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Zinnias

You can't buy happiness...
but you can plant it.

IMG_2458 IMG_2459 IMG_2467I always get excited when these bright, happy faces start peeking out of my garden. So beautiful!

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Rejoicing in suffering

Last week, four of my speech pathology friends and I piled our stuff into a car for a road trip. Risking fog, snow, and tumbleweeds, we drove to Colorado for the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA)  annual convention. We joined approximately 14,000 other women (oh yeah, and a handful of men) for several days of nerding out about speech-language pathology and audiology. It was so fun to go on this adventure with some great friends and to learn more about this amazing field I’ve chosen.

I’ll spare you the nerdy details about the sessions I went to about co-teaching, counseling parents, treating patients with spinal cord injuries, and working with kids who have craniofacial anomalies.

One thing that stood out to me was the opening session by Kelly McGonigal on stress and dealing with challenges in life. She discussed several research studies that looked at how people cope with trials in life. Research shows that we are better able to deal with stress if we acknowledge it instead of trying to avoid it. One interesting study had participants sit with a family member or close friend who was about to have surgery. Half of the participants were told to think about how stressful the situation was and to take their worry out on a stress ball. The other participants were told to focus instead on the other person and that person’s pain. Instead of a stress ball, these people were told to hold their loved one’s hand.

Results from these studies showed that the best way to deal with challenging situations is to acknowledge the stress, think about the purpose behind the situation, and to focus on other people and their pain. When we do this, we still perceive pain but not as much as when we try to ignore it. Also, studies show that thinking this way results in neurological changes in our brain. People become more resilient, hopeful, and stronger because of these trials.

As Kelly McGonigal used words like “perseverance” and “hope” to describe how difficult situations can make us better people, I thought of these verses from Romans:

IMG_1690God promises that trials will lead to perseverance, character, and hope. He is able to promise this, first of all, because He is God. He gives us the Holy Spirit to supernaturally bless and strengthen us in the middle of stressful situations. After listening to Kelly McGonigal, I was struck by the idea that He can also promise this because he has neurologically set us up to respond in this way. When we are in the middle of stressful situations, God has given us a way to positively cope with trials by focusing on others and persevering to become a better person. He takes the bad and turns it for good. That doesn’t mean we won’t feel pain, but He’s given us the means to grow despite the pain. As a result, we can rejoice in our suffering.

We live in a world where science is too often viewed as the rival to the Bible. I was thrilled and encouraged to discover another example of research aligning with God’s Word.

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Magic in a mug

I just dumped 500 calories in a mug, shoved a piece of Easter candy into the middle, topped it with chocolate chips, and microwaved it for a minute.

It was disgustingly delicious.

I now plan to eat all my Easter candy in this way. Every. Single. Piece.

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In the garden

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The first harvest from our garden! Two lil’ cherry tomatoes!

For those of you who have been enjoying produce from your garden long before now, don’t judge me too harshly. I love working in the garden, but our garden usually doesn’t start producing until late summer. Typically right before the first frost. I’m blaming it on the limited light our garden gets. So getting TWO tomatoes before July? That’s pretty exciting.

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Old books: The Chronicles of Narnia

C.S. Lewis is without a doubt one of my favorite authors, so I always get excited when I find copies of his books (even if I already have the books). A few months ago, I found these beautiful copies of Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia at a used bookstore. They may not be first editions or worth much, but I love them! They are early 1960’s editions, but I’m missing The Magician’s Nephew!!! So if anyone finds a copy of The Magician’s Nephew that looks like these, I want it!

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The Chronicles of Narnia

Mr. Thomas at the lamppost.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader...my favorite!

Voyage of the Dawn Treader…my favorite!

 

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Summer is here!

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After a few busy weeks of work, vacation Bible school, and a class on cleft palate, I feel like summer is finally starting! Which means summer reading in an attempt to chip away at my endless “to read” list.

The spring semester was a wonderful few months of finishing school, working with my first client in the speech-language clinic, applying and getting accepted into grad school, working with my amazing K-2nd graders at church, leading a Bible study of lovely ladies, and playing violin on worship team.

I’m in the process of updating my reading list with the books I’ve been reading this year and hope to post more this summer so stay tuned!

 

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