August

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Happy August! And how did it get to be August?

Anyone??

I’ve decided August is the strangest of summer months because in California, it’s usually the hottest, so by my standard- the most summery. However, every year September manages to creep fall in early with its back-to-school commercials and fall clothing lines. Did you know I literally could not find a bathing suit to buy the other day? All sold out. Something is wrong with the world when you can’t buy a bikini in the middle of summer.

But that’s the way we are.

We are always looking ahead, preparing for what’s next, attempting to control tomorrow. I suppose this isn’t always a bad thing, except that lately I’ve been working on enjoying the here and soaking up the now.

Last week I found myself in three conversations that I thought related. They all boiled down to the same thing:

She wants A.

Without A she is stuck in B.

How does she get A or at least move on to C as soon as possible?!

As I sat listening, I thought about my own version of this equation. For me, it involves church. In December I left a wonderful church community. (Yes, I’m annoyed I’m perpetuating the Christian over-use of the word,..but it is helpful)  I had friends I connected with, a part to play, and gracious people a stage ahead of my own willing to invest in me.

And I miss it.

While visiting these people over the weekend I experienced that ache. You know, the one that says,  “Dangit! I want that back! Where can I find it again?  How can I recreate it right away?”

Thankfully, this line of thought didn’t get too out of hand because as I said, I’ve been working on this. Rather than focusing on A or hurrying to C, I’m getting better at asking myself what good or necessary thing is in the B.  Where my tendency has been to rush to get what I want, I now try and figure out why I’m in the now. What does God have for me in my have-not? What would I truly miss out on if I actually could skip ahead?

If you’ve ever swam in the ocean, you know it’s best to relax and go with the flow when the waves crash around you. Fighting them doesn’t help and they eventually pass. I’m finding this a helpful image for living in the now (while swimming in my new suit. Target had my back). No season lasts forever and there is something important in each one.

It’s August for a reason. September can wait.

What about you? What helps you live in the now?

 

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Moments

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Hello!

It’s been awhile..it’s been a busy while. Over the past month I’ve moved (yes, that’s twice in two months), had my car break down (don’t worry, it was on the way to a date, and it was just this minor issue with the motor giving out), and took a trip to Colorado, Mississippi, and Tennessee where I had a ball!

In the South I visited my friends Laura and Molly.  I cannot express how phenomenal these two were at hosting me on what they called, “The Southern Tour.”  Every day was a surprise. One morning, while in Oxford, Mississippi, Laura and I visited a charming bookstore called Square Books. In it I found a framed poem on the wall by Nadine Stair, written at the age of 85.

If I Had My Life to Live Over Again

If I had my life to live over again, I’d try to

make more mistakes next time. I would relax. I would

limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this

trip. I know of very few things I would take

seriously. I would take more trips. I would climb

more mountains, swim more rivers and watch more

sunsets. I would do more walking and looking. I would

eat more ice-cream and less beans. I would have more

actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones. You see, I

am one of those people who lives prophylactically and

sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments; and if I had to do it over

again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to

have nothing else. Just moments, one after another

instead of living so many years ahead each day. I

have been one of those people who never go anywhere

without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a gargle,

a raincoat, aspirin and a parachute.

If I had it to do over again, I would go places, do things and

travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over, I would start

barefooted earlier in the spring and stay that way

later in the fall. I would play hooky more, I

wouldn’t make such good grades except by accident. I

would ride on more merry-go-rounds. I’d pick more

daisies.

Here are a couple of my favorite moments from my trip:

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(Top left and right: Seeing Grace Potter at Red Rock with my friend Bri!

Bottom left: walking in Memphis. Bottom  right: Sun Studio)

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(Top left and right, bottom left: eating Southern food to the point where I couldn’t wear my pants anymore…that’s not a joke…I bought a new dress. Bottom right: with Laura and Molly seeing Billy Currington and Honky Tonkin’ (best I can tell, honky tonking is a verb for dancing to white people music with other white people)

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(I was absolutely taken by the porches in the South and could happily spend endless moments on them.)

All and all I LOVED the South and can’t wait to go back. The highlight of the trip was spending time with Bri, Laura, and Molly. I miss them dearly and wish they lived closer.

What’s been some of your favorite summer moments? I’d love to hear!

XOXO

Cindy

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Summer Brain

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I don’t know if it’s due to years of conditioning my brain to shut off during summer break, but I haven’t had a semi-interesting or intelligent thought in weeks. Anyone?? Every year, when the weather turns warm, I find myself outdoors, having fun, and feeling care free. This is a wonderful mental break for me, but not so ideal for my blog. I’ve had a few stern conversations with myself about “getting it together”, but in the end, I’ve decided to just let it go. Life is too short to worry about such things and summer moments are too splendid to pass up. For the next few months, I’ll post when I can and a lot of it will be what I’m up to. Which I’m not entirely convinced anyone besides my mom really cares about. But since it’s all I’ve got, it’s going up:) (newport harbor, mumford and sons concert, angels game, annette’s baby shower, tim and jenni’s marathon, backyard rambler)

I do love this summer poem. Be sure to read to the bottom.

Summer Day

by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
TELL ME, WHAT IS IT YOU PLAN TO DO
WITH YOUR ONE WILD AND PRECIOUS LIFE? 

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#Fitchthehomeless

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Hey!

If you haven’t caught #Fitchthehomeless, click here. My good friend Rachel has been working on Skid Row for years and has some insightful things to say in THIS RESPONSE. She shares a powerful reminder to always give dignity and honor to the people we are ministering to. For those of you who have been involved in serving, you know even with the best intentions, it can be all too easy to forget how our words and actions come across.

Well done, Rachel!

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A Good Woman is Hard to Find

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A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds.” (Prov 31:10 MSG) Or, in the NIV, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies”

I never thought too much about Proverbs 31 until my friend Aleica told me the story behind it. In the Hebrew, it is an alphabetical acrostic that Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, would have sung or recited to him. Each phrase is a character trait she wanted him to look for in a wife.

You can read this Description of a Good Woman here.

It’s interesting that God saw fit to save this ancient wisdom for us. He must still feel it’s important for men to look for these qualities, and for us as women to try and learn them. In addition to scripture, I’ve had the blessing of learning (well, attempting to learn) from my own mother. In honor of Mother’s Day, I’ve written the modern-day traits I’ve seen lived out by my own mom, following the order of Proverbs 31.

A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds.(vs.10)

My dad trusts her and she has made his life better in every way.  She never tries to hurt, shame, or take from him. (vs.11-12)

She has always worked hard: as a special ed teacher, a mom of four, a neighbor, a friend, a servant in the church. (vs.13)

She has traveled the world- from Egypt to Australia, Europe to Latin America.  She was sport to backpack on her honeymoon and had to hitchhike her way home after getting lost in the mountains. Who is she!? (vs.14)

She does not get up early. She’s a rebel like that. She stays up late and makes sure everything gets done.  She is never moody. Her peaceful and loving spirit is what keeps our home together. (vs.15)

She feeds anyone who crosses her doorstep. Growing up, she stretched out my dad’s salary to feed 3 growing boys, my dad, and me. She silently prepared thousands of breakfasts, packed our lunches, and we had a home cooked dinner around the table nearly every night of my life. I believe most of who I am today was shaped at that table. Today, she hosts 30 people every Tuesday for bible study without batting an eye. (vs.16-19)

She extends her hand to the poor, welcoming anyone and everyone  into our home and church. She knows the name of every neighbor living on her street (in Orange County I might add), and makes a point to walk over with baked goods on a regular basis. She often invites them to church, even when they’ve turned her down before. She gets the life story of our grocery checker before we pay the bill. This used to embarrass me. It’s only now that I am appropriately astounded at the rare and powerful gift she provides others and the security she has in Jesus that gives her the courage to do so. (vs.20)

When you shop with her, she will buy you what you want:) It’s awesome. (vs.21)

She made our clothes growing up. I’m ok that she only does this now upon special request. (vs.22)

She brings honor to my dad’s name. Good choice, dad. (vs.23)

“Strength and dignity are her clothing” (vs. 25) She is strong. She gave birth four times without pain meds before it was hip. More importantly, she will not make me feel bad if I one day do the opposite.

“She smiles at the future.” (vs 25) Well….mom is a BIG worrier….But, she trusts my dad 100% to provide and be there for us.

She is the most kind, patient, and sacrificial person that I know. (vs.26)

She works hard is not lazy. (vs. 27)

My siblings and I love her dearly. (vs.28)

In a culture obsessed with beauty, my mom wears hardly any makeup and never has. I tease her for it but deep down I know watching her wake up every day truly satisfied in who she is, just as God made her, has made a lasting impact on me and how I view my worth.

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” vs 30.

I love you, mom.

And to all you moms out there, for all the different ways you live Prov 31 out in your own way, I hope you feel loved and celebrated!

 

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Book Club: Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

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Yikes…is this long overdue? Yes. The answer is yes. It helps me feel less guilty to tell you that this past month was crazy… in good ways:) Found out my brother and his wife are having a baby girl!! I already love her. I can hardly wait to meet her and begin passing on the playbook for getting on her dad’s nerves.

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Started a new job that I love, book stuff, moved (went a lot better than last time),

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Everything came at once.  Needless to say, reading had to go on the back-burner a little. Whenever I did get the chance, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? was a welcomed distraction!

Before we get into it, and so I don’t lose anyone who didn’t read, our next fiction book will be my bff Heather’s favorite- House of Spirits by Isabele Allende. A warning, apparently it’s a little graphic and violent. It follows a family during the 1970’s Chilean Revolution.

 

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Overall, I LOVED it. I realize I’m going to have to hate a book sooner or later or you all won’t trust me. I can’t lie, and this one I did enjoy. For anyone interested in mental health, Seattle, Antarctica, Microsoft, or architecture, this book is for you! I found the hilariously honest windows into these worlds fascinating!

Team Bernadette?

Did you hate her or love her? I’ve heard both responses. I’m on her team. She was one of the most interesting and hysterical characters I’ve read in a very long time. Though sad, I appreciated the authentic look into a family with eccentric tendencies and how they are passed on. Bee, for example, was brilliant and noticed everything….except for where her mom was concerned. She had a loving blind spot for Bernadette that led her to be crazy at times. Best part? Am I wrong or did the author get you to identify and want to identify with Bernadette? She made crazy look good!

My Take-away:

Overall, the book reminded me to simply be honest and have real conversations when they need to be had. SO much calamity and pain would’ve been avoided had mom, dad, neighbor, child, ANYONE been upfront with the people involved. I won’t give away the ending, but even in the wrap-up, there were permanent consequences for the family given they all decided to keep pride, hold back, and communicate behind each others backs. I’ve tried to get better at this and find it’s always scary to be vulnerable and honest. In the end, at least for me, whenever I push myself to do so, I feel braver and more at peace.

What about you? What did you think?! About the need to create, outside impression of Christian culture, etc.??

 

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Winner!

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Dear Amber Mitchell,

Congratulations! You are the winner of 2 Mumford and Sons tickets. You had the most Olivemepost shares and I thank you for each one of them.

I’ll see you at the show!

xoxo

Cindy

PS…Please don’t be an internet stalker and cut me into a million pieces behind the porta potties…

PSS. It’s a thing. It could happen.

PSSS I’m kidding. I know you and you would never kill me. At least I don’t think… One time you did get very angry when I wouldn’t stop singing a certain song by Missy Elliot.

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Red Flag: Inappropriate Nickname

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a red flag. We are on the letter “I” and this was inspired by two stories from last week.

A few helpful facts.

I started a new job. I’ve decided not to say where so I can talk about people without getting in trouble. Somehow that sounded moral in my head and doesn’t exactly compute now. …Anyway.

All you need to know is it’s in an office that houses three different companies. There are lots of young professionals and it’s been really fun getting to know everyone. My co-worker, we will call her Lady K, has been an exceptionally good find while navigating my new surroundings.

Me: Guess who I met over the weekend? Aaron, he said he was a friend of yours.

Lady K: Mack Attack

Me: What is that?!

Lady K: It’s his nickname because he makes out with so many girls.

Me: Oh, good.

Following Thursday

Me: So what’s the story on Tom? (Works in the building next door. Wasn’t sure if he was my type but had a friend in mind)

Lady K: Who? Kissing Bandit?

Me: Serious?! …Is this going to be  a thing??

Lady K:  Well, he’s made out with three of the girls that work here already. You decide.

I’m not opposed to a good time, but when it is your reputation, it’s too much. Don’t guys know we talk?? A girl is likely to walk away when she hears he’s earned himself a frat boy nickname.  What’s the phrase “Don’t ___ where you eat?” …It’s real. Be careful out there:)

Don’t forget to join the launch contest for 2 tickets to Mumford. 2 days left!

**Disclaimer: Red flags are not always deal breakers.  They mean to serve as a point in which you should stop and ask yourself, “Does this signify a deeper problem?”  Red flags are also limited to things people choose to do, not things in which they have no control over.
(image Michele Scarpelinni) 
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Thanks for stopping by!  Isn’t it beautiful?! I can say that because I didn’t make it! (Check below to see who did)

As a thank you to my followers who have been with me this far, and as a way to meet some new ones, I’m giving away 2 free tickets to Mumford and Sons on June 2nd.  Just share, tweet, or pin to enter.  You have to be a follower to win! (Click any of the icons to the right, or at the bottom of the page to follow the blog, twitter, instagram, pinterest, or like on Facebook) CHEERS!!

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