July 20, 2016

Currently: American Edition Part V

So I've had a lot to say for awhile, but every time I open my blog to write something...everything freezes (referring to me, not the computer...thankfully). I want to blog more. I want to share more about what's going on with my life. I want to write. But I get so stuck. Maybe now that I'm home for a bit, I'll have a little more time to process and think through all of these things that I want to share. To ease back into the blogosphere, I'll give you yet another Currently post. Enjoy.  

Reading: What am I NOT reading? That'd be a better question. Sunday morning, Jessica and I spent a few hours at Barnes and Noble in Bourbonnais (I was there for the Compassion Conference, which I need to blog about too!). Let me tell you, I had forgotten how much I LOVE bookstores. I could spend hours and hours looking around and perusing through each section. I definitely need a few more bookstore visits before I return to Romania. 

As you'll see in the photo, I collected a nice stack of books while at Barnes. I started reading a few that I've had my eye on for awhile...and I was hooked. Now, this is troublesome because books are flippin' expensive. When I got home, I ended up looking a bunch of these titles up on my library's website. I have six books on hold! Update: four of them have arrived! I know you care about these small details :) 

A few that I'd like to highlight...

1. When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor...and Yourself by Steve Corbett
Steve was supposed to be one of the speakers at the Compassion Conference, but he ended up not being able to attend due to health issues. However, the person who spoke in his place was delightful, and shared so much good info related to this topic, all while referencing the book of course. I ended up going to both of his sessions and scribbling down lots and lots and lots of notes. I haven't finished the book yet, but here is one of the quotes that really grabs me...
By showing low-income people through our words, our actions, and most importantly our ears that they are people with unique gifts and abilities, we can be part of helping them to recover their sense of dignity, even as we recover from our sense of pride. 
2. Looking for Lovely: Collecting the Moments that Matter by Annie Downs 
I've been familiar with Annie's writing for awhile, but never picked up one of her books. Let me tell ya, I should've picked one up sooner. I started reading this one at Barnes and knew I had to buy it (on Amazon though...much cheaper). It's one of those books where I find myself nodding and saying "yes, that's it!" while I read. I try to avoid buying books these days, but when I can't resist the urge to underline, then I know I have to buy it. A quote about the book from Goodreads...
In Looking for Lovely, Annie F. Downs shares personal stories, biblical truth, and examples of how others have courageously walked the path God paved for their lives by remembering all God had done, loving what was right in front of them, and seeing God in the everyday—whether that be nature, friends, or the face they see in the mirror.
3. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
This one was recommended during another session at the Compassion Conference. I seriously need to blog about this conference. Anyways, I started reading this one while I was at Barnes too, and it is SO DANG GOOD. Like Annie Downs, I've been familiar with Brené Brown for awhile and read some of her stuff (none of her books though). I've always enjoyed her insight, but when I found out that she's a social worker (from reading the intro of this book), I almost died. It all makes sense now. But seriously, even not having finished this book, I recommend it already. I'm not far enough in to give you a quote so I'm going to use another Goodreads line...
Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. 
Get out of here. Too good.

Chicken burrito bowl. White rice. Black beans. Mild and corn salsa. Guac. YES!
Eating: American food. I had Chipotle for the first time in 10.5 months and IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. I can't begin to explain my deep, deep love for Chipotle...so I'll stop there. I also made a Greek salad for lunch today, with spices from Greece (that I bought for my mom), and it was DIVINE. All of the veggies came from the farmer's market and it just tasted so dang fresh. I plan on having it for dinner tonight too...it's that good. Oh, and I can't cook so that's why I'm bragging so much about this salad. I'm proud of myself. Yes, I realize that all I had to do was cut the veggies and add some spices, but you seriously don't know how bad I am at cooking/preparing food. 

Thinking about: Oh man...I should just show you a photo of my to-do list. I'm thinking about A LOT of things. Here's a sneak peek...

  • All of the incredible information that I gained at the Compassion Conference (yes, mentioning it again)
  • Arranging times to spend with family and friends while I'm home
  • ROMANIA. My kids at Veritas. The teens from It Takes Courage and English Camp. My friends and coworkers. The scenery. 
  • Raising support for my return to Romania in the fall (yes, I'm going back...duh!)
  • The refugee situation, my experiences, my new friends...this one has been difficult to think about and process ever since I returned from my second trip to Greece

Seriously, this is a majorly abbreviated list, but these are the things taking up the most space in my brain these days. 

Listening: Lots of different things, as usual. Most days, my taste in music is all over the place. Acoustic, singer-songwriter stuff...pop hits...rap and hip-hop...worship music...it really depends on my mood. I will share one artist that I stumbled upon a few months ago. His name is Dermot Kennedy and his voice is absolutely incredible. He doesn't have a ton of music out there (YET, I hope), but I love love love what he does have out. I'm one of those people who finds a song and listens to it over and over and over again. I've done that with almost all of his songs. I'll share two of my favorites with you, a cover and an original. Enjoy.

Watching: I should just remove this one. You know the answer. Gilmore Girls. I just sat here trying to make up something else that I've been watching, but I literally haven't watched anything. Granted, I don't watch Gilmore Girls that often, but if and when I watch something, that's what I choose. I guess I've been watching The Today Show, despite the fact that it drives me crazy. 

LovingThe opportunities that life brings. I'm constantly amazed by various people and experiences that come my way. I don't always understand why things happen the way that they do, but I've come to realize that that's okay. I've become more of a "live in the moment" type of person (at least I like to think), which is kind of a big deal for a chronic over-analyzer :)

I first saw the "Currently" feature on Sometimes Sweet, which is one my absolute favorite blogs. Just giving credit where credit is due.