The Struggle for Meaning

Ahh.  The age old question of meaning.  What is the point of life?

A big reason as to why I decided to become a one year AMI intern is because the 9-to-5 dutiful, church-going daughter role just didn't strike me as meaningful enough.  4 months into the internship and I still found myself wondering, why?  Why any of this?  Why is there so much suffering?

What Am I Doing with My Life?

*  I received this book from
Blogging for Books for this review
I feel like I have been discontent with life since a young age.  I'm always wondering where I should be, what I should be doing.  My friend gave me What Color is Your Parachute? a few years ago because she knew I was grappling with such questions.  It was good to revisit this book in the latest version.  Given that the topic itself can be overwhelming, Mr. Bolles does a great job in breaking things down chapter by chapter with the right kind of questions and exercises, even letting you know the variety of resources available whether you want printouts or to take quizzes online.  It's a very well and thoroughly researched book.  I especially like The Blue Pages at the back.


*  I received this book from
Blogging for Books for this review
Beloved means dearly or greatly loved.  I love the sound of the word.  As a child of God, I should not feel jealous or sad that I am not any one person's beloved.  I hoped that You Are Beloved  would help calm the frenzied voices in my head when they tell me that I am a lone wolf in my blood and bones.  From the get-go, it crushed the romantic daydreams I had of being beloved and reminded me that I am beloved because I am in Christ.

Become the Beloved
As long as "being the Beloved" is little more than a beautiful thought or a lofty idea that hangs above my life to keep me from becoming depressed nothing really changes.  What is required is to become the Beloved in the commonplaces of my daily existence, and bit by bit to close the gap that exists between what I know myself to be and the countless realities of everyday life.  Becoming the Beloved is pulling the truth revealed to me from above down into the ordinariness of what I am thinking of, talking about, and doing from hour to hour.
- Life of the Beloved

I've never heard of Henri J. M. Nouwen before and this book pulls key passages from his previous works.  Below are some other excerpts which have given me something to think about. 

Finally, a Great Fashion Coloring Book

*  I received this book from
Blogging for Books for this review
I've got about 3 adult coloring books since the whole trend started.  It's therapeutic and an easy thing to multi-task while watching TV or something.  But then, I feel like if I'm spending this much time on it, I wish that it was something nice that I could put on my wall.  That's where New York Street Style comes in.

Despite the title, it's got a good variation of not just fashion pages but prints and city street shots too.    There is no perforation so you have to rip out the page carefully and cut the rough edge.*  The paper is thick so you don't need to worry about pages bleeding if you wanna use markers instead of colored pencils.  In the future, I may wanna use water color on these, but I'm not sure how the paper will react to water.

* Just a note if you have the same idea I do to color and post them in frames.

Winning All the Time

*  I received this book from
Blogging for Books for this review
In case you didn't know already, I have moved to Cincinnati for the year as part of a church internship.  There are four other interns besides me, not to mention staff and lay leaders.  Being around so many people, I wanted to educate myself on how to better interact with them.  I believe, and have been affirmed, that I am a very direct person.  I definitely don't care for fostering relationships when it comes to getting things done.  In the beginning, I was apologizing to teammates pretty regularly because of something I had said.

This book has helped tremendously in that I actively seek to make interactions win-win now.  I am trying to not boss people around and thinking more logically about how can we achieve a solution.

This isn't a book I could rush through.  There were so many tactics provided and it was supremely helpful that there was an example and counter provided for each tactic, whether the negotiations pertained to business or personal.  The index in the back is helpful as well for a quick refresher since there were some tactics that were recommended time and time again.

Seven-Mile Miracle

I got this book a little before Easter and was hoping to finish it in time for Easter Sunday.  It was a novel concept to me to study Jesus' last words.  Unfortunately, I found this book hard to get into.  I stopped somewhere in chapter 3 and only recently picked it back up again.  It's written in an informal tone (sometimes unnecessarily so).  And I thought the font change in between chapters was a little distracting.  I'd recommend parsing out a chapter a day but reading it within a week or two.  It puts into perspective Jesus' sacrifice and fulfillment of the prophecies.  It would be a great book for beginning believers.  There are questions posed at the beginning of every chapter too so it would be a good read for a book club as well.


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review

Emotional Baggage

I recently met someone very open and intense.  He hinted about things in his past that were ugly and dark.  We had only talked 5 times total.  And I wondered, "Why are you telling me this?"  Perhaps I should have been flattered.  That he'd trust me with these intimate details about his life.

But mostly, it made me think about how much I keep to myself.  My emotions don't fit in a dainty little purse, but a sack as big as the one Santa carries over his shoulder.  I probably carry more emotional baggage than the average person.  Not because I've had a traumatic childhood or that hard a life but because I've never gotten good at lightening my load.

I am too much of an introvert.  An internalizer.  Only when asked and even then, I might decline to answer the questioner.  Because I didn't want to burden anyone or let them come too close to me.  For I remember a dinner I had with a boy.  In which he asked about my family.  And I answered honestly.  And he looked surprised and said that I was surprisingly cheerful considering what I'd been through.  I smiled, but I didn't know my history had been so tragic until he had said it.

Sense and Seasons

you tasted like sunshine
like pennies on the tongue
and regrets

You've Got Nothing To Prove

*  I received this book from
Blogging for Books for this review
I came upon this book at a very apt time in life.  Where I was feeling burnt out on Christianity.  Going to church every Sunday and even serving on multiple ministries.  But feeling tired all the time and knowing that there had to be more to life than this.  Guilt and shame and go, go, go!

Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen was so refreshing to read.  She assures readers that we are NOT enough.  None of us.  And the blessed reassurance we get is that that is OKAY.  Because Jesus is enough.  More than enough to cover all of our sins and shortcomings.  I have a mentor who tells me repeatedly to bask in the goodness of God and quit worrying and overthinking.  To pursue joy and this book hit upon all these things.  Nothing to Prove is a great reminder that the point of Christianity is in Christ alone.  So you can stop trying so hard.

A Brief Glimpse from a Young Woman's Perspective

I lost a friend today.
It was very unfortunate.
At first it was the same as usual
but as we walked to your car
I realized you were a bit too eager to see me.

The usual back pat turned into a stroke
and I found myself frozen
but smiling at you all the same
because you know...
I didn't want to make things weird.

As I chatter to keep my anxiety from showing
you interrupt and ask me about my T-shirt
leering down my rib cage to my belly button.
"Jesus I sing for all that you've done for me,"
you mutter, while I wonder whether you care about that at all.

"Oh, so you go to church?" you ask
and I say, "Yes, I do!"
"That's good!" you say and stroke my back again.
My body tells me to run but I refrain.
I say bye and turn to walk away.

You grab my hand and say,
"How about a hug?"
Before I can reply, you lean in.
Head under mine. I stiffen
but let myself be held.
Chest to breast instead of the usual quick side brush.

"You are nice. You are good.
We help each other," you say smiling.
This time he lets me free
and drives off,
leaving me with the heebie jeebies.

Daily Painting

2016 passed with a whole lot of ruckus and a very little substance.

*  I received this book from Blogging for Books for review
I had big dreams that it was going to be the year that I was going to be more creative.  I jumped from a job in finance to one in stationery.  And then, I've been coasting on neutral since.  At least now I'm in the creative field.

I don't have enough confidence to be a writer yet so I've been reading a lot of books instead.  And for a couple months, I've been having the urge to try art again.  So, I read this book called Daily Painting.

Since I haven't found my own style yet, I was hoping to glean some creative inspiration to find my own signature.  Unfortunately, the medium this author works in was primarily oil.  And there were a lot of still lifes as examples, which is not really my cup of tea.  But her advice about getting out of creative ruts and just the effect of daily painting in her life was insightful, and it could apply to other creative fields like writing or whathaveyou.  So, the book hasn't pushed me enough to start painting daily but it is a good book to have on the bookshelf as a persistent reminder of how it is to be an artist.  I think once I buy myself a desk, I'll start painting.  Perhaps not daily but weekly.  At least, I hope.

Who Are You?

The question as of late is, "Where have you been!?"

I've been mostly at home or working, but always deep in thought.  As a refresher, here is me in alphabetical order.

Fashion-minded (because i wouldn't consider myself fashionable per se)
Jovial (trying to be more of this)
Klassy (which is to say that my fashion choices are sometimes not)
Queer (as in a bit strange. not LGBT-LMNOP)
eXtra special
Zags instead of Zips

Write one yourself!  I want to read if yours sounds as all over the place as mine does.  Try to not include synonyms and not change adjectives that may not sound that positive.  I think it's a great mental exercise!


At lunch today, we played personality quizzes.

In a table full of peaceful and deep blues and greens, I chose yellow.  And described it as bright, warm, and playful.

While most everyone chose the water element, I chose fire.  For it renews, offers light, and is warm.

When told to imagine being in a white room by myself with no windows or door and no explanation, I said that I'd be curious.  Naturally, I'd wonder, "Why am I here?"  Then, I'd be excited because my mind immediately thought of the scene in The Matrix where columns rush past and disappear.  And you know something strange and life-altering will happen.  No one could see me in that place so I'd run around like a fool and sing until my throat hurt.  I'd assume no one would know where I was.  I'd feel peaceful for this reason and just ease into sleep along the edge of one of the walls.

What did this reveal about me?