Monday, January 13, 2014

See the World

A lot of people are spending time right now making resolutions and deciding how they want to change their life.

I love that about January.  It feels like everyone gets a second chance and endless hope.

If 2013 was not perfect, this is your chance to start over.  If you had some bad days this is your chance to put it behind you and begin again.

New year. New life. Fresh start.

I was thinking about this yesterday.  Some of my friends were talking and writing about their "word" for the year.  I love this thought.  A word that describes your dreams, goals and direction for the year.

This year though...I don't want a word. I want a phrase...

A few days ago I was at work.  I got to work at 11 a.m. and was working a double shift.  Double shifts at a restaurant can be brutal.  They are draining and tough, but hopefully busy so it will feel as though the day is moving by quickly.

A friend arrived at 6 p.m. for his shift and asked me if I saw the sky.

"What?  The sky? I've been inside working all day."

"Tiff! You have to see this! It's amazing!"

We started walking towards the door to look at the sky.

"Wait 'til you see the palette of colors. It's just so-"

I cut him off mid-sentence, "Only you would use 'palette of colors' to describe what the sky looks like.  You're such an artist."

We had stepped outside and in an instant I was amazed at the beauty in the sky. So many colors blended effortlessly into each other.  Orange, pink, yellow, blue, gray, light purple.  A beautiful horizontal design connecting them together.

I felt like I was looking at a wonderful secret.

We walked towards the front door of the restaurant and then turned around to look at the sky one more time before it was gone.

While we were standing there a lady walked out of the restaurant. She looked up and exclaimed "Oh my God!"

My friend smiled at her and responded, "I know, isn't the sky amazing?"

She gave us a strange look as she walked away and said, "It got so much colder while we were inside."

And that is life.

Some people will walk through life complaining about the cold and miss the beautiful moments right in front of them.

I don't want that to be my life.  I want to choose to see the world around me and all it's beauty.

I only have one life, and I want to live it on purpose.

This year I want to see the world...everyday.  

Take a minute.  Look around.  

See the world.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pride and Prejudice


In 2005 I lived in Thailand, volunteering at an orphanage.  In the town of Khon Kaen it was very hard to find English books...well, anything in English was hard to find for that matter!  

One day in a tiny bookstore, while looking through stacks of books, I found a delightful paperback copy of Pride and Prejudice.  I was so excited!  Not only did I finally find an English book to read, I had just purchased my very first copy of Pride and Prejudice.  I was in a state of complete joy and happiness. 

Years later, while living in a small town outside of Chicago, some friends were over my apartment, when someone quoted Miss Austen incorrectly!  My friend Bailey knew the correct quote and stated that if she had a copy of Pride and Prejudice she would prove it.  So I went to my bookshelf and pulled out my copy.  

We laughed as she looked at my tiny copy of the book.  "Where in the world did you find this?  This is not adequate at all."

Months later when I moved to North Carolina, on the day I was all packed up and ready to pull out of town, Bailey handed me a gift.  

A beautiful, hardback copy of Pride and Prejudice that was published in 1963.  It came with a letter telling me that since my copy of this wonderful book just wouldn't do she decided to give me hers.  

Tears stung my eyes at her thoughtful gesture. 

This past weekend I was in a store, window shopping.  I wasn't expecting to buy anything, just having fun going from shop to shop.  I wandered into a store, and on display were some beautiful books, they were hardback with cute little dust jackets in different patterns.  Mostly florals and prints, all ready for spring.  

I glanced at the top cover and was completely surprised to discover it was a copy of Pride and Prejudice!  I bought it and returned home thinking, “Did I really just buy this book because it's cute?” 

But the answer is no...I didn't buy it because it's cute.  

I bought it because for some reason holding a copy of Pride and Prejudice make me feel like I'm home. 

A familiar story, with words that bring comfort to my heart.  Personal connections to the book from places I've lived all over the world.  Memories of happy times and friends so dear.

A good book is more than it seems.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Snow

Snow makes me think of peace. 

In a world that is constantly moving fast and changing without notice, words hurting sometimes and disappointment reigning, everything slows down when it snows.  The world is calmed.  People look out windows and smile.  Families home from work and school, fires are made in fireplaces and the craziness of our busy schedules put on hold as the world is covered in a soft blanket of white.

When snow falls the world outside feels quiet.  Like it’s sleeping. 

I love the crunch of boots on the snow underneath and my white breath hanging in the air, dancing.  While it snowed this winter I usually found myself indoors, working, but even the thought that snow was falling outside put me in a good mood.  I couldn’t wait to sit down with a cozy blanket, sip hot coffee and watch the snowflakes fall, lost in my thoughts.  I was also antsy to put on my winter boots and march out into the snow like a little kid.

A lot of people think I’m crazy for loving cold weather and snow, but it reminds me of growing up in Cleveland.  It takes me back to my childhood, building forts filled with snowballs, sledding on hills so steep, and using my imagination to create snowmen that would catch the eye of anyone passing by.

Snow. 

Little drops of white slowly falling above.  Making patterns and designs on store windows.  Turning trees into beautiful winter works of art, a mysterious new wonderland waiting to be explored. 

A lovely dance between the sky and the earth. 

I love snow.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Beloved

Linking up with Lisa-Jo for another Five Minute Friday post.  I love these posts!  She gives one word and we set a timer and write for 5 minutes.  No edits, just words from the soul.

Todays word:  Beloved.

Ready, Set. Go.

Bare feet.  Dark hair.  Beautiful eyes.

Bare feet running on grass, jumping over bushes, sliding on tile sidewalks.

Little boys with their shaved heads, Little girls with their dark hair up in several pony tails, adding little bows and clips.

Eyes that laugh.  Eyes that feel hurt.  Eyes that see where they are and wonder if they are loved.  Eyes that cry.  Eyes that love.

I wanted to scoop them up and tell them "You are loved!  You are so important!  I am proud of you!  I know you will do great things one day!  Don't give up, little one, you are LOVED!"

Though we didn't speak the same language, we did speak the same language.  The language of the heart.  With hugs and smiles and I scooped them up and tickled them until they couldn't help but explode with laughter.  Played games and held hands.  Chalk drawings on cement and dancing in the moonlight.

My feet bare, just like theirs.

My dark hair braided and up in lots of little ponytails, just like theirs.

My eyes shining with smiles and laughter, tears and hope.  Eyes that look where I am and wonder if I am wanted and loved.

That's when I feel Him bend low to scoop me up and tell me "You are loved!  You are so important!  I am proud of you!  I know you will do great things one day!  Don't give up, little one, you are LOVED!"

Stop.

Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope you take 5 minutes to write today, too.

-Tiff


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Finding Balance

Just as spring, summer, fall and winter all come and go, so do the seasons in our lives.  Sometimes we take on the adventures of life at a crazy, fast pace.  There are other times when our routine is more relaxed.  But no matter what season of life we are in, each day requires balance.  This, I am discovering, is easier said than done.

Currently I am in the crazy, fast paced season of my life.  Two jobs, school, and family are claiming my time and making me long for the days when I knew what it was like to sleep in.  Although it can be hectic at times I'm certainly enjoying the adventure it brings.  It's tough trying to manage a schedule and make time to fit everything in.  There are a few things I do in this crazy season to help maintain balance.

The biggest life saver to me is writing everything down.  All appointments are written on my calendar and all tasks are written on a list.  To help my calendar stay organized I use different colors for my jobs, school and personal appointments.  It helps a lot!  I love making lists.  Writing down everything that needs to get done in the day is a good motivation to actually do it!  I love the feeling of crossing something off my list after finishing a task.  Even small things go on my list, and when looking back at the end of a long day I can feel a sense of accomplishment for what has been achieved.
  
I also think that it is important to schedule time for a little break.  Even 5 or 10 minutes helps clear my mind and keeps me refreshed when I have so much going on.  It could be a quick drink at Starbucks, a walk outside in the fresh air, or sitting down to read or work on something that's just for fun.  But the most important thing is to make sure that although I'm busy I don't neglect the relationships in my life with the people who are important to me. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Bare

Welcome to Five Minute Friday.  Where we sit down and write for five minutes.  There is only one rule:  No edits! :) Write and let it be.

Today's prompt:  Bare.

Ready. Set. Go.

Sometimes writing is like therapy.  It's necessary and healing and calming.  Other times it's like baring you soul to the world and standing helpless and afraid as they judge you.

I bare my soul with my mouth and with my actions, but I'm affected much more when I bare myself with words in print.  When the words are spoken and the actions made, it then becomes a memory, shared only with those involved.  When the words are on paper, shared and left for all to see, it becomes a courageous thing.

And though sometimes it's scary and unsure, there are beautiful times when words left with ink encourage and inspire.  That is my wish as I write.  That  each sentence, word and letter will bring life and lift up those that read it.

Stop.

Your turn!  Write for 5 minutes and link up with Lisa-Jo.
Hugs to you,
Tiff

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

On Skinny Jeans, Daughters and Singleness

I read a post on Lisa-Jo's Blog...and it spoke to my heart tremendously.  Sometimes you just need to hear someone say that they are in the same place as you.  You aren't alone.  You're not weird.  Your place in life is normal.  God knows where you are and loves you just the same. 

I read this post by Lisa-Jo's friend Hillary and it is a must-read!  So, click on the link and hop over to the Gypsy Mama's blog and read about skinny jeans, daughters and singleness.  You won't be sorry.  In fact, you'll probably spend a lot of time on her blog because it's so hard to stop reading :)  So...go now...click the link!