Looking back and looking ahead

Looking back and looking ahead

In the 2013 movie “About Time,” the film’s lead, Tim, learns that all of the men in his family have had the ability to travel through time. He uses this ability to serve several purposes including an attempt to get a girlfriend. Tim learns various lessons about how to best use his ability, lessons about life, and lessons about happiness.

Tim eventually takes his father’s advise for the “key to happiness” — live each day just like anyone else, but go back a second time and notice all of the good things that filled his day.

In the end, however, Tim shares a lesson his dad had not learned — he went one step further than his dad. He says, “the truth is I now don’t travel back at all, not even for the day. I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.”

We are all particularly reflective this time of year. As midnight of January 1 approaches, we evaluate our year and look to what we hope the next year might hold for us. We don’t have the gift of time travel to change our day-to-day circumstances, or even have a second chance at noticing the joys and gifts of each day we are otherwise too distracted to notice. We can’t know what the next 365 days will hold for us, but we can try to live intentionally with each new day.

So my prayer for myself (and for us all) this year is that I may be more intentional with all the gifts God has given me, with each day, and with each moment. The year may not play out like I hope it will, but I pray that I will be intentional in noticing the numerous ways God answers prayers and shows his faithfulness in all things.


Would you like some guilt with that breakfast sandwich?

Would you like some guilt with that breakfast sandwich?

Would you like some guilt with that breakfast sandwich?

This might as well have been what the drive-thru employee at a popular restaurant asked me when I picked up my order one morning.

One day, I decided to get some breakfast from a restaurant I love.  I didn’t really need to be buying anything, but I wanted to treat myself that morning. So I pulled up to the drive-thru and placed my order. When I pulled up to the window and got my food, the employee told me that the person in front of me had paid for my order. I thought, “How exciting!” Who doesn’t like a surprise free meal? But then the employee gave a subtle look that implied people had been doing that all morning. Well, I proceeded to drive away, quickly feeling guilty about not continuing the chain of pay-it-forward breakfast payments.

It was hard for me to really enjoy my ‘breakfast of shame’, thinking about how the employee probably judged me for not “doing a good deed”.

We’ve all seen those stories about how hundreds of strangers have paid for each others meals in pay-it-forward style. It’s fun to see stories about people doing nice things for people they don’t even know. However, I recently saw an interesting article on Yahoo about the topic that really frustrated me. (When will I learn that nothing good comes from reading an article from the Yahoo front page? Well, that’s an article for another day.)

The title of the link read, “Ok, so who spoiled the Florida pay-it-forward?”

A Starbucks in Florida had reach 378 people who payed for each other’s drinks. However when it came to one woman, she said she only wanted to pay for her own drink. The writer of this article and many others criticized her for not paying for the next person’s drink like all the other people.

The Barista later told a reporter that he thought she didn’t understand the concept of paying it forward.

I have a few thoughts on this:

  1. When did acts of kindness become a competition? Essentially, they were trying to beat a previous record of people paying for each other’s drinks. It’s not always about doing something that people will see. The first person who paid for the drink did it because they genuinely wanted to do something nice for someone else, not because they felt pressured to or wanted to keep something going.
  2. Let’s be honest. If people are getting something from Starbucks, they’re most likely not suffering for money. 
  3. Sometimes people won’t acknowledge your “good deed” or may even try to reject it, but that shouldn’t stop us from ultimately extending kindness and love to one another.

Really, “pay-it-forward” acts are all about grace. It’s remembering that you have been given something you don’t deserve and doing the same for someone else.

Acts of kindness don’t always have to be big gestures. It’s all about doing something for someone else; showing kindness and love to another human – not always getting anything in return or even receiving any acknowledgment.

Dear future me…

Dear future me…

I did a little spring cleaning recently. That kind of cleaning where you pull everything out and purge. The kind of cleaning where it gets worse before it gets better.

Well, in the process of cleaning, I came across some old notes and journals. My journals usually end up being an eclectic collection of notes from church sermons, events, rants on frustrating days, quotes, and just general thoughts written down.

I came across a specific entry where I was writing about that day and how bad it was. I kind of laughed to myself because now that I’m more than a year a way from that day, the problem of that day was really insignificant and something I was able to recover from. As I went on, I saw the ups and downs of life; funny stories and good memories. I found myself laughing at the immaturity in my thoughts about things.

It’s fun to look back at old notes and look at how much I’ve grown and changed and what all God has brought be through. I have to constantly remind myself of God’s sovereignty in all things and that He is constant and good.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not of more value than they?”
– Matthew 6:25-26 (ESV)

This is such a wonderful piece of scripture and reminder of God’s faithfulness and love for us.

New Music

I always love it when friends, or anyone, share music they’ve discovered, or just what they’re currently enjoying. There’s really something wonderful about hearing a song for the first time that you love immediately. There’s something really special about that first listen. This is different for everyone. What may make me really excited may bore someone else, but that’s okay, and I think that’s what makes music so great. There’s different types of sounds, different styles, and most importantly: different types of people.

Anyway, all that to say there’s a song by husband and wife duo, Jenny & Tyler called “Skyline Hill”. They recently posted the music video for the song, and ever since then, I’ve been listening to the song all the time. It has such a simply beautiful sound that you can’t help but feel the emotion behind it.

I wanted to share it with  you, and I hope you enjoy it too.


Happy Fall!!

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”
– You’ve Got Mail!

Happy Fall, everyone! Even though the season doesn’t officially begin until next week, I’d like to say that it is officially here! School has started, college football season has begun, Pumpkin Spice Lates are back at Starbucks, and it’s almost socially appropriate to wear scarves again. I say this about scarves because in Texas, it could easily be well into October before we get any cool weather.  I would have to say that scarves are my favorite part of the changing seasons. I probably have more scarves than the average person. Once it’s cool enough, I wear a scarf most days of the week.

Last Saturday we had the first day of significantly nice weather since the spring. It felt a little bit like fall, and it was wonderful. I watched You’ve Got Mail, which is one of my favorite movies and always puts me in the mood for fall. If only we had a gorgeous fall here in Texas. I love living Texas, but it makes me really sad that we don’t get the vibrant colored leaves that people in other parts of the country get. Oh well, I’ll just have to settle for my pumpkin desserts and smells, and scarves.

Happy Fall!

Outrageous Laughter

Have you seen this video? It’s called “Don’t Be That Outrageous Laugher”.  My roommate can tell you that when I watched it, I died laughing. I laughed so hard I cried. It hurt so good. Who knows, maybe I’m the only one who thinks it’s funny, but I doubt that.

I think I love this because I’m pretty sure I look absolutely ridiculous when I just belly-laugh, but who doesn’t?

I also thought about those people who’s laugh is funnier than the actual joke. There’s a guy in one of my classes who has one of the loudest laughs I’ve ever heard. Any time he laughs, most of the class laughs. We laugh not because the joke was funny, but because his laugh is so outrageous. Which makes me wonder how this guy isn’t aware of how loud he is.

What are you? The Goose, The Black Lung, The Mute, The Tear Jerker, or The Hiss ‘N Shrug?
My most outrageous laughter definitely resembles The Goose, eventually turning into The Mute. Good stuff. Laughing is so great, and I love it when other people laugh. There’s nothing better than laughter that puts you in tears and makes you feel like you’re about to die.

I’m a bad blogger.

I’m a bad blogger.

Today didn’t start of so great. It was one of those days.  Fortunately it got better after I went to class and after I came home. It’s a 30 minute drive (total of about an hour), so it gave me the chance to relax a bit. Plus, it’s a really pretty day outside. So, I thought I’d come update a little bit. I’m really a bad blogger. I have so many things that I think of during the week to blog about, but it never actually reaches this blog. I currently have 5 saved drafts that I have started and not finished. That’s why I do a lot of lists of my favorite things. I think better in lists and it’s easy to write about things I like. I’m going to try to update about my spring break which was last week. Hopefully I will be able to get some pictures from Michele since I didn’t have my camera with me at all last week. (LAME!) Here’s a sneek peek of my spring break. This picture is from the Thursday night we went to downtown Fort Worth. This was one of the best spring breaks I’ve ever had. I didn’t go on a trip anywhere exciting, but this was one of the best spring breaks I have ever had. More on that later.

Okay so here’s my “Friday Favorites” ….. on Wednesday.

1. A good pair of blue jeans. This is seriously one of my favorite things ever. There’s just something about having a good pair of jeans that makes me feel good. I have this problem of wearing one pair of jeans over and over again (As in every day). It’s just that when I have a pair of jeans I like, why would I want to wear the others. I wish I could clone the one pair I like.  The problem with jeans is that just because you have two pairs of jeans that are the same style/brand/size does NOT mean they fit the same. I really hate shopping for jeans for this reason. I really don’t like shopping for clothes in general. I don’t care for trying on clothes and coming out with nothing. This makes successful shopping trips awesome! Ok, enough of my rant about jeans and clothes.

2. Laughter. I’ve put this on my list before, but laughter is just great. It’s not possible to not feel good when laughing.

3. Zephaniah 3:17

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

4. Encouragement. This could be a whole post in itself. In fact, it’s one of my unfinished drafts. Encouragement in any form is just great, but I especially love it through words. In fact words of affirmation is my love language. I really need to work on encouraging people more.

5. People who blog all the time and always seem to have something great to say. I wish I always had something exciting or interesting to write about.