Happy {Elvish} Halloween!

My theory is, you're never too old for dressing up. 

Happy Halloween!


I've been reading...
Notes from a Blue Bike, Tsh Oxenreider
So Good They Can't Ignore You, Cal Newport
Speak, Nish Weiseth

I've been watching...
The Killing (second season)
Parenthood (first season)

Fun outings at...
Wedding decoration party

I love seeing...
Pumpkins everywhere
Leaves changing color in all stages

What have you been up to lately?

Seeking to Understand

When someone believes differently than us, why is our first impulse to criticize rather than seeking to understand?

When I entered motherhood, I was filled with fear about not knowing what to do or about doing something wrong. Mothering can be full of judgments, ones that we heap on ourselves, ones that are put on us and ones we put on others. It's this underlying fear to ~ oh please ~ not be wrong. People begin asking questions that feel like a game of finding out which team you're on: Natural birth or epidural? Breast or bottle? Crib or family bed? Stay-at-home or work?

And suddenly you're on a side and that side feels crucial; as if your side will determine whether or not you're a good mom. Of course, no one wants to be a bad mom. So when we see others who are not on our "team", we criticize them for bad parenting.

We do this in every area of our life. Why did she take that job? Why did he cut his hair like that? What possessed them to buy a house in that area? What they chose was different than what we would've chosen so it feels wrong to us and often we equate wrong as a fact rather than an opinion. We think it is wrong rather than thinking it's simply different.

Seeking to understand each other's view is scary because it might cause us to doubt our own ideals. It puts a spotlight on how many choices we have and how many we've made. It makes it clear how many ways there are to do this life and that's terrifying because it feels like leaving ourselves open to failure.

But gripping our opinions so tightly that we don't leave room for another's thought is a terrible existence. It cuts off people we could learn from. I know, because I've been guilty of it.

What if, instead of jumping into criticsm, we sought first to understand? What if we made that our impulse? What if we reached out to see things from their eyes instead of assuming we know all there is to know?

I've have had friends love me through our differences but I've also been judged by others for my decisions; we all have. Feeling judged is yucky and pushes you away. It feels more tender to have someone love you through differences; that's magnetizing and draws you near. I want that to be my character; it's still a huge work in progress.

I still feel the pull of impulses to argue with someone and make them see my side. I still have those moments when I'm sure I know what that person meant by their comment. But I am learning to let go, not assume and walk in understanding. 

I want others to feel loved by me, understood by me and accepted as they are. I long for my first response to be seeking to understand. I'm not there yet, but I hope to be someday.

Why do you think we struggle with understanding?

Crooked River is a Must-Read!

To say that I've been dying for Crooked River to come out is the understatement of the year. I was thrilled to receive an advanced reader copy from Valerie this summer and could not put it down! I've been waiting to sing its praises ever since.

I am rarely surprised by a book but I was astounded by this one. 

I was swept away by the beauty of sisterhood and bravery between the two main characters. Two sisters, having survived their mother's death, are sent to live with a distant bee-keeping father who they've rarely seen. 

Within the first pages of the book, the girls come across a dead body floating in the river and must decide whether their father had anything to do with it. The suspense will keep you reading late into the night, while the tenderness between sisters will move you to tears.

I don't want to spoil anything about this delicious story, but I will say, it's a must-read! The writing, the story, the characters ~ oh my! Valerie Geary's storytelling is the stuff of magic. Crooked River is her breakout novel and I expect to read many more from this spellbinding author.

There is Much, Much More

Nature fascinates me. There's an intersection in our town where hundreds upon hundreds of birds congregate on wires and roofs. The reason this amazes me is because just a bit down the road there are no birds on wires, no sight of them anywhere.

It's as if they have an understanding that that's where they hang out or meet-up. And if you roll your windows down while waiting for the light to change, you can hear the intensity of them chattering to each other. Some fly in, while others fly off with their friends. It's a constant circulation of birds. It's like a bird coffee shop. There is a McDonald's at the intersection too, so maybe they're just waiting for a spare fry to drop on the ground. But nevertheless, I'm spellbound watching them at that light.

The photo above is something we found on a hike through the Colorado mountains. My kids found it and thought it looked a bit like a dragon's face, which made me love it.

I'm not really a camping type of girl, but even so, there has always been something about nature that calmed me. When I feel stressed, worked up or upset about something, stepping outdoors gives me relief. Just hearing the stillness of the air, the chatter of creatures or feeling the wind tickle my arm; there is something calming about it all.

It reminds me that I'm not all there is. There is much, much more.