The Story of My Life

A month before my 9th birthday, I received my first journal as a Christmas present from my aunt. I didn’t particularly like the cover (naked baby cherubs), but it started 20 years of journaling for me. At the time I was really into using mechanical pencils because it’s what my dad used. My journals generally last at least 2 years. For a long streak of years, a different aunt would buy me a new journal as a birthday gift.

The first entry in my first journal

The first entry in my first journal

As I felt myself shifting and growing throughout the years, I would start rushing to finish the last pages so I could begin a fresh journal. During high school and college, I journaled the most prolifically. During this period I was particularly committed to using gel pens and wouldn’t journal if I didn’t have one with which to write. I have to admit, looking back, those gel pens were often so sparkly and metallic it is pretty hard to read my entries!

When I realized that Jan 1, 2016 would mark 20 years of journaling, I was pretty amazed. It’s hard to believe I’ve been chronicling my life, thoughts, emotions, joys, and pains for 20 years. It’s been a cathartic way to dump out the hurts and pains of life, a permanent record. A way to look back and even when I doubted my memory (or others did), to be able to look back and say, “That really happened.”

It’s also been a time to highlight special events in my life and has often turned out to be my only record of the people I’ve met over the years. When you’re in the midst of life, it’s hard to imagine ever forgetting these people, but I’ve been amazed how fast some names have slipped out of my long term memory. When I was in my senior year of high school, I was able to secure an internship at the juvenile court as a file clerk (back when I planned to become a lawyer). This was because of a woman named Margaret, whom I met through a different avenue. Although I’ve forgotten her name at times, I haven’t forgotten how she advocated for me and went out of her way for a 17 year old girl.

My journals over the years

My journals over the years

I journal much more infrequently now. The reason is threefold. First, I have so much so say that sometimes I just give up and don’t write anything at all. Second, I married my best friend and so I usually tell him stuff instead of journaling it. Third, sometimes I’m just too tired and overwhelmed to put anything to paper. I did do a pretty good job journaling both my pregnancies, but I did it on the computer because I just couldn’t keep up on paper.

I’m almost done with the journal I’m working through now. The timing is appropriate. This year has been one of enormous change for me and my husband. I’ll be shopping for a new journal soon. I’m looking for something smaller than I usually do, so I won’t feel obligated to fill a large page. Just something smaller, maybe 4”x6”, to jot down a few sentences each day about what is going on. This new season deserves a new journal.

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Changing Lives

Today I wrote the last letter to my Compassion “child.” I have sponsored Kidist through Compassion International for the last seven years, and she graduated the program recently.

While writing this last letter, I found myself reflecting on what life has passed since I first signed on to sponsor Kidist. Seven years ago, I had just started college and planned on going to law school. In the seven years that have transpired, I switched majors, finished college, got married, moved to another state, and now I’m about to have a baby. That’s the short version.

My Compassion “child” was just a few years younger than me when I first started getting to know her. Her letters and pictures gave me a brief glimpse into another world, her world in Ethiopia. I can only try to imagine the trepidation she must be feeling as she sets off to go to college. Her world has been full of what must seem like insurmountable obstacles. I pray that she never loses hope.

In about two months, I will be embarking on the journey of motherhood. I am both excited and terrified. There will be both unimaginable joy and wrenching heartache. To think I can have one without the other would be naïve. I need for myself the same things I pray for Kidist—courage and perseverance. Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

The Story of How I Used to Be a Procrastinator

Hi. My name is Sarah. I used to be a procrastinator.

The problem is, I’m just a little afraid I’m relapsing. Summer seems to do this to me. Actually, heat seems to do this to me. By procrastinating, I mean those high school days when I waited until the last second (read: the bitter end) to write that 5 page essay that required research and a trip to the library. I guess somewhere between then and college I wised up a bit. I wrote an end-of-term book report the first week of school so that I could gloat while the other poor procrastinators whined about how they hadn’t written the paper. To some degree, I’ve turned into a “do it now” girl.

For example:

-If I’ve decided I want to rearrange my bedroom, I don’t ponder or choose a good time to do it. No, I decide to choose an 85 degree day when I’m already tired to get it done.

-If I want to make chocolate chip cookies, I don’t think, “Oh, I’ll wait till my next grocery trip and get the ingredients.” Oh no, this girl stops everything to run into Winco for sugar and chocolate chips.

-If I decide to work on a sewing project, but in the middle find that I don’t have the right color thread, I don’t wait till the next time I run errands. Oh no, everything stops so I can get in the car and go get the thread.

Summer, however, really puts a kink in my plans. For example, today I discovered I lacked the garlic I need for the soup I was making. Normally, I probably would have stopped, run into the store, and grabbed a head of garlic. But not today. It is just too hot. I keep thinking of all the things I should do, but I just don’t have the energy for.

Here’s a few of the things I’m avoiding (read: procrastinating):

-scrapbooking (and I love scrapbooking, but not in the heat)

-cleaning (please don’t come over, you might kick up tufts of cat hair)

-my sewing project (because I can’t stand the thought of hunching over the sewing machine in this heat)

-cleaning out the spare room (I never open the window in there. It’s hot. Enough said.)

What I’m doing instead:

-reading blogs…and the archives…years back

-watching Redbox movies

-reading a million books (maybe not a million, but come find me at Goodreads)

-checking facebook. Again. Oh wait, I would do that anyway.

-checking Rotten Tomatoes to see what movies are coming out

-making soup (because I couldn’t think of any better way to spend a hot day) 😉

So, at least as long as this heat lasts, it’s Return of the Procrastinator.

On Growing Up and Settling Down

“Settling down” almost seems like a bad word. Like once you start on that path, your life will lack adventure. Hubby and I spent last weekend at my parents’ lake house in Washington. Now that my three sisters are all well into their teen years, the house is filled with energy, excitement and giggling. It’s definitely fun to watch, but I found myself feeling tired very quickly. What has happened to me? Have I become boring?

When I was a little girl (around 8 yrs old), I remember one evening we had a babysitter come over. My sisters and I demanded that our babysitter play house with us, a pasttime that involved eating imaginary food and pretending to be an imaginary family. The sitter looked at us wistfully and said, “I can’t really play that anymore.” I was appalled. Horrified. What kind of jaded world was this where you forgot how to PLAY?  I promised myself that I would never get that way.

16 years later…I don’t “play” house. I live in a small, two bedroom apartment, and keeping it up is what I do with much of my time. And you know what? It’s actually fun. This is the “real thing.” I actually take joy in deep cleaning behind the oven (for the first time in 2 years).

I’ll end with this. As I’ve grown up and settled down, I’m finding it doesn’t take much to make me happy. It could be a really good sale on Lysol wipes, the smell of clean sheets on laundry day, or just knowing that someone could pull out my oven, look behind it, and find that it is spotless.

A Love Affair With Orange

For a long time, I felt that pink was my favorite color and “girly” was my decorating bent. When I was a little girl, I always imagined decorating my bedroom in a light, springy, lacy fashion with either pink or purple as the main color. When I attended college, I decided I had no knack for decorating at all, and thus succumbed to pinning Disney coloring book pages on the wall and stringing up bare 4×6 photos on a ribbon for display (sorry roommates!).

Then I got married. And had a little time on my hands. And read a few blogs. And learned a few things about myself. It all started with a blog called “How About Orange“. As the blog’s author, Jessica, shared her passion for all things orange, I found myself also falling in love with this color. I started out with an orange fabric panel.

Looks good? This is a very classy decorating project where I used packing tape to stick it to a random board.

I liked the fabric so much I made pillowcases out of it.

Then, this last spring my mom came for a visit and we did an orange, spray painting project for my kitchen.

My first adventure with Mod Podge resulted in this lovely orange tin (functional use yet to be determined).

Unfortunately, the Modge Podging of the tin resulted in the lid not fitting.

And finally, my sister brought me this adorable, little, orange pot.

Consider a little orange in your life. Maybe it’s the new black (yeah, I just made that up).