Take a Walk

I find walking quite enjoyable. There’s something wonderful about taking in fresh air while putting a little movement into your day. While some people are all about high intensity workouts at the gym, others appreciate the simple act of walking as their form of exercise. Although I must admit I like both levels of intensity, there’s something calming about taking a walk that cannot be achieved while inside.

When I lived in China, I walked several miles each day. The combination of walking to and from my daily activities and then adding in some exercise kept me active. Now that I’m back in American suburbia, I don’t find as many chances to walk in my daily life. This is due to a combination of circumstances along with my own laziness and conformity to societal norms. Read more

Lessons on Thoughtfulness from a 9-Year-Old

Thoughtfulness LessonsA couple nights ago, I was taking care of my 9-year-old brother, Markus, while my parents were out of town for the evening. I haven’t written a whole lot about my family on this blog in the past, but they are truly very special to me. One of the best parts about living back in my hometown again is getting to spend time with my brother. His faithfulness and love challenges me.

After a full day of being patient while I ran errands, I told him I’d reward him (and me!) with ice cream. I decided to stop in our local Hy-Vee grocery store to pick some up. After gathering the ice cream and checking out, we passed the floral section as we were leaving. I didn’t think much of it as I always pass by without thought. Markus, however, had more intentional ideas.

“I’d like to get flowers for Mom sometime,” he said. 

“Oh yeah?” I replied.

“Yeah,” Markus said.

His comment about getting flowers for our mom made me a little emotional. My mom has been extremely busy and a little overwhelmed lately and I knew she would love the gesture. What a thoughtful brother I have! Read more

Take that Sabbath Already!

Take a SabbathI don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. I’m tired. I’m worn out. I need a break.

It’s kind of funny for me to say this. For the first 7 months of this school year, I had more than enough free time. I was actually tired of the free time and longed to be busier. Well, sometimes you get more than you ask for…

The past couple of months have been full of regular teaching, part-time jobs, new friendships, and other extracurricular activities. Instead of having the weekends free to lounge and do my own thing, I’ve had to work. At first it seemed wonderful to make extra money, but now I’m starting to weigh the pros and cons of doing extra work.

Oftentimes for my own health and well-being it isn’t worth it to become overly busy. When I’m busy, I am more tired and stressed. And, let’s face it. Stress doesn’t make me look pretty. HA! (but, really, it’s true!)  It also doesn’t make me feel good. Some people seem to have everything under control even in stressful situations. I used to think I could handle them, but I am now happy admit that I don’t do well with stress. Not only am I uglier, but my personality is uglier… I am not as optimistic or loving as I’d like to be. Read more

When It Stops Being All About You

You may have decided to make major life changes. You are on a path of personal betterment. You’re getting your life back on track. This is so good. It’s important to be in a place of peace and contentment with yourself. Whether you’ve been battling weight issues, anxiety, self discontentment or spiritual darkness, at the beginning it’s all about you. No matter your obstacles, there’s a point of brokenness where it becomes nearly impossible to see your challenges in light of the bigger picture.

There were times when my well-meaning faithful friends tried to tell me that none of my issues mattered in light of eternity. Logically, I knew this, but I wouldn’t believe it. I was feeling that low. My faith in God’s perfect will was shaken. I couldn’t understand why I was struggling to get out of bed in the morning, why I couldn’t just have clear skin, why men continued to break my heart, and so much more. At that point, had you told me there were people worse off than I, I would have just grown irritated instead of being grateful for all that was going right. Read more

33 Ways to Rock This Summer

Now that it’s June, I think it’s safe to say it’s summer! Sure, there are the official dates that signify a change in season, but as long as it’s warm outside and school is out (in America), it’s summer in my book!

I am so happy to see sunshine and nice weather. After experiencing the longest winter of my life, springtime and now summertime are being richly savored.

To make the most of this lovely season, I put together a list of ways to rock this summer. Check it out!

 33 Ways to Rock This Summer Read more