Monday, January 21, 2013

New to My Blog?

Readers, I know that some of you have been reading this blog from the beginning, while others of you may have just stumbled across it (purposely or accidentally) really recently. If you're a new reader and are trying to get a sense of what type of posts I try to write regularly, feel free to check out these:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Weekend Recap.

This weekend has been incredibly busy so I'm really glad that I have tomorrow off thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. Friday afternoon, I got together with one friend for a coffee date and a conversation we'd postponed for far too long. It was much-needed and therapeutic, I think, for both of us. Then I went to dinner with another friend and we went to go see Silver Linings Playbook (I've got to say, all the hype about this being the "best movie ever made" is false in my opinion--I'm afraid I totally hated it, but overall, it was still a fun night)!

Yesterday I was busy pretty much all day with our school's ABA client counseling competition (more about that later) and law review stuff. This morning, I went to a really amazing church service. Lately I've started going to a different church than the one I'd been attending for most of my time in law school, just needing a change and to look around more because I chose my first church almost immediately, without seeing what else was out there. I've only gone to this church a few times and don't really know people there yet or anything, but I really love the services. There is a spirit of pure JOY in that congregation that is almost tangible, and I really can't get enough of it. When I'm around people like that, I never want to leave. In many ways, it's kind of a foretaste of what I think heaven will probably be like.

Then I went grocery shopping on my way home from church (never realized how BUSY Kroger is at 1:00 on Sunday afternoons), came home and rested/ watched TV for awhile, went to the gym, cleaned my apartment, and made these really tasty spinach, onion, and goat cheese stuffed meatballs with a cranberry barbeque sauce, which I had with whipped sweet potatoes. I usually do all my cooking for the week on Sunday and Monday nights so I don't have to come home at 7pm every single weeknight and still have to worry about making dinner, so I'm probably going to do a little more cooking yet tonight. I'm also on a campaign to use up all the food in my fridge/ not waste anything, so right now I'm making a miniature apple tart with salted caramel sauce to use up the last two apples I have that are just slightly past their prime. I'll have to see how that turns out . . .

I'm not sure yet whether to totally take a break tomorrow or to use the day to get caught up on things--or maybe a little bit of both. I hope you all are enjoying your weekends!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

When to Stop Setting Goals

I've had a pretty exciting week so far--besides a good start to the semester overall, I just found out that the paper I wrote last semester on patent protection in biotechnology is going to be published, so I'm happy about that. It's no great American novel or anything, but it is exciting to be able to officially "be a published author"--something I've wanted to be for a really long time. It was pretty satisfying to pull up my goals list and check that one off!

And that started me thinking about goal-setting in general, and about how making and pursuing goals is a really big part of my life. In fact, I make goals on many different occasions--the new year, a new semester, the start of summer, my birthday, a new month, and you get the idea. And while I don't think there's anything wrong with that, and in fact it keeps me motivated and makes me want to work harder, I've started thinking that it can be possible to set goals and plan out your life so obsessively that you almost push God out of it, and that's something I want to make sure I stay away from. The biggest goal we can have is still so much smaller than God's plans for our lives! God can do more in you, through you, with you, and for you than you could EVER plan for and more than your biggest goals could EVER reflect. Your goals for your own life are miniscule compared to what the God of the universe wants to do in your life, if you'll allow Him to do so.

Whatever you do, don't fall into the trap of thinking that God's plan for you is only as big as your plan for yourself. Your most farfetched, wildest dream for your life is only a drop in the bucket compared to what God dreams for you. Don't settle for simply setting and meeting your own goals when the Lord wants to pull you out of your comfort zone, continually surprise you with His goodness and mercy, and lead you into His dynamic and divine plans for your life, which are greater than what you can dream up or set goals about. Don't be so focused on your own plan that you miss greater things for your life. Cultivate your capacity for awe--awe at how deeply you are loved, at how exciting, unexpected, and wonderful God's dreams for you truly are, at how great His thoughts about you are, and at the fact that the One who keeps the planets in orbit cares to know your name.

Everyone's talking and blogging about coming up with a "word" or phrase to define your year in 2013. I've read a lot of people's choices: abundance, joy, revival, etc. My 2013 phrase? "Awestruck wonder." Because living out God's dreams is living in a place where the amazing becomes ordinary, where heaven meets earth, where the oceans part and the mountains move--and that's something to be in awe of every day.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

4th Semester of Law School!

Well, I'm finally back and ready for my 4th semester of law school . . . I am really excited about what the next few months have in store.

I'll be taking classes in intellectual property, domestic relations, wills, trusts, & estates, and statutory law, along with an advanced writing group, Moot Court, and law review.

On Thursday, I drove back here from NC and also met with some of the people at the firm I'll be working at this summer, Friday I had a Moot Court workshop, and then this weekend I've mostly been organizing, cleaning out tons of stuff to give to Goodwill, and just generally getting my life in order. I literally took a whole carload of stuff to Goodwill yesterday. I have NO idea how I fit that many unnecessary items in my small apartment in the first place! And given some of the junk I donate (half-burned candles, old socks, a broken hairdryer, you get the idea), I feel like the Goodwill employees probably run away when they see me coming. Oh well, maybe my trash will be somebody's treasure!

After church and a really great Sunday afternoon nap today, I've been rushing around doing laundry, reading for class tomorrow, and doing some cooking for dinners this week (on my menu: crockpot Mexican chicken soup and spinach quiche).

This weekend I received this sweet letter written in French from the little girl I sponsor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo . . . thankfully there was an English translation to go with it or I would have been so lost, but this is definitely going on my fridge!

As I begin this semester, I'm trying to keep in mind all the goals and dreams I have for the months and the year ahead. To that end, I hung this poster I made above my desk to keep reminding me of the kind of person I want to be:

And finally, I designed a little "prayer nook" in my apartment this weekend to remind me to stop, relax, and rest in the Lord, especially when life gets crazy:

I hope you all have had wonderful weekends and feel ready to dive into the week ahead . . . thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Holiday Pictures

Just in case you all were wondering what I've been up to over the past few weeks . . . here are some Christmas vacation pictures! (Many of them taken by my sister. She assured me that she was not overly concerned about her intellectual property rights to these photos!)

Our family's Christmas tree

Christmas dinner: stuffed pork loin, rosemary grape focaccia bread, chocolate almond butter tart
my sister and me wearing our matching snowflake pajama pants, enjoying one of several Christmas movies we watch every single year
my 5 (and a half) year high school reunion! SO good to catch up with old friends!
impromptu end-of-year trip to DC
cupcakes at The Sweet Lobby, a fantastic DC bakery
delicious brunch in Richmond
getting ready to ring in the New Year!
this funny list was what my sister's neighbors "wanted to leave behind in 2012!" haha!

Cheers to 2013!!

New Year, Fresh Start

Welcome to 2013! Joining everyone else in their New Years' Resolution blog posts, here are some goals I have for 2013 . . . some serious, some not so serious.

1) Refuse to allow anyone else to determine how happy I have a right to be. No one can steal my joy, and no one else has the ability to decide my attitude.

2) Know when it's ok to settle and when it's not. I have a right to be picky when it comes to my future--and so do you!

3) Watch all ten seasons of Friends at some point this year.

4) Read 50 high-quality books this year (which may sound like a lot, but really, one book a week is not impossible).

5) Run a half-marathon.

6) Improve this blog, gain new readers, and produce more and significantly better content.

7) Kindly, gently, but firmly, release myself from emotionally toxic, fake "friendships," and refuse to feel guilty about doing so. That doesn't mean treating these people rudely, never speaking to them again, or not wishing the best for them . . . but life is way too short to waste tons of emotional energy on people who aren't genuine, who only care about their own image, who are self-absorbed, who ignore you, etc.--and who are probably never going to change. This goes for any kind of relationship, but sometimes, you have to realize that the person you want someone to be, or the person that you thought they were, or the person that they could be, is simply not the person that they ARE. And you have to act accordingly.

8) The flip side of that--invest myself in genuine, deep friendships, and let my family and friends know how much I care about them on a very regular basis.

9) Do well in my law school classes and activities and make decisions I feel good about concerning what I want to do and where I want to do it post-graduation.

10) Work on being more: Assertive. Tenacious. Authentic. Compassionate.