A Life Contrary

living a life out of the ordinary

Dressember…

If you know me, then you know that I have a fondness for jeans and tee shirts.  After all, I do live on a farm.  My sister once joked that my closet pretty much contains jeans and ball gowns (16+ years of military balls).  So, what is a good enough reason to get me to wear a dress for a month straight?  Dressember!

dressember

In case you haven’t heard of it, Dressember is a fundraiser during the month of December where women all over the world wear a dress every day to raise money and awareness of the fight against human trafficking, slavery, and the sex trade.

I’m so excited to be joining in with a great group of women to raise money for International Justice Mission and the A21 campaign.  Want to help out?  You can go here to donate.  You can also join in and wear a dress.  Want to know more about what Dressember is about?  Check this out.  If nothing else, join us in praying for all those affected and for those who are participating in Dressember.

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The (Gilmore) Girls are Back in Town!

Well, it’s been a minute since I wrote or posted anything and let’s be honest, only one thing could bring me out of my self-imposed hibernation… the Gilmore Girls Revival.  I cannot tell you how excited I have been about this.

I came late to the Gilmore Girls party.  I didn’t watch it much in its original run, though I did watch it here and there.  But I have been a faithful follower of it in syndication, DVD sets, and Netflix.  I cannot tell you how many times I have seen individual episodes or the entire series.

 

[SPOILER WARNING]   I’m going to try to keep this relatively spoiler free, but I’m not making any promises, so if you haven’t watched Gilmore Girls:  A Year in the Life, you may want to stop here. [SPOILER WARNING]

 

First, I will say how impressed I am that everyone came back for this show!  Taylor, Babette, Patty, Kirk, Gypsy (and even lesser knowns like Andrew and Bootsy!).  Dean, Jess, and Logan.  Jason and Christopher.  Lane (and all of Hep Alien), Michel, and Sookie.  Paris, Doyle, Ryan, Colin, Finn, and Robert!  I know I’m missing people, but with this kind of ensemble cast, can you imagine getting ALL of the cast back?  (minus Liz & TJ)

I’ll go ahead and start with some of my negatives…  I’m just not sure about a few things.  One, is the style of the characters, mainly Rory and Lorelai.  It’s been almost 10 years since we’ve seen them and the entire world has changed.  It was really hard for me to figure out exactly what Lorelai and Rory would wear and do now.

Also, can we talk about the musical?  I’ll be honest, I was a fan of it.  I thought it was hilarious and I love Sutton Foster.  It seemed so Stars Hollow that it was just awesome.  However, in a limit of 4 90-minute episodes, I think the quirkiness of Stars Hollow would be better served by a festival or some other fun event where we get to see the characters we love interacting rather than a bunch of comedic takes by Lorelai while watching a hilarious Musical.  Not to mention the fact that it truly seemed like something Lorelai would love.

Emily.  Oh, how my heart broke for Emily.  Richard was my favorite and I miss him.  I thought the loss of Edward Herman was handled so well.  I thought it was pretty accurate that she would go off the deep end and act completely out of character, but I’m not super happy with how it all ended up.  I think she would probably come back around at some point, but that just never really happened.

I also wasn’t thrilled with Lorelai’s Wild pilgrimage.  I get that it would be something she’d want to do, but actually going to do it?  That just made no sense.  I could see her adapting it and taking a hike around Stars Hollow.  Or even pulling a Liz Gilbert and going to Italy or something, but hiking the Pacific Crest Trail?  No.

So, what did I love?  Pretty much everything else.  Michel and the children!  Sookie and the wedding cakes!  The Stars Hollow Gazette.  There was just so much that was so classic and reminded us of why we love this show and these Girls so much.

And now, that ending.  Whew!  We finally found out what the final four words were and boy were they a doozy.  I thought the ending was amazing.  Do I like the cliffhanger?  No!  I want more.  I want to know what happens next.  But with a show like this, I think we can pretty accurately guess what will happen.  Not to mention is there any other way this could end?

 

So, what did y’all think?  Love it or hate it?

Food & Health

I won’t lie.  Life has been difficult lately.  I’ve been sharing a bit of that recently.  I also shared that even though many of my maladies have been in my own imagination, I do have some things that are in need of being address.

We are currently on a journey toward total, holistic health.  As a part of this, we went for a health assessment.  Turns out that a lot of what concerned me was actually, you know, of concern.  Perhaps it wasn’t to the extent that I thought, but still, something to take care of.

She told me a lot about what was going on in our bodies.  Me, in particular.  I got a list of things to work on and some supplements (which I still haven’t started).  I was also told to go on a specific diet.  Like, really specific.  And really limiting.

I won’t lie.  Food is my weakness.  I love food.  I love cooking it.  I love eating it.  I love reading and studying and learning about it.  I read up on the histories of food!  It’s just something that fascinates me.  Plus, I think there’s something to the fact that we should know what nourishes us.  We’re all going to eat so we might as well eat well.

A few years ago, I was introduced to clean eating, which is basically eating as close to whole as possible.  No processed foods.  Some die hard clean eaters will also shun some foods that aren’t “clean.”  We were never die hard, but I loved the concept of eating whole foods.  Making as much from scratch as I could and limiting what we ate to things I could pronounce.

Since we’ve been living in a camper and money has been tight, we’ve gotten away from the clean eating.  It’s hard to store bread, much less make it from scratch.  We went one step away and then before we knew it, I’m buying canned everything and hot dogs have become a regular menu item.

I also began to start medicating my stress and anxiety with food.  Wouldn’t it be great if you got stressed and craved an apple?  For me, it was a cookies and cream milkshake from Chickfila.  I’d have a bad day at work – swing through the drive through.  Great day at work – swing through the drive through.  Accomplish everything on my to-do list?  You got it.  A shake would be in my hand.  It’s no wonder that I put on 20+ pounds.

With returning to work and working odd hours (mostly in the middle of mealtimes) with no planning because who can plan with all this going on?  I began to swing through the drive through and grab an 8-count nugget and some waffle fries to go with my shake.  Or I’d hit McDonald’s 2 for $5 (though not quite as often).  So of course, my health was on the decline.

And now I am where I am.  I’m completely off sugar, processed foods, and cow dairy (goat cheese is my new best friend).  There are a lot of restrictions.  So much that I actually bought a protein powder so that I can supplement at least one meal and still get enough calories.

I’m having to think about food in an entirely different way.  I no longer thing about what is going to be yummy or how delicious something might be.  I think about sustenance.  How can I get enough calories to nourish my body and have it function properly and also fit into these parameters so that my body can also heal from the damage I’ve done to it.

And it is hard, y’all.  I don’t like it.  I’ve started eating eggs.  Plain.  No ketchup.  No hot sauce.  How boring and disgusting is that!  I have to plan now.  If I want rice as a side for dinner, I can’t just dump it in a pot.  I have to soak it for 8 hours ahead of time (same for oatmeal and beans).  There are no quick dishes or grab and go things on this plan.  I’ve started eating things that I don’t love, but I know that it’s good for me.

But it isn’t all bad.  Thinking about food in a new way is good.  I need to change some of my ideas.  I need to stop feeding my emotions through food and go to Jesus when I’m stressed.  Or happy.  Or accomplished.  I need to learn to put food in its proper place.

Lord willing, I will only have to be on this strict diet for a couple months.  After that, I’ll get to add in more fun foods.  But hopefully, I won’t forget all that learned while going through it.  Also, I’m hoping that I’ll get to the point where I’m focusing more on what I can have and less on what I can’t.

Discipline, Compromise, & Grace

 

This is kind of how my life goes.  I get really pumped about something and I do it… for a time.  Then life happens or I lose interest.  I’ve done it with diets, bible reading plans, hobbies, and projects.  I even recently read a book to help me conquer this attitude (5 Habits of a Woman who Doesn’t Quit by Nicki Koziarz – I highly recommend it).

For a good month, I’ve been doing well on watching what I eat, reading my bible, and turning off the tv (or actually the computer with DVD’s from the library) and reading something that won’t turn my brain to mush.  I was, dare I say, disciplined!  It’s something I strive for but rarely achieve.

Then I went to the grocery store while I was hungry.  I made it out with only a bag of gluten free chili lime crackers (that I ate in 2 days), but I’ve been growing undisciplined in my eating habits.  I’ve been placed on a special diet and I’ve been following it pretty well-ish.  But today after work I was hungry and EVERYTHING sounded so good.  Arby’s.  Dairy Queen.  Mexican restaurants.  Places that I haven’t been in years!

I wanted to give in and just eat something that sounded good.  It was difficult to find the willpower, desire, or faith to keep me from giving in.  Then I remembered what happened just a few days ago.  I was willing to “give-in” and indulged in a granola and yogurt parfait.  It was yummy!  And c’mon, it was yogurt – that’s healthy.  So, later that same day, I decided to treat myself to a Starbuck’s Frappuccino with cow’s milk.  And since I’d already blown it big time, I’ll just go ahead and eat some Monterrey jack cheese with dinner, too.

I’m sure you can guess what happened.  I’ll save you the details, but suffice it to say, my stomach wasn’t happy with me.  I tried to remember this as my husband and I debated on where and what to eat.  I tried to remember why I’m doing what I’m doing (to be the healthiest possible to serve God better).  And I’ll admit that it was tough.  I’m still struggling.  I ended up with a guacamole bacon burger with no cheese, no may, no bacon, no bun.  But I still got the steak fries (I’m not made of steel!).

The same is true with writing this blog and reading.  I’m doing my best to make myself do better especially on days when I’m struggling.  I’m writing today even though I don’t feel like it.  And I will admit that I haven’t picked up my book (When I Don’t Desire God by John Piper – SO good!) in a couple days and I didn’t do my Scripture reading today (yet!).

In the end, on your down days, you have to persevere.  Hold your feet to the fire even when you don’t want to.  Make compromises if you have to.  And give grace when you need to.

Confessions of a Hypochondriac

Hypochondria:  obsession with the idea of having a serious but undiagnosed medical condition.

 

Hypochondria was once called “morbid melancholy.”  It gets its name from the idea that the gut (liver, gall bladder, and spleen) was the cause of such a disposition.  It was believed to be a true medical condition.  Growing up, a hypochondriac was labeled a worrier and just dismissed.  Now, it is often joked about.  People kid about “web md-ing” symptoms and self-diagnosing cancer.

I’ve gone along with the joke my entire life, afraid to admit the truth:  I’m a hypochondriac.  I’ve seen people roll their eyes or crack a joke when you talk about it.  Most will say that they are, too, or recount a funny story of their mother-in-law/cousin/next door neighbor who thought they were dying of a rare disease but it turned out they just had ________ (insert common malady here).

Sometimes there are those who really do have a rare, or misdiagnosed ailment like Lyme’s or Fibromyalgia who are accused of hypochondria until they find that one doctor who will listen and truly find what’s wrong with them.  People like me are not a help to those.  We make it more difficult for them to get the help they need and I am truly sorry for that.  But it doesn’t take away from the belittling and brushing off that I have felt from those around me.

It’s hard when you know in your heart that there has to be a better way to live, but you can’t find any help because what is plaguing you is the punchline in so many jokes.

I have struggled with this for as long as I can remember.  When my husband was in Iraq, I can remember talking to a friend and telling her about a weird bump I had on my hand.  I had spent the last two hours thinking about this bump and stressing about it because, what if it was something really bad and I needed medical attention?  What if I didn’t get the medical attention and I died right there in the living room?  What would happen to my son and how would word get to my husband?  Now, once I made an off-hand reference to my friend (because I’ve learned not to speak seriously about such things), the worry dissipated.  I felt free.

That’s how it usually worked.  I’d get myself spun up in a tizzy about something but once I’d say it out loud, usually to my husband, he’d reassure me it was nothing and I would feel better.  Crisis averted.  But lately, that just hasn’t been the case.  I don’t know if it’s stress or just getting older and more aware of my mortality, but I have gotten much worse.  To the point where I spent almost a week completely sure that I was going to drop dead at any moment.  I was saying things like, “well, if I live to the weekend…”

It was trying to my family and it was trying to me.  I was so burdened for my own physical well-being that I had become hyper-aware of everything that was going on with my body.  I was also literally making myself sick.  The stress was unbearable.  What made things worse was that I know that I have some legitimate health problems, but I didn’t know how severe they were or what else may be wrong.  Yet, I had convinced myself that I was dying.  And that is no way to live.

With all these thoughts constantly on my mind, I could barely function.  I could barely work or serve my family.  I couldn’t maintain a relationship with anyone, even God, to whom I was praying constantly that He would heal me (from what, I didn’t really know).

I googled faith and hypochondria.  I tried to talk to people, but most people don’t really think you’re serious.  Or they just throw random Bible verses and platitudes at me.  I know that there are answers in God’s Word and that it will work, but simply quoting Philippians 4:6­-7 at me doesn’t really help that much.

And then one night I was driving to work and I was stressing out about… everything, really, and I had an epiphany.  Philippians 1:21 came into my mind:  To live is Christ, to die is gain.  I realized that if I live then I need to spend my time glorifying Jesus.  If I died, then I guess He was done with me and I get to be with Him.  It was a beautiful thought.  And it carried me through that evening and then next.

I wish I could say that that is the end and that I’m all better.  No more worry.  No more hypochondria.  No more of the anxiety or depression that follow.  No more fear or shame.  However, it is all still there.  I am constantly fighting it.  I am constantly trying to overcome those thoughts in my head that lead me to those bad places.  I’m fighting to renew my mind (Romans 12:2) daily.

It is difficult.  I wish I had help.  I wish that there was someone else who could shout, “Me, too!”  I wish that I could just come out and explain to people that I am not merely telling a joke when I say that I’m struggling because I think I may have an aneurism.   However, I know that I can still manage because I’m not really alone.  Jesus has this one.  I just have to work on the faith that allows me to see it.

Fear & Words

Right.  So, it’s been a while.  I have always proclaimed myself a lover of words.  I love to read them.  I love to write them.  I love to speak to others about them.  I was the kid that for fun read the dictionary and odd books and loved the vocab list.

So, why have I stepped away from my primary outlet for expressing my own words?  Well, it’s somewhat complicated.  I think the main reason is because I have been struggling so much in several areas of my life and that has produced a bit of a “word block.”  Also, there have been many questions floating around in my head about why I want to share my words and what words I really want to share.

Life has been hard lately, y’all.  I mean, I know that life, in general, is just tough, but I have gone through a serious bout of being knocked flat on my behind.  And I’ve let myself stay there.  Most of that has been out of fear.  I haven’t wanted to get back up.  I haven’t wanted to give life the opportunity to knock me back down.  It’s safe down here.

I’ve largely tried to withdraw from life.  I’ve gotten near panic attacks when I need to leave home and actually engage with others.  I’ve even withdrawn from social media.  It seems as though even virtual friendships were too much for me to manage.  I also realized that I have gone numb to my family.  Sure, I’m still here and still talking and cooking and cleaning and driving them around.  But I haven’t really taken the time to really be with them.

And why did all of this happen?  What was the singularity event that catapulted all of this?  The short answer is fear.  The longer answer has to do with a road trip, my ankles swelling, and a debilitating bout of hypochondria.

There are three great motivators in the world:  Fear, Anger, and Love.  Sure, we may do things for other reasons, but you can almost always boil it down to one of these.  If you think back to teachers, coaches, or other influential people in your life, you’ll probably realize that the way they inspired you will come back to one of these three motivators.

What I’ve known for a long time and finally has come to a head is that the main motivator in my life is fear.  It is amazing how much of my day revolves around it.  It has become second nature to me to the point that I don’t even think about it much anymore.  There are things I don’t say because I fear that my husband may get angry.  There are things that I don’t do because I fear how it may be perceived by others.  I fear that God may get angry with me.  I fear that I may have a stroke or heart attack.  I fear that I am failing as a parent.

Now, I want to be clear that I am not talking about worries or concerns or passing thoughts.  I am talking about the fear that is so real that I will completely shut down.  It has affected my health (I’ve pulled ribs out of place because of tension due to worry).  It has affected my family.  It has affected my relationship with God.  No one wants to be around the paranoid, worrying person who’s fear has gotten to the point that she has a meltdown while trying to order lunch at Panera (yes, this did happen).

And most importantly, God doesn’t want this for my life.  He doesn’t want me to serve Him out of fear.  There is something to be said about fearing the Lord, but that isn’t what I’m talking about.  I don’t mean the healthy, awe-inspiring respect.  I’m talking about the idea of the “Big Stick God” – where you view God as having a big stick and just waiting to pound you on the head with it when you step out of line.

God is all about love.  He loves us and desires for us to love Him back.  That is what He desires my great motivator to be in following Him.  That is what I should be focusing on instead of all the fear that has quite literally consumed me.  I should be basking in the love of my Heavenly Father and Sovereign Savior instead of huddled in a corner and fearing my own pulse.  I should be reflecting that love to back those around me, first to those in my own home and then to those I come into contact with – in real life and virtually.

I have neglected this practice.  I have not just sat and let my Jesus love me and truly spent time with Him with no other agenda than to experience His all-consuming love.  Because if I had, I wouldn’t be in the mess that I’m in right now.  I would be full of His love and light and I wouldn’t be able to help what spills over from my life into the lives of those around me.  I want that.  Or, I’m learning to want that.

So, I may still be huddled in a corner and distant.  I’m still struggling with both some very real issues and some that just feel real.  But the words are starting to come back.  And I can only hope that with the return of my words will also be the Word.

In Which We Discuss All The Books

Well, I didn’t exactly get a book report done for March.  There’s a good reason for that.  I didn’t read anything other than Scripture in March.  One of my Lenten goals was to read through the gospels.  I decided to take that and read nothing but the gospels for most of Lent.

So, since I don’t have much to report of what I have read, I thought I’d give a quick update of what I’ve been reading.

I know that I should be reading things off my 2016 book list, but there are just so many books and so little time!  I5 Habits have decided to give audiobooks a try for more than just long distance trips.  I’m currently listening to 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit by Nicki Koziarz.  It was picked to be a bit of an experiment and see how well I would retain the information with only listening in bits and pieces.

I’ve learned two things:  I retain more than I thought and I find myself listening more often that just when I’m commuting or in the car.  It may only work for certain books, but I am definitely going to try to keep up on the audiobook thing and see if I can double my reading.  I’ve even started a list on Hoopla of books that I want to listen to.

Loving My Actual Life

I’ve been picked for two new launch teams and I can’t wait to share more about each of those books.  The first is Loving my Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall.  I’ve just downloaded it and hope to get it done soon.  The second I’ll be writing about soon.

Love DoesWhen I Don't Desire GodI also bought Love Does by Bob Goff and When I Don’t Desire God by John Piper.  I haven’t gotten started on these yet (see above), but we’re going to have Chas start Love Does soon and I’ll probably read it with him.

 

I also picked up a copy of Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs at work the other Present Over PerfectLooking for Lovelyday and started to thumb through it.  I got through the introduction and realized that I must read this soon.  Shauna Neiquist’s Present Over Perfect will also be released soon, so chances are, I’ll be grabbing a copy of that, too.

None of the books above were on my 2016 list, but if you’ll remember my list was pretty light for just this reason.  I don’t know that I’ll get to all of these or even those on my list soon, but a girl can dream, right?

So, what are you reading?  What have you read this year that has really stuck with you?  What must I add to my ever growing list?

Quieting the Noise and Listening for Answers

Confession time:  I both love to pray and simultaneously don’t do it nearly often enough.  Don’t get me wrong, I do like to talk to God while driving or when washing dishes, etc.  Talking is easy.  I do it all.  The.  Time.  That’s why I love it.  I can vent to God.  I can tell him all my troubles.  I can share whatever it on my heart without fear.

That isn’t what’s hard.  No, I have much more of a problem with the listening aspect of prayer.  I have trouble being silent and letting God get a word in from time to time.  Did you know that the word translated as prayer in the bible is overwhelming more of a listening than a talking type of prayer?  Around 75% of the time, it is used as listening rather than talking.

Listening.

Sitting still.

Being silent.

These are things that don’t come naturally to me.  Even as I sit here typing away, I keep thinking that I need to turn on some music or have an audiobook or podcast playing in the background.  But this is what God wants.  He wants us to be silent so that we can hear His voice.  Now certainly He can make himself known over the sound of all the noise, but why should He have to do this?  Why can’t I take a little time each day and listen for Him, listen to Him?  Because it is amazing what He has to say.

Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me!

Often times, we think of God speaking to us in prayer as a call to action.  We pray that He will tell us what to do in a certain situation or give us direction on major life events.  Sometimes we pray for others who are going through something, an illness or loss.  We pray for healing and comfort.  We pray for all kinds of things.  But do we listen, too?  Do we wait to hear what God has to say?

God answers our prayers in a great many ways.  Sometimes He uses signs.  For example, my pastor was trying to discern whether or not to start a sermon series on Philippians when several things began to come together culminating with a guy coming into the bank where he worked had on a Philippians 4:4 tee shirt:  Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, Rejoice!

Sometimes God answers our prayer with Scripture.  A friend shared last week that she’d been praying for God to show her how to work through a grieving process when she was shown Romans 12:1-2 and knew immediately that she needed to start renewing her mind and begin to change her thoughts so she’d be more in line with God than with her grief.

Other times, God can answer prayers by simply having a friend send a cookie through the mail.  And you receive it just after having the worst day ever and needing a pick-me-up.  (This happened to me a couple weeks ago).

And sometimes, God doesn’t answer our prayers.  At least not immediately or in the way we were expecting.  Sometimes the answer is ‘No’ and we simply don’t recognize it at the time.  It’s hard for us to realize that the God of all Creation may not actually give us the desire of our heart.  It’s even harder for us to realize that sometimes that desire of our heart, isn’t actually what we need.

Regardless of how God shows us the answer to our prayers, or what the answer is, we still have to acknowledge that God does answer prayer.  We just have to be willing to listen to it and listen for it.

 Want to hear more about prayer, or more specifically answered prayer?  Check out the link up at Mrs. Disciple and hear what others are saying.

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Chas, the Crooked, Little Redbud Tree

Once upon a time, there was a little redbud tree that was planted by a bird at the edge of a farm.   Also on the edge of the farm, there was an apple tree and a cedar.  The cedar had been there for a couple decades and was already getting big and lush with thick needles.  The apple tree had also been there for a while.  She was producing delicious apples and beautiful blossoms.

The redbud was planted there beside the apple and cedar.  It was pretty much a miracle that the seed took at all with the crowd that was around.  But take it did.  And before long it began to grow.  It had to suffer through adversity.  The cedars bulky needles crowded out the sun.  The apple tree’s blossoms created shadows and it’s apples fell dangerously close to the weak little redbud.

But throughout the adversity, the redbud continued to grow, crooking it’s trunk and spreading it’s limbs to reach the light.  Taking its bumps and bruises and suffering the elements.  But still it grew.  It grew taller and thicker and persevered.  Each spring it’s pretty, purple blossoms would appear between the cedar and the apple tree.  Each spring it would show it’s beauty despite its circumstances, never once being squashed by the hardships it had to endure.

Until one day a farmer came along.  He saw the struggling redbud and examined it.  Surely this contorted little tree needed to be put out of its misery.  However, as the farmer began to examine the situation, he noticed a problem with the apple and cedar trees.  It turned out that even though they were big and strong, they were unhealthy (it turns out that apple and cedar trees are prone to a particular fungus and will pass it back and forth).

They farmer wasn’t happy, but he knew he had to cut down the cedar and the apple trees.  So, he set about and got them both down.  And when he did, he saw the little, crooked redbud tree still standing, alive and well sprouting his purple blooms.  The farmer realized that the little, crooked redbud tree was the real treasure there.  So he left it and let it bloom and enjoy the sun for the first time unobstructed and free.

  

Houston, We Have Kittens…

Right, so I know that this blog is supposed to have purpose and meaning. I understand that I’m supposed to mainly discuss health and wholeness. But occasionally on this long and twisted journey, something so beautiful happens and I can’t help but want to share.

Our little blind, one-ear runt of a cat, named Bartimaeus had kittens last week!

She’s been preggers for what seems like forever and we’ve honestly been on baby watch for the past 2 weeks. And then last Thursday, our cat that doesn’t know she’s a cat, didn’t come when my husband called. This was so odd that after the third time, he went to search for her.

He was pretty sure he knew where she’d go to give birth and sure enough on the coldest night of the spring, she had holed up in the broken down little shed in our backyard. We’ve actually been waiting to tear it down thinking this might be her birth plan.

Sure enough, she was there. She had given birth to an unknown number and was hiding them and keeping them safe and warm. Nathan went and got a heater and a tarp and covered all the large holes and made sure they’d all have adequate warmth as she took care of them.

Today, he found out that whereas she’d indeed given birth to 3 kittens, only two made it. So, now we’re the proud owners of our little tortie, Bartimaeus, as well as two little gray kittens, who’re still yet unnamed. Though it’s looking more likely that they’ll be called Patience and Defiance (or, Sebastian. We’re still deciding).

What’s going on with you all today? How are you finding your joy?

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