Thursday, September 29, 2011

Last week I wrote an article about ways to transfer carefree bohemian style to a professional workplace, and Ina over at published it as a guest post!

Here's a quote from the article:
"In the truest sense of the word, those who are bohemian are those who embrace and enjoy life. The bohemian look is about freedom, art, and beauty. If you can’t wear your hand crocheted sweater to work, then make sure that you take at least one moment to sit down by a river and sketch (regardless of your artistic ability), lock yourself in your bedroom and sing full voiced to your favorite songs, or spend a night with your closest friends drinking wine, laughing until you cry, and eating great food."
Check out the full article here. I'm loving this freelance writing thing, and will be trying to post more original posts about fashion, etc., on my own blog in the coming weeks.

I love that my blog is refining myself and I'm kind of figuring out what I want it to be exactly. I think I'm going to start developing "things" that I do on my blog - like the monthly challenges, thrift store shopping, etc. Any other ideas that have been fun or successful for you and your blog sense?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Of Senses and Sacrifices

I am currently reading through the Book of Leviticus with one of my high school girls, and I have to say that I am really excited as I haven't read that book since high school. When Clara and I read Genesis and Exodus together, the questions we answered were analytical (who are the main characters, what happens, etc.) whereas the questions we are answering for Leviticus make frequent connections to the New Testament and are asking us to contextualize the passages. I thought this was a better way to go since Clara has never read the Book of Leviticus and I didn't want her to get scared by it. There's so much beauty and meaning that I would hate for her to miss!

Little did I expect how challenging I would find answering my own questions to be. Leviticus 2 discusses the grain offering, and like everything else in the book, does so with abundant detail. One of the discussion questions was "why is it significant for grain to be used in the offering?" Pretty simple, right?

I started thinking about grain - everything grain is used for, the way it tastes, the way it smells, etc. I reread the passage and the description of the offering came alive. What I saw was that all five senses were being engaged with this sacrifice: you SEE the grain being prepared, you SMELL the grain as it is mixed with incense and olive oil, you FEEL the grain as you bake it either in the oven or in a pan, you HEAR the sounds as you and then the priest prepare the offering, and finally you TASTE the offering as the aromas fill the air. I think Aaron and his sons were actually the only people who could eat the offering, right?

It struck me that this sacrifice and all other sacrifices described engaged all the senses in such a dynamic way. Why is there the need for that? As I wrote in my journal I started thinking about sin - how no act of sin is tied to an action that then dies. It spreads out and impacts other people, often in ways that I and others fail to realize. It can sometimes be all consuming and all encompassing. Maybe the reason sacrifice is so sensory is because the magnitude and the impact of sin is communicated this way. Maybe it's God saying "You thought that sin was just about the act of greed/pride/lust/anger, but by having this sacrifice touch each of your senses, I am showing you how much sin impacts your heart and others. I'm also reminding you of how deep and wide my love and grace is."

I'm not too sure is as clear as it was in my head. What really got me going was thinking about the biggest sacrifices I've made in my life and the way they do seem to require my whole self, all five senses. I can SEE the way my decisions impact others. I can FEEL the way sacrificing is painful but necessary. I can HEAR God as sacrifice makes my heart more tuned to his voice. I can SMELL the pleasing aroma that I am created to be and I can TASTE joy as I live with passion.

What do you think? Is there a link between the senses and sacrifice?

Friday, September 23, 2011

The 8 Pound Slump

I lost 25 lbs my senior year of college - I think I am one of the few people who can say they weighed less when they graduated from college than when they first started. Immediately after graduation I went on a 2 1/2 week trip to the Dominican Republic and the diet of fried plaintains, beans, rice, incredibly dense apple pancakes, and more caused me to gain a lot of it back - and I never lost it again. Since then I've gained all 25 lbs back (and some months a little more).

What I've noticed about my weight loss journey is that I lose anywhere between 7-9 lbs, I get excited, and then I get discouraged because I realize how much further I have to go. So, this time around I'm trying to not look at the mega finish line and simply concentrate on 5 lbs at a time, but right now I'm in the 8 lb slump. To try to break myself out of my typical slump, I am trying to concentrate on my non scale victories that have been achieved over the past 2 1/2 months.

1. My cargo pants are almost too big to wear, even with a belt.
2. My cheeks (on my face) have contours again!
3. My dimples (on my face) are more prominent.
4. I've started running again and will be running 5 miles on Sunday.
5. I signed up for the winter pineapple classic with a friend, which should be a blast.
6. I have been drinking a ton of water.
7. My vegetable consumption is through the roof.

So, there we go. I have felt my motivation slipping this week, but hopefully my 3 mile run tomorrow, the 5 mile run on Sunday, and the eating well this weekend will bump me out of my 8 lb slump and into the land of the 10 lb victory lap.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September Goal: Visiting a Place I've Never Been, Part 1

Over Labor Day weekend Jaelithe, Rachel, and I went to Bellingham to visit Maggie's apartment and see where she is setting up shop. While I've been to Bellingham before there were a few spots we visited that I had never been to before. The day started at church with Rachel, and then doing my best "I'm so confident I don't even care that the guy I had a crush on is sitting at church with another girl" impression while talking to some friends after the service was over. From there we went to my house where Jaelithe loaded her stuff into Rachel's car and the sounds of my Bellingham mix CD's and the kind of road trip conversations that only girls can have filled the vehicle.

We spent the afternoon going on a REALLY long walk in Bellingham in very in appropriate footwear. Jaelithe got the worst of it as evidenced by the huge blisters on her feet the next day. We stopped at a gorgeous park, talked some more, ate pretty good pizza (it's no Pagliacci!), had weird conversations with a very drunk man at the Bellingham bus stop, walked a little more, ate ice cream, and played cards.

The weirdest part was by far leaving Maggie's house the next day. I realized that we were all driving to Seattle where we lived, and that Maggie was not coming with us because she didn't live there anymore. Granted, not too much has changed! I've seen Maggie once a week since she's moved, which is more than I see some of my other friends that still live in Seattle. But, it feels like this huge sign of adulthood and growing up. Jaelithe got married, Rachel just started a new job, Maggie moved to Bellingham, and I...

...and I might be going back to school to get my Masters of Divinity starting in the fall. But more on that later...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What do I want?

Back in the spring I helped teach a class at my church about our gifting within the body of Christ - how our spiritual gifts, personality, experiences and more make us who we are. One of the weeks I led was about our passions and our desires and how they are a useful indicator of how God made us. I had the class do several exercises where they wrote down gut reactions to prompts to try and uncover what they really wanted and what they really felt about a variety of topics.

When I taught this class I sat with a piece of paper and a pen and asked myself - "Suzanne, what are your deep wants?".

I couldn't list a single one.

A couple weeks ago Maggie asked me flat out if I wanted to date or if I wanted to be single.

I wasn't able to answer her.

Two nights ago I lay in bed trying to get to sleep and in a moment of transparent prayer told God that I was going to unabashedly, unashamedly, ask him for everything I wanted.

I wasn't able to ask for anything.

Of course there are things I want for others: I want my mom to meet a wonderful man to be her partner the rest of her days, I want my little brother to be introduced to a great Christian friend in New York, I want Maggie to be successful in Bellingham. I just can't ask for those same things for myself. Often when people ask how they can pray for me, I don't know what to say. I know there is such a thing as contentment, but I'm not certain if I'm experiencing contentment or if I am completely dulled to what I want.

Maybe I am content! Maybe my soul is deeply satisfied! But when faced with a point blank question about what I want, shouldn't I have an answer? Oh, Lord, what do I want?