creativity within me, sure, but it’s more of a logical creativity. Even my craft projects are essentially problem solving (I have all of these tools/materials and I want to make it look like such-and-such). I do not live (nor do I like living) in a world of intangibles and ethereal concepts. I DO like lists and structure. This probably also explains why I enjoy baking more than cooking. Also, I do not have a dream in my heart. I have goals and I’m always working towards something, but I think there’s a subtle difference between the two. Maybe this makes me a deficient human being but this is what we’re dealing with, folks.

I didn’t hate the book – in fact, there were a few things I took away from it…concepts that transcend or can be applied more broadly if interpreted into a different context. Here are a few of those:

“…when I refer to ‘creative living’ I am speaking more broadly. I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.” – (From An Amplified Existence, p. 9)

“As the saying goes: ‘Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.'” (From Defending Your Weakness, p. 18)

“Bravery means doing something scary. Fearlessness means not even understanding what the word scary means.” (From The Fear You Need and the Fear You Don’t, p. 22)

“She smiled sweetly at everyone and always acted like a total cooperator–but then she shaped her own world exactly to her liking while nobody was looking.” (From Remove the Suggestion Box, p. 85)

“Attempts at originality can often feel forced and precious, but authenticity has quiet resonance that never fails to stir me.” (From Originality vs. Authenticity, p. 98)

“You do what you can do, as competently as possible within a reasonable time frame, and then you let it go.” (From Done Is Better Than Good, p. 176-177)

“Onward ever, backward never.” (From Elk Talk, p. 191)

I’d definitely recommend this for the artist friends in my life – I think they’d find a lot of belonging in its pages. Since I’m not one of them, I’m thankful to have gleaned what I did while reading it. I just wish it had fulfilled what I wanted from the book when I picked it up, that’s all.

XOXO,

Amy

*I just don’t think Elizabeth Gilbert and I would be friends. She’d think me terribly prudish for sticking to my principles. At one point in the book, she talks about how she takes her vow of writing more seriously than her vow of marriage. I just can’t get down with that. #sorrynotsorry

 

 

I Heart Gilmore Girls

So, this is the last post of NaBloPoMo [insert one lonely tear traveling down my cheek]. Congratulations, everyone! We made it! Thanks for sticking with me through the good, the bad, and the ugly. You all are the best readers ever.

Now, when I created the now-famous blog topic calendar for the month of November, my first topic on the list was for tonight…a subject near and dear to my heart. That’s right. I’m talking about Gilmore Girls.

If you don’t know what Gilmore Girls is and we’re still friends…well…I can’t imagine that both of those things could be true at the same time.

When I was first introduced to Lorelei and Rory, I was fresh out of college and finding my way. That time in my life had a lot of firsts. First time to boil silverware bought at a garage sale. First time realizing that you’ve gone your whole life taking the fact that you live in a furnished home for granted. First time a roommate decides that a lease doesn’t mean she needs to live there until the end of it. First time that a different roommate moves her foreign-speaking mother into her room, fixes all their meals in said room, and rips you off two months rent and several months of utility payments. First time to discover Justin Timberlake as a solo artist (ah, Senorita…it seems like just yesterday). You know. The normal.🙂

The Gilmore girls offered me a little respite from learning how to adult in my new, crazy life. They beckoned me into the charming world of Stars Hollow where Kirk held every job in town and reading was cool and hanging out with your mom was even cooler.

I’ve now watched those seasons more times than I can count (I’m serious. I could go toe-to-toe with anyone in a heated trivia battle of the minds.) and I have thoughts. I know for a fact that people vehemently oppose some of these thoughts because I’m a part of a closed Facebook group wholly dedicated to All Things Gilmore.* Nevertheless, this is my chance to make my voice known as the expert that I am on these matters. Especially because it was recently announced that Netflix will partner with the show’s creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, to produce four 90-minute mini-movies that show us where Lorelei and Rory are today. Huzzah!

And here we go. [If you’ve never watched the show and you’d like to avoid spoilers, you should probably avert your eyes right about now.)

Lorelei belongs with Christopher.  Throughout the show, Lorelei had many suitors. Max Medina (Scott Cohen). Alex Lesman (Billy Burke). Jason Stiles. Luke Danes (Scott Patterson). A reluctant Beau Bellville (Nick Offerman). But none really compare to her high school love and Rory’s biological father, Christopher.

I know that Christopher was flawed. He was fairly absent parent during Rory’s growing up and had a series of failed businesses/careers. There’s no doubt about it, he left the heavy lifting of Rory’s childhood to Lorelai and that’s not a great attribute in a person. But I can’t find it in myself to dislike him because, well, Lorelai doesn’t. At one point when he’s moved on to a relationship that’s serious, Lorelai tells him “You’ve always been a wonderful possibility for me.” And if Lorelai, the one that has been the wronged one in this whole situation, can hold him in the back of her mind for so long, who am I to hold a grudge?

Christopher gets her. He knows the good and the bad. He can keep up with her pace and wit and dish it back. He views her as an equal. He loves her deeply.  And he always sees his future with her. There’s chemistry with these two. In contrast, other than the kiss at the end of season 4/beginning of season 5 that started the Lukalei relationship, there’s very little on-screen chemistry with Luke and Lorelai of them. Luke is always the curmudgeon holding her back. Not that I hate Luke! I do not. His selfless gestures were enough to win me over initially. But over multiple viewings, I definitely stand with my current opinion.

christopher

Also, the way that the Christopher and Lorelai relationship happens in the last seasons is complete crap. Amy Sherman-Palladino would have never written that if she were still at the helm of the show then.

Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) is the best character on the show. She is just the most relatable best friend that a girl could have. She’s loyal, she tells the truth, she’s loveably accident prone, and she’s a chef. What more could you ask for? I heart her so much that I just can’t stand most of the characters Melissa plays now. Sookie is my hero. SOOKIE FOR PRESIDENT! Actually, that might be a bad idea…

sookie

Logan is the best choice for Rory. Unlike Rory’s previous two long-term boyfriends who started out great and rapidly devolved into weirdness, Logan (Matt Czuchry) started as out as a playa’ but grew leaps and bounds while they were together. Not only was he sophisticated and well-read, but he also pushed her to try new things, take on new adventures, and championed her goals and aspirations. He had baggage and made some poor choices, let’s keep it real, but he really came into his own at the end there. Plus, the whole thing was kind of a Cinderella story. Bad boy meets good girl. Good girl is worth him changing his ways.

If we had never had Logan, we would have never met Colin and Finn. And that is a sad thought indeed.

loganandrory

I’ve had a lot of discussions with my friend and fellow Gilmore Girls fan, Jessica, who is strictly in the #TeamJess camp and I do think that I’d be okay if they bring Jess 2.0 (aka Philadelphia Jess) back in the upcoming episodes as an option for Rory.

There is no Mr. Kim. I mean, I know there was at one time or Rory’s best friend Lane would not exist. They reference him in passing all the way into season 2 but then abruptly never mention him again, not even to explain where the heck he went…? That’s just irritating.

Let’s talk Hep Alien. First, the loss of Dave Rygalski (Adam Brody) to college was the saddest thing ever. He was perfect for Lane in every way and his attempt to be accepted by Mrs. Kim by reading the Bible cover to cover in one night was literally the most adorable thing ever. But when Dave left (aka Adam joined the cast of The O.C.), Lane’s love interest eventually fell on the dim-witted and completely irritating Zack Van Gerbig and that was WAY below Lane. She deserved better.

zack

If I could watch a spin-off show about Michel Gerard, I totally would. Snark, party of one! And bring in a little Tobin for some conflict? Sold!

Michel

I’m sure there’s more.** But I think I’ve let a little too much of my crazy peek out tonight as it is. So I shall bid you good night and good luck!

Because tomorrow is December.

XOXO,

Amy

*I know I sound like a complete lunatic, but I promise that I’m not. Think of it as Comic-Con for reading geeks, okay?

**Like the fact that the April Nardini twist was the worst thing EVER EVER.

Sunday, Sunday

Happy November 29th, dear blog readers!

On my fancy dancy blogging topic calendar (and we should use the term “calendar” loosely), I’ve mostly reserved Sundays for some deeper thoughts. You know, the kind that can’t be ripped from the headlines of Entertainment Weekly. Those kinds of thoughts. But tonight I just can’t quite make myself think too hard.

Today I cried a lot. Before you get concerned about me, you should know that I was operating on not a lot of sleep and a LOT of caffeine. Some tears were shed this morning at church – I’m profoundly grateful for my pastor’s heart to address local and global happenings from a Biblical perspective. Pastor Thomas today said something along the lines of “I remembered that refuge shouldn’t be in a place, it should be in a Person.” And after the shooting in Colorado Springs, that’s exactly the right place to guide our hearts and minds…back to truth. We heard from a former refugee that works with a local ministry helping new refugees transition into a new culture. And we spent a large amount of time in guided prayer for those in our city that are hurting. And none of that was on the docket until after the events of Friday. The Holy Spirit is really something, isn’t He?

And then there were some tears shed for not-as-noble of purposes…

I came home to research a few Christmas gift ideas and donned my festive fleece pants to snuggle up on the couch with my laptop. But when I opened my laptop, I had the gray (grey?) screen of death telling me I needed to take steps to restore my computer with a back-up.

And all of a sudden it came rushing back—my former computer crashed last summer and I wisely invested in a back-up hard drive. And there it not-so-wisely sat in its plastic packaging ever since it was purchased. By some small miracle, I restarted my computer and it rebooted correctly. I’ve never been so happy to see my background photo pop up.

In the relief aftermath of my panic, I dusted off and tore open my shiny new external hard drive and transferred over all my files for an hour or so. But why stop there? If you give a Haddock a project…

I felt compelled, then, to email myself photos from the many MANY text messages from my family with pictures and videos of the adorable nieces (see picture below as proof) so that I can free some much-needed space for my upcoming Christmas playlist on my phone. And that took me pretty much through the afternoon.

IMG_0064

Which brings me to the not-so-noble tears and how I found myself catching up on DVR’d episodes of Ellen. I started them mainly to keep me company in the background, but darn that Ellen, she drew me in with cars given to families in need, Bieber week, and the general give-back spirit for which Oprah was also famous.

(Also, Justin Bieber has a voice like buttah. I may not agree with all his life choices, but the kid can sing. And I’m a teensy bit envious of his hair, too. I’m just saying.)

And that explains the several kleenex that was needed to get me through the afternoon and brought flashbacks of watching episodes of Parenthood.

I think I’ll be fine with a little sleep. But I’d be even finer if the world wasn’t such a broken place and if I wasn’t such a crazy person.

XOXO,

Amy

P.S. NaBloPoMo is coming to a close and every year I talk about how I’m going to blog more after it ends. This year I really want to….especially as it relates to bookish posts…but it will just depend.

If you’re interested in KIT (that’s Keeping In Touch in yearbook speak), even if sporadically (Clueless shout-out!), I added a “sign up to receive my blog as an email” button. Actually, I think it’s much more succinct, but you get the drift. I’ll post on the Facebooks as always, but you never know – the algorithm might have shifted to only prioritize posts from people with the same first letter in their name as your own. Facebook rules the world in that way. So, no pressure. But there’s an option for you if you want it!

See you all tomorrow.🙂

My Day in Pros and Cons

I know a lot of you might think that I stole this from Jimmy Fallon, but I was doing it long before I knew that he did. Seriously. Also, not to be a stickler, but Jimmy’s Pros and Cons are not always really pros and cons. They’re more like funny statements. Which, you know, is acceptable for a Tonight Show host. Anyhow. I’ve gotten off topic already.

I just got home from the airport (thanks for picking me up, Allison!) and I feel a little all over the map. First of all, I have to unpack eventually which is my least favorite part of traveling. And second of all, I have an early morning so I gotta get myself to bed in the near future. So, there are those things. But downloading my day with you, dear blog reading friends? Priceless.

Pro: Sleeping in. The epitome of a vacation! And my last chance to do so before Monday morning work begins, since I have an early morning call time for sound team at church. Plus, having your mom wake you up instead of an alarm is an infinitely better way to start the day.

Con: Morning, no matter how late it started for me, marked the end of a lovely week with the people I love. A LOT.

***

Pro: Flying on Southwest means that my bags got to fly free. Also, they have new machines in the Houston airport where you can attach your luggage label-thing yourself, cutting down on standing-in-line time.

Con: I did not go to enough college to figure out how to properly adhere it. I literally stood at the kiosk staring at the instructions on the back and attempting to detach a section of the thing that was not meant to be detached (Oh, you pull UP on the buckle! I was attempting to rip the fabric part…I thought if I could just get it started.*). I offered my bag with to the attendant who was in charge of throwing it on the conveyer belt somewhat sheepishly and looking for approval. Who knew the check-in process could be so humbling?

***

Pro: Since I had a good boarding position, I could pretty much choose my seat.

Con: Other people with questionable social awareness and varying levels of cleanliness could also choose their seat. For my part I avoided the loud-talking networkers behind me (“Oh, my daughter just graduated from that school. What line of work did you say you are in? Let me get you my business card.”) and also the weird guy that is likely either an engineer or works in IT that was burping up a storm and wearing his t-shirt on his head as a sort of headdress. Additionally, I successfully side-stepped the five person family complete with a pre-teen that responded to everything his mother said with an “I know, Mom!” accompanied by the ever-popular eye roll. (That move doesn’t look as cool as you think it does, guy.)**

***

Pro: Using my two hour flying time to catch up on Entertainment Weekly magazines. Guys, they are NOT KIDDING about that weekly thing. The thing comes every.single.week.without fail!

Con: That feeling of trust that disappears as we are beginning the take-off process. I believe in engineering and aerodynamics, but the whole thing freaks me out a little more than I would like.

***

Pro: Coming home. Sleeping in my own bed. Getting back to my routine.

Con: Knowing that a tragic shooting happened in my hometown again and feeling so deeply grieved by the subsequent arguments from all sides of the country in making sense of it all. I know everyone is working through it in their own way and I also know that most people are well-intentioned. But name calling, blame shifting, and using this tragedy to promote any agenda at all is just wrong. Praying for those hurting tonight in my city and for peace to be restored to our streets.

***

In short, everything today was a little bittersweet. But tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet. And God promises new mercies every morning.

If only the morning didn’t have to come so early…

XOXO,

Amy

*Quoted from Jerry Seinfeld’s stand-up routine “I’m Telling You for the Last Time”. If you haven’t heard it, you must do so posthaste. For realz.

**I ended up sitting next to a lovely older couple who did not judge me for reading the Summer Movie Preview issue of EW at the end of November.