Tuesday, October 01, 2013

What I Loved in September

Quiet Space Friday: As part of my spiritual formation class, I did a half-day silent retreat at the Starrette Farm in Statesville, NC. It was great. We were encouraged to do whatever we felt moved to do, whatever our spirit needed - pray, read, draw, anything - so I took a nap (strange at 10 a.m. on a Friday morning, but needed!), and then wandered around on the lovely grounds for awhile. In the quiet, watching the ripples of the lake, it felt like there was no human on earth who expected anything of me. I didn't even expect anything of myself. And that was perhaps the greatest blessing of the day. I also had the chance to lunch with the other folks who were there for rejuvenation. (For those of you in the area, this is such a worthwhile practice. It happens every second Friday of the month. Click here for more info.)

Rock got no reason, rock got no rhyme...: For those of you who missed this earth-shaking piece of news, 2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the classic film School of Rock. I loved it when I was 16 and I love it now. And I love that the entire cast reunited and put on an epic show in Austin. Let's just say that as these kids have grown, so has their talent. I've watched this video and this video (same performance, backstage angle) of their reunion performance a whole lot - and yes, I belt it with Tomika (a.k.a. Maryam Hassan) every time.

The "having it all" discussion comes down to earth, with baked goods: I loved Delia Ephron's September 7th NYT op-ed (adapted from her new book of essays) "You Can't Have it All, But You Can Have Cake." Partially because she describes pastries so deliciously and I want them all, but mainly because of this overarching thought: "To me, having it all - if one wants to define it at all - is the magical time when what you want and what you have match up." She goes on to name so many lovely, small moments in life where this can be true. "Having it all are moments in life when you suspend judgment. It's when I attain the elusive thing called peace of mind." In the midst of all the big clunky WE MUST HAVE IT ALL AND HAVING IT ALL IS BIG AND THE AMERICAN DREAM AND ACHIEVE ACHIEVE ACHIEVE!!!!!!! stuff, it is such a breath of fresh air to read something that takes it down to a daily life, peace-in-the-moment level, something I strive to do in this space as well.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen: Speaking of cake... This is a fantastic memoir that my mom handed over to me at the beginning of the month. Quindlen, a longtime novelist, reporter and columnist for The New York Times and Newsweek, is in her early 60s, but everything she writes feels unbelievably relevant to me in my mid-twenties life. She's another kindred spirit who finds grace in the small things, and her stories are affirming, hopeful, honest, funny and so brilliantly worded. Fellow twenty-something women of all stripes, READ THIS BOOK. I wrote a blog post about it earlier in the month.

The 3rd annual Andrew Lovedale 5K race: Volunteering with Davidson-based nonprofit Access to Success for this race is always one of my favorite parts of the year. It brings together so many people from our community to benefit the wonderful children of Nigeria. Here's my reflection from this year's race.

A new term of memoir classes: I'm starting my second year of taking an evening memoir workshop once a month at the local university, and I love it. It always sparks my creativity and introduces me to new people and new stories. Plus, it makes me write more. This term, my class is all women, which should be a neat twist.

Lovely weekends: September was chock-full of trips, family visits, time with friends, time outside in the gorgeous fall weather, time to relax... Every single weekend had something special to it!

Braves baseball: NL East champs. #Thisiswhywechop. #Choptober. #allthehashtags. But seriously! I love my home team. Also, this cover of "Blurred Lines" is far superior to the original.

A conversation with college students: I went back to my alma mater to speak with several senior students who are part of the same ministry internship program I did in 2009. Three of us alumni shared about our experiences during the program, senior year, and our vocational/life choices after graduation (heads up: I think I'm going to blog more about this sometime this month). It was great to recall my own stories and hear theirs, and to see their beaming faces as they process their time serving in churches around the world. Also, it reminded me that senior year of college is truly its own animal, such a special time. And I got to see the new worship space the college built over the summer - amazing!

Writing: I wrote a lot in September, including several pieces for the blog. Apart from the posts I've shared above, I covered a moment of faith (including a guest post prayer from my dad), 9/11 twelve years later, and a creative piece on where I come from - linked up with the women of SheLoves magazine. This last one got a great response, and I'd encourage all of you to try the prompt! There is no right or wrong way to write these little details and memories from your life. And it's all sacred.

Exciting news...: So this month, there are 11 items on this typically-10 item list. That's because I get to tell you that my sweet boyfriend and I got engaged a few days ago! We're happy, excited and overwhelmed by all the love that has come our way so far. Not gonna lie, life-sharer that I am, it still feels a tad strange to be sharing this personal news in such a public forum as cyberspace - I am an introvert at heart after all. But this is a big joy and an adventure, and I don't tend to shy away from writing about joy and adventures. So yay!

(Side note: If you like the outdoors, gorgeous scenery, and pretending you're the von Trapp family hiking their way to safety in Switzerland, do yourself a favor and go to the Roan Highlands. If you don't like these things, go anyway. I promise, you'll find something to like.)

**Again, I've linked up with blogger Leigh Kramer for this monthly roundup!


Anonymous said...

Best post ever. Happy for you and Sean!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the engagement!