My joys to share with you this week are small, indeed, but they have been huge blessings in the midst of a lot of chaos. Someday I'll talk about all the chaos, but for now, just know that it's there and that even in our feeling swallowed up by it sometimes, there's a lot of happy moments.
No. 1: Reading. Oh man. I've been reading like crazy lately. Not any of the things I should be reading, like my ACLS (advanced cardiovascular life support) manual or my Med/Surg certification review book. None of those things seem important right now even though they should be. Maybe I'll pick those up next week again? For now, I've finished two of my August books (Beautiful Ruins and The One and Only) and still need to finish Radical (I'm thinking I will push this one into September because it's too serious and important and big for me to rush through it). BUT good news: almost finished with Shauna Niequist's Bittersweet and am seriously devouring every word. This is part of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Club and will be heading off to North Carolina soon to sweet Jordan. My other traveling book club (a little smaller, with only three people so far, and possibly a fourth?) just received Beautiful Ruins which I really enjoyed. It was great writing, in my opinion. I had thirty pages left and was doubting that Jess Walter could bring it all together and end it in a good way with just thirty pages to go, but he did. It left me wanting a little more, but I think he did a great job with the book and the style of writing (several stories going on at once). In any case-- here's to books! And reading! And staying up late to finish books!
First long distance book club in the mail!
No. 2: Fall nails. I love painting my nails. I don't do anything fancy (my friend Mariah at work always has super cute and fancy nails with amazing designs/textures/colors... maybe someday I will try to learn her ways!), but I do enjoy painting my own nails. I've gotten manicures before and just find them to be an incredible waste of money unless you get gel polish, which can be expensive. Now that I have a decent top coat (OPI, worth every penny), I'm finding that painting my own nails lasts just as long, if not longer, than when I get a professional manicure. Plus with DIY I can sit at home watching Pretty Little Liars while painting. That's a win in my book. The alcohol we use at work to wash our hands seems to just eat away at any and all nail polish (except for gel polish), so painting my own just seems the way to go if it's going to chip anyways. In any case, as you may know from my posts on here and on Instagram, I'm ready for fall, hence my decision to begin painting my nails "fall" colors-- neutrals, browns, darker reds. Deep, full colors. This one here isn't so full but falls into the neutral category; it reminds me of the colors my grandma always used to wear. She was a lady who almost always had her nails painted (I remember painting her nails when she got to the point in her illness when she didn't want to leave her house anymore. Just because she couldn't go out didn't mean she could have naked nails!).
"Let's do Lunch" in the Sephora by OPI collection
No. 3: Visits with family. Recently, some of my family from New York came to West Lafayette to move my cousin into Purdue for his freshman year. Purdue is only about an hour from us, so we took a little trip down the road to meet them as they helped him move in. We went to Scotty's Brewhouse after (which has become our favorite restaurant in Indy... so we were excited that there was one in West Lafayette, apparently the original!) and compared notes on Italy trips (they had just been in the Spring) and just caught up and laughed a lot. I love these people and was so happy to see them. It was such an incredible blessing to have them here and so random to us too-- what are the chances that we would all find ourselves meeting up in the Midwest?
At Scotty's with the crew! Margaret and me
No. 4: Writing. One of my goals for August was to write more. More blog posts, more of my book, more handwritten notes. I've been slowly but surely working towards this goal and have done pretty ok with it. I finally sent some letters out that I had been meaning to send (sorry for being months late, Shannon!) and started on our thank you notes the other night after receiving them in the mail! I've managed to write nine blog posts this month (including this one) which makes this month my second leading month in blog posts written (second only to February 2013 when I wrote 13 posts! Whew. I must have had a lot of free time. Oh yes, that was the month before we got engaged. Lots of free time pre-engagement and pre-marriage). I'm still trying to write more than that, but for good quality writing, I refuse to rush the process. And as for my book, this has been a month of brainstorming and researching. I didn't come up with a super official outline, but there is a list on my phone currently of the chapters I want to write. Since I do better with stream of consciousness/free flowing kind of writing that tends to produce shorter chapters, I'm modeling after Shauna Niequist and making it a collection of essays. Many of the topics will be things I've visited on the blog before but they will be going more in depth than I have on here. I also did research on publishing and how to get the book published if I so desire. For now, I'm writing because I love it and because I find the best version of myself when I write. I'm not looking to make a lot of money or any at all, really, but I'm writing for self-discovery and for the hope that it will speak to someone somewhere. But I am interested in publishing if possible. So I think we can say progress has been made on this front?
PS: currently reading an e-book recommended by Shannon (via Shauna Niequist) called Writing to Find Yourself by Allison Vesterfelt which is amazing regarding writing for self-discovery. So glad to have found this 100-page gem.
No. 5: Hosea. I've been reading through She Reads Truth studies online still and am enjoying their Hosea study right now. I don't have much to say on this, except that you should check it out. I find their studies to be so wholesome and good.
No. 6: Indiana skies. They are beautiful. North Carolina skies are beautiful, too, but these Indiana ones take my breath away. We have the most amazing view of sunsets from our apartment and I frequently watch them from our bedroom window or while sitting at our kitchen table (which I intentionally placed in our bay window for this reason. Many people in our apartment complex cover the bay window with a tv. I KNOW! Insanity, right? But I'm a sucker for pretty views, so maybe that's me). Here's one I had to snap a picture of the other night. You can't see the clouds super well, but there's like three different types of clouds mixed into this one photo. Long, thin wispy ones, fluffy cotton-ball ones, and darker ones (earth science wasn't my jam. Please reference my friend Kayla or any other high school science teachers for details on cloud names).
Photo credit: Oh, just me. Thanks iPhone.
No. 7: Homemade lemonade. This one wasn't my idea at all. My husband makes AMAZING homemade lemonade. We currently have many bottles of sugar water in our refrigerator so we can easily put together the lemonade with fresh lemon/orange juice. I'm giving him 100% credit for all of this, I've never actually made any of it. It's so delicious, though.
So good. So so good.
No. 8: Quiet nights in. Thursday night was my favorite night I've had in... a long time. I had worked Wednesday night so I slept for most of Thursday, but when I woke up I decided I was going to dedicate the night to writing, reading, fall candles, catching up with NC friends, and drinking tea. And I did all of these things. I got to talk with my high school roomie and dear friend, Kirsten, for a while and shortly thereafter Skyped with Claire (and Susan for a brief moment, too!). I love Skype because it makes me feel like I've actually just hung out with my friends. I get the same feelings of euphoria and happiness that I do when I leave a friend's house in person; amazing that technology can facilitate that. I also received our thank you cards in the mail and began the process of writing those out. I'm hoping fall brings more of these nights. I love them, and my soul needs the respite that they bring.
No. 9: Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Yes. I did it. I purchased one in August. Word on the street was that August 25th was their release date, so Scott and I showed up at our local Starbucks to study, ready for the PSL (chanting: PSL! PSL! PSL! Maybe that was just in my head). The barista looked annoyed when I asked for it (perhaps she had been responding to wants for this all day that day? Maybe she's an October-Scrooge?) and stated that it wasn't coming to their location until the following day. After a brief terror-striken moment, I pulled my jaw up off the floor and asked for a tall decaf house coffee (come on, it was 8PM. I only do caffeine that late when I'm working night shift) and walked away feeling defeated. They also didn't have any milk or cream out and I was too sad to ask for any, so I gritted my teeth and drank my coffee black, feeling like such a baller. Except that I added two packets of sweetener to make up for the lack of cream, so maybe that's not actually black coffee. This story is so long, isn't it? Basically, I got a PSL on August 26th and I think it was even MORE delicious because of the extra day of waiting for it. I drank half of it at Starbucks, went home to nap, and finished the other half en route to work that evening.
PS: I really want to drink a PSL while watching PLL (Pretty Little Liars) one night just so I can say those two acronyms at once. Fun stuff, right?
Well, friends, I hate to cut it off at 9, but I think these 9 have made for a pretty full week. I hope that you are facing a good week ahead and that if you find worries facing you, that you leave them at the feet of Jesus. And that you find the happy moments that are there in the midst of whatever heartache, sorrow, and stresses you face.
Lots of love, grace, and peace,