Monday, June 03, 2013

Feeling Violated

I spent the weekend looking over my shoulder, hyper-aware of my surroundings and the people around me. 

After a few weeks of prepping my young teen sister for our upcoming trip to Guatemala ("Don't bring anything you are attached to!" "You may not come back with everything you bring" "People in our group had things stolen in Guatemala City last year"), I found myself pointing a finger right in the mirror.

The warnings I had been giving my sister stared me right back in the face- and not in a foreign country, in my own backyard. 

On Friday morning, very, very early, I met up with a friend of mine. I hadn't seen Em in over a month and it was high time we caught up on each other's lives. After all, since we'd last seen each other we had both been to the beach! And jobs ended and began! We literally had a list of things to re-connect on, and spent a good two hours walking multiple miles at a gorgeous local lake. 

After chatting and catching up, we hopped into our respective cars. I sensed something was not right, and imagine my surprise when this is what I discovered to my right-- 




It would appear that while we were enjoying our time together, someone else was also enjoying some new belongings of their own.

Sigh. 

So, here's where it gets interesting. I had an interview in half an hour, followed by two more interviews spread out over the afternoon. It wasn't my car, it was a babysitting client's car that I had in my possession because I was picking kids up from school later in the day. I do have to say that the people who the car belongs to handled it all extremely well, coming to clean up the glass with a big bucket as well as switching cars with me. 

On the one hand, I could totally kick myself. My bag was on the floor, facing down. Nothing was showing, at all. I left my own car and house keys in the middle console. Those were (amazingly!) not touched, nor were my client's important work papers and files or my job-hunt binder. 

However, I did have to part with a perfectly acceptable cute summer purse, library books that will cost me $60 to replace, and my iPad. Yes...my iPad, that (insert slight hyperventilation here) I saved up for months to buy and had in my possession only a short few months. I'd be lying if I said that doesn't affect me at all. I'm in the midst of job searching, and with a 5+ year old computer that enjoys giving me the blue screen of death multiple times a day, the iPad was of valuable use to me these days...but I'm surviving. 

I did return to the scene of the crime to scour nearby tall weeds and trash cans, holding out slight hope that the thief took the iPad and left the books and purse. No such luck, but maybe s/he will decide to be slightly kind (ha, ha) and return the library books? A girl can hope. 

So, my awareness for surroundings has been heightened a lot these last couple days. I'm trying to avoid the "what if" game and am so, extremely thankful that I happened to have my wallet and phone with me. 

I hope the thief enjoys reading my library books on Guatemala. I'm sure they will be extremely helpful. Boo.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

GIVEAWAY: God's Whisper Manifesto



I was raised in the country, with acres and miles of quiet farmland to explore. My childhood was filled with tree climbing, running, bicycle riding, games of tag and hide and seek, bleating goats and century-old farmhouses with creaking floors.

When I reminisce about my childhood in rural Pennsylvania, I think of peace. The same word comes to mind when thinking about Andi Cumbo’s book, “God’s Whisper Manifesto”. While a short e-book, it chronicles Andi’s dream for her farm in Virginia—a peaceful farm.

Many times while reading this book, I wanted to stop and take notes. Her sentences drew me in, one after the other. Less than halfway through the book, I felt a longing to visit the farm and experience it for myself. It will be a wonderful getaway spot for a couple, a family or single people alike. Andi uses her words to paint a visual picture of the farm, a place where people can retreat, eat off the land and enjoy God's nature around them. It chronicles a vision of community, something that I long for frequently. The farm will be a place put together by hard work, love for each other, and free from judgement. I can in no way replace the eloquent way Andi writes about her farm, so I suggest grabbing ahold of her book yourself!

Andi's e-book is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Check out her website or follow her on twitter @andilit



For a chance to win a free copy of Andi's book, enter below! Contest will run through Sunday, March 24th. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Content

As I sat in Starbucks last night working on both of my Bible studies, I had to smile- at my life, the company I was keeping, God’s timing, the lessons I’ve been learning of late.

A year ago, you probably wouldn’t have found me at Starbucks,
or working on Bible Study homework,
or even with either of my friends I was sitting with last night, Em and Bets,
or making birthday plans over Twitter with two of my awesome Bible Study gals, Jen and Mindy.

A year ago, I didn’t hang out at Starbucks (Emily, pick your jaw up off the floor). I wasn’t in one Bible Study, let alone two. I had met but wasn’t really friends with Em or Bets yet. I hadn’t even met Jen and Mindy yet! Gosh--- how a year does change things!

After a moment of quiet thanksgiving prayer to God for bringing all four of the ladies into my life when He knew I needed friends like them, I turned to my Bible Study and immediately my glance fell to a sentence in Karen Ehman’s book, Let.It.Go –

“Catching up with the Joneses is a never-ending run on the treadmill of dissatisfaction.”- Pg. 186

It’s not a long sentence, but the impact of it still hit me. In my Thursday night Bible Study, we were discussing how years ago, our grandparents/great-grandparents were not constantly influenced by Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/blogs. They didn’t exist. Sure, maybe they saw their friends once a week at church (or hey, Bible Study!) and caught up on each other’s lives. It’s different today—every day, for most of us, we are reading and looking at a constant stream of what our “friends” (c’mon, admit it…you are not in-real-life-awesome friends with EVERYONE on your Facebook friend list, are you?) are up to.

Where so-and-so is on vacation.
What huge tv someone just bought.
Someone from college getting married.
A friend announcing a pregnancy (their fourth baby, if I’m counting).

It’s everywhere. It is SO easy to compare- after all, the grass is always greener, right? If I allow it to, all of this wonderful news for my friends can make me green with envy! And while I’m being honest with you, I’m a jealous person when it comes to friends. I try not to be, but all I’ve ever wanted to be is a mom- of many kids, from nations around the world. A mom, raising kiddos—like almost ALL of my friends from college are doing, by the way. Is that too much to ask for, God? After all, friends 1-200 on Facebook from college are married with kids. Why not ME?!

As I moved on to my study guide, I knew immediately why not me. The question asked what God may be trying to teach me that I wouldn’t be learning if God suddenly plucked me out of my current situation and into the one I had picked as perfect for myself…

Well…I’ll be shaken a bit by God—wake up, girlie!

If I married out of college, I wouldn’t be sitting in Starbucks with two of my best friends, now would I? Probably not, since it would seem extremely unlikely that I’d know them! The same for Jen and Mindy- I met them through a Bible Study last fall, a Bible Study I joined to help me get through a long, cold, possibly lonely winter because I don’t have a husband and those kids I dream about yet.

I love my life most of the time. I am happy. I am busy. I enjoy work and the kids I babysit for.

And most of all?

I am so, very, extremely thankful for the friends God has brought into my life in the last year or so. A life that is crafted for me, by God- placing me in the city, in the job, in the lives of people I am to be in contact with. A life that is one-of-a-kind and exclusively crafted for me to be content and happy with, because it is part of God’s plan for me!

Friday, February 08, 2013

My Cute Little Valentines

Immediately after ringing the doorbell, I heard the screams and yelps of joy.

“Bethany’s here! Bethany’s here!”

A towheaded little boy face appeared in the window- so tall now, almost three years after we first met. I saw him through his terrible threes and fearsome fours, guided him into his thankfully calmer fives before leaving their family. His younger brother appeared beside him, arms extended, babbling on about “two” (his age), “choo choooo” (trains, his favorite pastime), then bidding his mother goodbye- dismissing her from the house although she had no plans to leave. Their older sister arrived by the door, her years of dance classes I drove her to evident by her prancing feet and bouncing hair. She pressed a chocolate Valentine mouse into my hand, announcing that all three of them had worked on it together, for me.

Three kids, all different and yet all so close to my heart—after all, they were a huge part of my life for almost two years, so many bus stop runs (always running after the bus, that is), skinned knees, stern discipline talks, giggly fits of laughter that I can’t even begin to count.

As I introduced myself to the new nanny, now a good six months into the job, little A proclaimed, so excited he was literally bouncing,

“It is so nice that I get to see BOTH of my nannies in the SAME DAY!”

We spent an hour reminiscing about our multiple trips to the zoo, library story times, science center visits and park picnics with our friends. The two boys took turns in my lap, hugging tightly, letting go and then peering into my eyes, playing with my hair in between bites of pizza. The phrase “remember when?” must have been spoken at least twenty times before it was time for me to leave, off into the night. As I climbed into my car, warm tears welled in my eyes, so thankful for a night with my cute little valentines.