Gratitude is a Habit

A couple weeks ago, someone in my small group recommended practicing gratitude by naming something you’re thankful for three times a day. If it takes 21 days to make or break a habit (that’s what I hear), then 21 days of this practice just might incorporate gratitude into my daily thinking. I want to get to the point where I’m looking for things I’m thankful for, rather than only giving thanks when someone more gracious than me reminds me to do so.

So I revamped my chalkboard into a gratitude board and numbered it from 1-21. I didn’t make spaces for writing 3 things a day, so instead I’m just trying to fill up the space for each day. Some days I’ve done this, other days I haven’t. But it seems to be working, because I find myself thinking deeply, searching for things to give thanks for.

Some of the highlights include:

1. Student Teaching

I’m so thankful to have had a great student teaching placement and cooperating teacher this semester. I learned more than I expected from working with all hard of hearing students, a group that we don’t talk about enough in Deaf Education. We tend to focus on Deaf v. Hearing, overlooking everything in between. My cooperating teacher put together this photo album of pictures and notes from our sweet students!

From my oldest student…

… from my youngest student.

2. Great Trip to Florida

My little sister graduated and I got to visit my old college stomping grounds!

3. A job

Yes, I got a job teaching summer school at a school for the Deaf! No pictures yet… starts in July!

4. Leg healing

My battle wounds are healing quite nicely :)

How do you stay mindful of giving thanks? What are you thankful for today?

Linking up with Casey W. today

Art You Should Be Checking Out

I have 3 recommendations for you today:

1. SASA Designs by the Deaf

From the website: “Sasa Designs, a jewelry business and a subsidiary of D.O.O.R. International, was launched in the Fall of 2011, with the goal of providing employment and fair wages to Deaf artisans in Kenya. With an estimated unemployment rate of 85% among the Deaf in Kenya, few will have an opportunity to discover their potential, work in dignity and earn a fair wage.”

These artisans have some beautiful jewelry on sale through the website. Here are some of my favorite products:

Kenyan Elephant Wrap Bracelet

“Her Time to Shine” Turquoise & Howlite Necklace

Wedding Bliss Wrap Bracelet

2. Joshua Parr

Josh is a creative and talented individual. OK, maybe I’m biased because he’s my boyfriend. But seriously- check out the wall art he made for me! It’s the one on the right featuring my favorite animal:

So cute, right??

The how-to is posted on his blog, along with many other cool projects transforming trash to treasure. Check it out, and while you’re there, tell him to put more stuff on Etsy.

3. ParaClocks

A wonderful married couple from my small group here in NY design and create beautiful clocks. They have a very successful Kickstarter campaign where you can purchase a clock in the size and pattern of your choosing.

Visit their Kickstarter to purchase a clock and to watch a video of the 3 clockmakers talking about their work.

Enjoy!

Favorite Things: Schools Out, Now What?

I’m officially done with this semester, which means… free time? Wow. That’s a novel concept for grad students! Here are a few things I’m enjoying right now:

1. Us And Our Daughters

Phillip LaRue and his wife are so beautiful I want to cry. I saw them perform live when I was in high school and was so delighted to find out that they recently made an album. Do yourself a big favor and check it out.

2. Brave Soldier Antiseptic Healing Ointment

Remember my rollerblading injuries battle wounds? I’ve been using this ointment as well as cocoa butter to try to avoid scarring. Things are healing nicely, so it must be working. And it smells good!

Oh- and in case you’re wondering, I finally got back in my rollerblades yesterday, this time with knee pads and wrist guards.

3. Veggie Burgers Recipe from Runners World

I was quite impressed while reading this article about a vegan ultramarathoner. It’s another reminder that we don’t need meat as much (or as much meat) as we think we do. I made the veggie burgers on Monday and have been thoroughly enjoying the leftovers. Give the article a read and check out the delicious recipes, too!

4. Family & My Old Stomping Grounds

I went back to UCF over the weekend for my little sister’s graduation! I still think UCF has a beautiful campus. It was great to see the reflection pond, memory mall, mini Knightros in the bookstore, and lots of black and gold!

5. Once Upon A Time finally telling us who August Boothe is.

I won’t give it away in case you missed it, but the fairytale-meets-reality TV show finally revealed mystery character August Boothe’s fairytale identity. This coming Sunday is the finale. Can’t wait!

6. Mockingjay

I’m reading it. Probably don’t need to say anything else about it since you’ve probably already read it.

7. Zooey D. on the May cover of Marie Claire

Deep In The Heart of Texas

I’ve been told that when I was a kid I owned pink cowgirl boots and sang “Deep In Heart of Texas” while standing on the coffee table. I had never been to Texas in my life.

I finally ventured to Texas this weekend, Dallas/Fort Worth to be exact! It was everything it promised to be, from longhorns to taco joints to this southern gentleman:

We visited SMU and the Fort Worth Stockyards. Here are some photos taken by my favorite Texan!

courtesy of Josh Parr :)

c/o Josh Parr

c/o Josh Parr

c/o Josh Parr

c/o Josh Parr

c/o Josh Parr

And next week- Florida for my little sister’s college graduation!

Have you ever been to Texas? :)

Extreme Sports.

I could explain the story behind this post, but I think these two simple photos sum it up:

1. Brand new blades

2. After 5 minutes of wearing them

(I decided not to include a close up picture. You’re welcome.)

(And yes, those are Soffes. From high school. Again, you’re welcome.)

I was just trying to reunite with my childhood love for D2. If anyone has any tips on how to make scrapes and scabs heal fast, send them my way!

Finally! Blue Like Jazz the Movie

I read Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz in college and fell in love with the straight-forward language and the deep spiritual thought processes that feel like a conversation with a friend.

Needles to say I was STOKED when I found out that a movie was being made based on the book. I’ve been following the movie’s journey via the internet for the past few years, and last night I finally got to see it on the big screen.

The movie featured some of the most memorable parts of the book, including the image of the astronaut, the sexy carrot, Penny, and the confession booth. Some additions in the movie include an actress from Lost (Tania Raymonde), a robot protest, and even a brief appearance by Don Miller himself.

True Blue fans like me may be wondering how this expository text with bits and pieces of Miller’s life story can be turned into a movie. I highly recommend reading A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, which Miller wrote in the process of making the BLJ movie. It offers a better understanding of the transition from book to movie and why the movie, at parts, is very different from the book.

For example, the relationship between Don and his father in the movie is not true to the book (or real life for that matter). I also think that the church presented in the movie is highly exaggerated. As a life-long church goer, never have I ever seen a cross-shaped pinata.

All that being said, I didn’t mind the changes in the movie or even the over-exaggerated pieces. My advice to the book fans is to read A Million Miles, then go see the BLJ movie, knowing that there will be changes.

The book and the movie talk about life resolving. I have to say that I love the way this movie resolves. I won’t give it away here, but after you see the movie (and you most certainly should see it) let’s chat :)

Visit the movie site and find out where BLJ is playing near you! 

Have you seen or do you plan on seeing Blue Like Jazz the movie? Have you read the book? 

Spring Cleaning and Such

I hope everyone had a beautiful Easter with people you love. I got to spend the day hunting eggs with fellow grad students and friends, watching a dance festival on Columbia’s campus, and attending my church’s evening service. Throughout the weekend, I enjoyed reflecting on the work Christ has done and the new life we have with Him.

Since moving to New York, I have experienced the changing seasons for the first time. Yes, the temperature fluctuates in Florida, but we don’t get the snow in winter or the blooming trees in spring that let us know the year is progressing.

Initially, I had to learn how to dress for cold weather. I bought my first ever winter coat before I moved to NY in the middle of a snowy January. Now, I’m learning how to dress for the in between- that awkward time of year when it’s too cold to wear coats, boots, and knit scarves, but it’s not warm enough to pull out the summer clothes. I’ve started transitioning my closet by boxing up the sweaters. Is this what “spring cleaning” means?

If it does, then I am certainly a fan of spring cleaning.

Here are some of my attempts to adapt to spring in NYC:

Exchanging chunky knit scarves and heavy coats for this floral scarf & light coat from H&M- 50% off!

Bow pockets- my favorite part

Awesome bins from Target for organized closet storage- $7 a piece

I took this bulletin board that someone threw away and turned it into a necklace display. Much prettier than hanging them all on one boring hook!

Hot glued bottle cap + button tacks

Fresh inspiration for this season

Are you a seasoned pro at transitioning between seasons? Any advice for us rookies?