Thursday, October 20, 2016


Do you know that funny feeling when you start to notice the same thing popping up in various places? The car you wish you could buy, that one song you kind of didn't like at first, a book that unconnected contacts keep recommending to you??? I always wonder if it's all a big coincidence or if it's some sort of sign. Underneath that initial moment or surprise and recognition, I have a hope that there is some message or adventure awaiting me, inviting me, if only I could unravel it.

Lately this concept has surfaced seemingly everywhere--IDEATION. I first came across it as one of my top 5 strengths according to Gallup's Strengths Finder 2.0. I was underwhelmed. Is "ideation" even a real word? (I secretly despise words that are ripped from their proper part of speech and forced to be another. As Calvin and Hobbes say, "Verbing weirds language.") But as ideation has sprung up into my life in unexpected places, most recently as my MOPS group this morning, I have developed some affinity for it.

Gallup defines the strength of ideation as the fascination of ideas and the ability to take "the world we all know and turn it around so we can view from a strange but strangely enlightening angle." Essentially ideas are the ability to make connections and to create new patterns that were not obvious before, and in doing so to open up the possibility of even more ideas, connections and patterns. It's like the very old school computer game Minesweeper, when you click on one safe square of the grid, all of the adjacent safe squares also magically opened up. Those who lean into ideation are thrilled with the discovery of concepts and the generation of connections and just dreaming up some yummy variations on "what is now" and relishing in "what could be." BOOM! Gallup got me.

Remember this?!
And now the full circle--my enchantment with the recurring car/song/book/thing containing a mysterious significance in my life is a product of my proclivity towards ideation. And then concept of ideation itself was the thing that popped up everywhere and invited me to a discovery...of myself.

Creepy. And wonderful.

Just for the sake of ideation, for the little thrill of just launching my ideas into the world from my brain, here is a brief collection of ideas I have been nurturing recently:

1. Living each summer for a several weeks in a different culture and climate while my boys are growing up, so my Colorado boys could also grow up as ocean kids and Spanish speakers and museum hunters.
2. Becoming a portrait photographer on the side of being a SAHM, specializing in senior photos and head shots that have a distinctly artistic and editorial feel to them. Say photos that look more like SNL host promos and less like yearbook photos. (See below.)

Yep, kinda like this.

Not so much this...although the 80's kid in me loves this too.
3. Collecting and curating a spectacular Halloween display at our house inspired by vintage circuses, including beautiful burgundy and white striped fabric draped across our front porch to mimic a circus tent, as well as old fashioned carnival games, like rings tossed onto antique bowling pins, for the trick-or-treaters to stop and play as they peruse our neighborhood.

4. Developing a network of women in my neighborhood, and in particular moms of young kids, through a Facebook group where we could share parenting tips, hand-me-downs, make friends, and take turns hosting backyard happy hours on Friday nights.

5. Having a theme for my gifts to my friends and family for the whole year--books, or a pint of homemade ice cream especially made for each recipient, or something fancy from Whole Foods, like craft ketchup (haha, like the fanciest Dijon ketchups), that they would never buy themselves, or a Kiva loan or funny Kickstarter investment made in each person's honor.

So, there are a few of my little ideas. Please be kind to them! I know that they may never develop beyond being shared on this little list, and yet they are significant to me. My little creative babies. I would love to know what you think. Do any of my ideas spark ideas of your own??? Or is there anyone out there with the strength of Get-Yo-Business-Done that can help me to fully enact these ideas? Maybe we can pair our strengths together, make a connection.

P.S. The idea for this post was inspired by my friend Annie and her recent writing on her strengths, as well as my pastor Steve, who first introduced me to my strengths. Thanks, guys.

P.P.S. Ideation when I called it something else. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hot Dog Rule

I used to abide by the rule of only eating one hot dog a year. And then this happened:

Now, I abide by the rule of one hotdog a day. Yup. Life is too short and being a momma is too hard to only have one hotdog each year. What kind of crazy deprivation is that??? Torin loves hotdogs for lunch (easy protein!) and I often have one with him. But two hotdogs a day seems like too much sodium (and other questionable ingredients), right? Hence, the new rule for both momma and baby. Only one hotdog a day...any maybe not every single day. That seems about right. 

What silly personal rules do you have for yourself? And did they change once you became a momma?

P.S. I love THESE hotdogs. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015


To all my roommates past and present: I know that I can be terrible. I fold laundry but don't put it away. (That is until I wear everything in the stack and just have to do the laundry again.) I leave dishes in the sink way longer than appropriate. I only getting the urge to really clean when guests are imminent.

Many of the former roomies. They know stuff about me. Good thing we all love each other.  
The new roomies! Aren't they cute??? They are really stuck with me.  

I'm so very sorry.
But this book is opening my eyes! How I wish that I could have read it sooner:

The best part (so far!) is a theory on how people are wired in terms of motivation. Rubin uses two factors: internal motivation (personal goals and expectations that you set for yourself) and external motivation (goals, deadlines, expectations set upon you by others, such as your boss or your mom). Either we conform to these expectations, whether internal or external, or we resist them. The combinations of conforming and rebelling reveal four personality tendencies:

I recognize myself immediately. (Do you recognize yourself???) I am a CLASSIC obliger. To a T.

Rubin writes:

“Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet inner expectations. They’re motivated by external accountability; they wake up and think, “What must I do today?” Because Obligers excel at meeting external demands and deadlines, and go to great lengths to meet their responsibilities, they make terrific colleagues, family members, and friends...

(Aww, shucks. Thanks, Gretch.)

“Because Obligers resist inner expectations, it’s difficult for them to self-motivate—to work on a PhD thesis, to attend networking events, to get their car serviced. Obligers depend on external accountability, with consequences such as deadlines, late fees, or the fear of letting other people down. One Obliger wrote on my blog, “I don’t feel a sense of accountability to my calendar, just to the people associated with the appointments. If the entry is just ‘go for a jog’ I’m not likely to do it.” Another Obliger summarized: “Promises made to yourself can be broken. It’s the promises made to others that should never be broken.” Obligers need external accountability even for activities that they want to do. An Obliger told me, “I never made time to read, so I joined a book group where you’re really expected to read the book.”

(Excerpt From: Gretchen Rubin. “Better Than Before.” iBooks.

AHA! This is the insight that I needed: As an obliger, one way to stick to my personal expectations and goals is to create a structure with external accountability.

I have been doing this naturally for sometime now. For instance I have often asked Matt to get me a prize for sticking to my workout plan. (See here.) Or if I am inspired to do something to care for a friend, such as cook a meal after a baby is born, I take the leap and commit to my friend OUT LOUD way before I take other steps. With my commitment already spoken I am much more likely to follow through with my good intentions. (Or face lots of guilt. Sheesh.)

Hence, I am truly motivated to clean when guests are coming. They unknowingly become my external accountability system. So...standing dinner party at my house, guys? What do you stay???

Rubin has given me language for what I have already done instinctually. And a pretty, little tool for accomplishing my personal goals. Now I need to learn how to really use it to transform bad habits that continue to vex me.

I'm looking at you, laundry.

I would totally put the laundry away if Sarah Richardson designed my laundry room, right? Right??? (Image here) 
Want more about habits? Here's a in-depth review of Better Than Before.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Weddings

Can attending weddings be my hobby???

The view at Mike & Jen's wedding. First wedding of the season! (My own image)
It's not that I just love a good dinner party. (Which I do!) And it's not just that it's like seeing Pinterest come to life. (But seriously, check out my Pinterest board here. It's fantastic, if I do say so myself.)

It's that weddings call to something deeper for me.

Umm, I'm crying a little bit that I was not invited to this one.
For one, it's impossible not to reminisce about my own wedding and just be flooded with romance and nostalgia. I have a moment that I always look for when I'm attending a wedding now that I might not have noticed before I got married. I try to catch a glimpse of the bride and groom right after the exit the ceremony--the couple is experiencing a rush of joy and relief and the Holy Spirit that is rare and truly beautiful. Oh, if I could only bottle the feeling of that moment and take a sip each day!

This is the EXACT moment. I know you can't see much in the photo, but try to feel it. (My own image.)

Another rush of that feeling right here. (My image via the amazingly talented Tyler Jones.)
And the dancing! I declare that we should have many more events and moments where public dancing is an acceptable activity. Being able to celebrate the love of your friends by shaking it just feels so dang good! And then getting a chance to press close to your own love and sway under the twinkly lights is even better. (Listen up DJs. We all love "All the Single Ladies," and "Uptown Funk," but please make some room for some old-fashioned slow dances. Replace the chicken dance with a classic like "At Last," and we will all be very grateful.)

So THIS is what I mean, people. (Image found here.)
Finally, attending a wedding has the ability to call up that longing without a name. That longing  for the home we haven't yet found, for all that is wrong in the world to be made right. I believe that one day we will be done with the brokenness, pain, tragedy, and hate of this era and all arrive at the full realization of the Kingdom of God. (Maybe we will be greeted with craft cocktails in mason jars. Or goblets. I don't know.)

I imagine that day will have all of the anticipation of attending the most incredibly gorgeous wedding (of all time) as well as all of the relief and comfort of finally coming home after a really long trip.

Yeah, it will be goblets.
And we will then see Jesus face to face. (1 Cor 13)
I can hardly wait.

Found via Pinterest,  original source lost. Bummer.
That longing for the Kingdom is intoxicating to me. I too often disconnect from that feeling in my day-to-day life, but at a wedding it is as present to me as all the pretty details. It reminds the soul that love is on the way.

A pretty detail from Mike & Jen's wedding. (My own image.)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Create something beautiful

I stood before this installation in New Orleans stunned. People from all over this neighborhood and all over the world have come to fill in this sentence. "Before I die I want to..." And then they wash the chalk off the wall and it gets filled up again and again.

I stood there stunned. I couldn't put words to my own dreams.

And then it came. Before I die I want to CREATE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL. I think that is my deepest desire.

And yet. Yet. Yet. I struggle.

I spend hours consuming. Pinterest. Shopping. Reading. Watching. Absorbing. Escaping. Anything but creating. Why do I do this???

I don't know what the beautiful thing is yet. Maybe it is this space, my offering to the community of creators and writers and thinkers. Or maybe it is one of the many little seedlings of ideas that sprout in me and haven't yet been birthed into reality. I keep dreaming of my little ambition to make pillows. Maybe like these, but somehow different and my own.

Or maybe my beautiful creation is something even yet to come. I hear a little voice that says my beautiful something is a life well lived. Or a marriage nurtured over time. Or every day in my classroom. The moments and conversations and prayers and rites of passage that I journey with my students. Or a baby and a family that one day might be.

Is that it?...Yes! And...I still think there is MORE. The something beautiful that I create hasn't sprouted yet. Or hasn't found me yet. But I wait and I yearn. It's in me yet.

(Credits: Artist of the "Before I Die" project is Candy Chang. Pillows made by The Print Society and sold at Follow, in Sydney, Australia.)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hello Again & Pics of 2012

After a little 12 month break, I am back. Hello, internet!

I read a little piece on choosing a one-word theme for the year and was inspired to do the same. After tumbling a bunch of words around in my mind (create, grace, hope???), the one that stuck is...


I love that it is a verb that demands some attention on my part. It's not about perfection. It's not necessarily about artistic endeavors. It's about ideas and action. The rest of the word's significance I hope will unfold over the course of the year.

The first endeavor of MAKE 2013, is to share a bit of a picture review of 2012. These pics represent some of the best photos and memories of the year.

Here's to 2012. Onward.

Ahhh, friendship. Kellen's birthday. Was that a dark chocolate, salted caramel cake???  

Our 3rd anniversary in Feburary. In a crazy snowstorm. At the Melting Pot. (Thanks, TK!) 

Just the best. This little dog has totally made a home in my heart. 

 Most EPIC day ever...and this is the only real photo I have. Twenty-seven inches of fresh powder (yes, I said 27!!!) in Steamboat Springs. Snowboarding heaven.

 Two beauties. Es, Ellen, Kellen, and Matt make March birthday month!

A neighborhood parade to honor Sam, our local boy home from deployment.

 Beer and crawfish in New Orleans. First time food for me. Just a little bit scary!

 Matt and Judah making each other laugh. 

 The year of the photo booth. At Sev's first birthday.

 Good morning, Pepper!

 A bowling alley, sparklers, and 100's of photos later, my senior videos were done. Thanks to my long-enduring photographer, Matt.

Congrats, Wes! You did it! 

 Senior video detail.

 Oh, the class of 2012! The best. I already miss these ones.

The honest one, our pastor Steve. 

To be continued...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

NYE...Photo Bombed!

Here are my lovelies from the New Year's Eve party at E & J's house. (I am on the far right.) As you can see we had a bit of trouble getting focused -- both in terms of our own ability to focus as well as the camera's!

And then this happened. For about 6 shots. And the funniest part? We had no idea!

Despite my critique of NYE in general, I had a most excellent time dancing out 2011 and dancing in 2012.
Happy New Year!