Flight Behavior {Book Club}

One of my favorite activities since moving back to Nashville has been joining a book club in my neighborhood! Thanks to this amazing group of women, I’ve read books I would not have otherwise thought of, and and learned so much by getting to know new people.

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So once in a while, I’ll share a book with you! We recently read Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, You may remember her from Poisonwood Bible, which is hands-down her most popular book. She is a beautiful writer with unique plots, and I highly recommend her writing. Without giving too much away, Flight Behavior is set in very rural East Tennessee. The main character’s personal journey of growth is one that I think anyone can relate to in one way or another. Check it out, and let me know what you think!

When You Utterly Fail At That One Thing You’re Usually Really Good At

I suppose this is a bit of a serious post for a Friday, but it’s been a while since I dug deep into some life lessons. But when I made a cake for our anniversary that was truly a comedy of errors, it got me thinking. I pride myself on baking – it’s “that thing Meghan does” for a party, a work event, etc. It’s the thing that I would do for an income if I had any guts. So when you have a total cake disaster, you feel kind of shitty (excuse my french).

For the record, the bottom is raw.

I won’t go into all the details, but let’s just say… it started with my oven being on “broil” instead of “bake” and it ended with me adding brown sugar to my butter cream icing when I ran out of powdered sugar. Aaaand it looked like this…

Yes, shut up, those are supposed to be hearts. I know.

I think we are all a little familiar with that feeling of totally sucking at something you USUALLY really pride yourself in. It started kind of young for me. I took piano lessons for 13 years, and every February in the Wisconsin snow we would trudge to some distant UW satellite location for me to compete at Federation. I would spend an entire YEAR practicing two songs over and over, hoping to earn the top score, a “Superior.” In order to earn a Gold Cup, you needed 15 points. A “Superior” earned you five points, so in theory, you could get a cup every three years. OH how we coveted the superiors and the gold cups. There was much bliss and happiness UNTIL…the year I earned an “Excellent” which only meant four points. That REALLY THROWS OFF THE GOLD CUP MATH GAME, PEOPLE! And I was devastated. In the end, it actually took pressure off the rest of the years, and in high school I played concertos too which were worth like, eight points each, and I ended up with five gold cups that are now in a box in my mom’s attic, but the POINT is that I felt miserable for “failing” at the one thing you worked your bootay off for.

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Let’s move on to the OTHER thing I really prided myself in during my adolescence: School. I worked hard. I worked many jobs, usually two if not three at a time. I was pretty much straight As and graduated with like a 4.2 (which seems super silly but whatever). All that hard work earned me a full ride to a top-20 school, and I was thrilled. And then I got there. And I failed. Not just once, but over and over and over. I refused to drop out of pre-med, and just kept taking the hits one after another. I’ll never remember having a meltdown during freshman Christmas break because I didn’t want to go back and take the second semester of bio, chem, and calc. I don’t know why I didn’t drop the medicine track then, but I didn’t. And it was a blow to my ego like I had never experienced. I spent the next three years working even HARDER (and eventually dropping premed – but only after practically acing organic chemistry. who does that?) and managed to graduate with a 3.0…barely. And for all that drama, I now have a master’s degree from the same school and a great career track. So wah wah, boo boo, you’re FINE, megster. Just fine.

We’re getting a little long-winded over here so let me get to my point: failing, even at things you’re usually good at, is hard. But it humbles you. And I really believe it’s made me stronger. That said, I still do feel a pang of jealousy towards people who seem to have THAT ONE THING that they rock at. I don’t think I like being a jack-of-all-trades type: Good at baking, but not the best. Good at piano, but not a natural. Good at school, but not without tons of work. Even in my career, which I enjoy, I have been really struggling for about a year: not feeling challenged in some ways but feeling far too challenged in others. Where is the balance? I am just relying on the fact that God calls us to be diligent, patient, and to trust Him. Clearly, things have worked out fine before, and they will again.

So HAVE HEART! Hang tight. If you fail, move on. If you succeed, celebrate!

History in Pictures {The Twitter Handle You Should Be Following}

Even if you aren’t a big fan of history, like me, you will enjoy this twitter feed. It’s essentially a ton of photos that you’ve never seen before. Some are more recent years, some are old, and some are just fascinating.

So if you need a little variety in your twitter feed, check this out:

@HistoryInPics

You won’t regret it!

To My Parents, On Valentine’s Day

I have his joyful joking
and her quiet perseverance;
his dislike of crazy crowds,
but her love of the stage.
*
My day has his morning mug of black coffee,
and her 15-minute-lunch-hour-nap;
it begins with a robe he gave me,
and ends with a book she recommended.
*
I have the smile he paid a small truck for;
the education her parents never encouraged;
his addiction to food;
her whimsical taste;
the bounce in his step;
the song in her head.
*
Even without their genes,
I am my parents.

Now is not forever at all…

I don’t know where your week is at, but everyone needs some encouragement now and then.  I stumbled on this song on a cd in my car this morning, and it hit me in just the right place.  If you are struggling with anything today, read these lyrics from Jon McLaughlin’s song Just Give It Time, and be strong!

Still waters, heavy hearts
Plans we make all fall apart
Disillusioned and lost in the gray
How can we fix the heart when it breaks?
Don’t know how much more you can take

Just give it time
It’s gonna get better
Now is not forever at all
Just give it time
Everything changes
Tomorrow comes today will be gone
Everything’s gonna be fine
Just give it time, give it time

Quiet landslide when nobody knows
Regretted decisions that nobody chose
Under water and sinking fast
No way out, no way to get back
What might have been is lost in the past

Just give it time
It’s gonna get better
Now is not forever at all
Just give it time
Everything changes
Tomorrow comes today will be gone
Everything’s gonna be fine
Just give it time, give it time

When the world you’re in is still again
And it all fades out
You’ve reached the end, begin again now

Everything’s gonna be alright
Everything’s gonna be alright
Just give it time

Picture Thursday: Wordle.

BIG thanks to Kate for introducing me to wordle.net!!  She knows how I do love playing with words, and especially how I love fun creative discoveries!

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At wordle.net, you can write or paste in any words you want, and it will generate a great little word cloud.  Then you can have at it and adjust the font, layout, and coloring to your liking!

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Clearly, I started having a bit too much fun with it, but there are so many possibilities!  And I sure do love word clouds…

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*note, there is no spell check, and after saving my pictures I realized I spelled some things wrong.  Sadly, once you make it, you can’t really change it.  Oh well!!