Whatever is Pure

Sometimes I like to read trashy, mindless novels. Not the kind that evoke romantic emotion or suspense, but just the ones that tell a story, usually about an independent and recently divorced woman who is in the midst of making her life what she wants it to be. Those are the good ones.

I like to watch a few T.V. shows, albeit online. We try to pick decently wholesome and entertaining shows, though there’s probably a question of how wholesome they are on a regular basis.

I don’t like a lot of Christian music. I just think most of what you hear on the radio is really lame and predictable, and stylistically I just can’t dig it. Plus God isn’t lame or predictable. So I listen to what I want.

Sometimes I get bored with regular conversation and gossip is the only way out of it.

And then there’s this:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.

I don’t really have to dwell on these things in order for them to affect who I am becoming. They don’t even, in themselves, have to be bad things. But little by little, they creep into my heart and I suddenly realize that it’s much easier for me to curse more often. Homosexuality has become hilarious. Kissing someone other than your spouse isn’t really cheating. Gossip is just telling the facts. Jealousy is fine as long as you’re not too violent, and everyone is bitter. It’s just part of life.

My thoughts reflect what I’m reading. My words reflect what I watch and what I hear. And it all comes out in my interactions with other people, with my husband, with my family, with complete strangers. I feel like I can fake it pretty well- I can pull off the sweet demeanor long enough to make you my friend. But if you stick around for long enough, if you really get me going on one topic or another, you’ll see my true heart. And my heart is usually a mixture of what I’m taking in at the moment. Good or bad.

How do you balance being in the world without being of the world? What’s okay and what’s off limits? How do you decide?

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Saturday Links

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I do not understand this man who writes best-seller after best-seller and rock-climbs in the dark. Nor do I understand the level of discipline he exudes, but this article tries to explain all of it.

This short article offers so many questions about the future of education in America…and not so many answers. Just how we like it.

Are you following this blog? You should be.

Photo Attribution: Capitol | Dream | Watch

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Signing Off For 10 Days

We’re out of here for nearly a fortnight. Today, we’re headed up to Stillwater for a Thursday night affair with Texas A&M and then tomorrow it’s on to Colorado for some fly fishing, book reading, and general relaxing (Jen’s exhausted from 4 days at her new job).

Don’t worry though, the posts will go on! 365 days is 365 days. Or it’s 525,600 minutes, but you get the point. We interviewed each other, taped another SportsMentor (to go along with #1, #2, and #3), left some links, and there’ll even be a surprise guest post mixed in at some point. Stay tuned. Until then, though, this is what’s exciting us about our first vacation as a married couple (and with the in-laws :)):

Fly-fishing with the father-in-law. If this ends badly a simple RIP on my Facebook wall will suffice.
Reading this, this, this, and this (even though we’ll probably only get 10 pages in on the last one before keeling over for lack of theological insight).
Helping sister-in-law set up her Scentsy booth at a fun festival in La Veta.
This.
Running for fun in the mountains rather than out of necessity for my workout.
Working on some super-secret new content for this blog. Pins and needles baby.

Peace out until next Sunday, enjoy the posts every day…and feel free to talk amongst yourselves via the comments section while we’re gone.

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The Book Nook

Lately I’ve been book obsessed. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I remain unemployed with little to do besides housework and grocery shopping. And reading. Today, I share two of my new favorites that I can’t stop talking about.

1. Stepping Heavenward

I hesitate to write about this book for fear I won’t do it justice and no girl will want to read it. And you all need to. First published in 1869, it’s a fictional account of a young woman from childhood through adulthood, as told by her journal. It has the strength and charm of a Jane Austen novel, but with an element of vulnerability as she struggles daily to become more like Christ. It was such a different time, but the struggles are the same as mine today. A friend recently mailed me a copy because reading it made her want to be a better wife and mother. Read it. I know you’ll love it.

2. The Handmade Marketplace

I have to give the disclaimer that I’m not even halfway finished with this book, but if you’re wanting to start your own small business, this is the book to read. It walks you through getting started, creating a brand, networking, marketing, selling, and a lot more. A must have for anyone has ever entertained the idea of taking their creativity (painting, sewing, or making googly-eyed peanuts) to the next level.

And of course I’m always wanting more. What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

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Saturday Roundup

We got a few requests this week: a good list of blogs we read (started that on the right) and more pictures on the Saturday roundup, check that one off too. Anything else you guys want to see on here, @ us on Twitter or send  an email. We need the accountability, trust me 🙂

Enjoy your weekend.

Groveling I tell you.....

[Starting clockwise from the top…you can click on the pictures OR the links below]

Seth Godin had a great and seemingly insightful post yesterday on being inspired.

A story we heard on NPR. Take 5 minutes and listen to the audio part, it’s so much more powerful than the text.

If you haven’t read this book yet, please do, I’m begging you, I’m groveling. Really I am, Jen’s staring at me, I’m on the floor on my knees typing this out.

Photo Attribution: Glasses | Umbrellas | Book

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Blogging

We’ve been talking about this blog a lot lately. That sounds a lot more arrogant when I lead with it than it did when I was writing this post in my head. I should clarify, we’ve been experiencing some emotional breakdowns weight on account of our 365 day promise. Blogging is difficult. I think it’s a lot harder than writing. Brevity was never a strong characteristic of mine.

We have, in a strange sense, been challenged by the very existence of our own blog in the last few weeks. When we sit down to read blogs we like to experience something special or something creative or something insightful. In turn we want to provide that on our own blog. We want to live that so we can blog about it. It keeps us on our toes. It forces us to create more and think more and do more in real life because nobody wants to read 25 straight posts about us watching TV shows or sitting on the couch. We don’t want that to be our story either. When you blog about your life every day you start paying closer attention to what you do with your time and the wasteful moments become far more abhorrent.

[uhhh hold on…my wife just brought me one of these guys…I gotta take a quick break]

The hard part has been going out and creating a legitimate story rather than just doing random intriguing stuff because we need something to blog about. This blog has been a catalyst of a lot of the events taking place in our lives over the last few months. Let me explain: we don’t go see cool movies so we can tell you what we saw and we don’t buy new books so we can show you what we read. However, we have been choosing non-traditional methods of living, finding better hobbies, creating more thoughtful ideas, and asking harder questions about why we do what we do. We’ve been asking a lot of questions.

Without the blog, does any of that happen? I don’t know.

There’s a quote above the Oklahoma State training room in Gallagher-Iba Arena that goes like this, “if something isn’t difficult and you don’t have to work hard then you won’t care whether you win or lose.” I don’t really know what our “win” is on this blog but I know that if you’re inspired to become more like the Lord because of any single word we’ve typed on here then all the hours we’ve pumped into it are completely worth it. And if our story becomes better because of it…well, all the better.

Why are we writing this post? Mostly for ourselves. Do we think each of you should start a blog? Maybe. More than that we think you should find something that forces you to live a more thoughtful, creative story.

What is that thing for you? What forces you to live rather than to just exist?

Oh, and my tipping point for writing all this? See below:

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Letters in the Mail

My wife got a letter in the mail today. Like, a hand-written, pen and paper, genuine letter. I sat back in my chair as she cheerily tore into it and devoured its contents. Then she said something curious, “letters in the mail are so much better because you only have so much space so you have to convey your words with precision and meaning.” Ok, she didn’t say it exactly like that, but that’s what she meant.

If you’re reading this post and you’ve met me there’s roughly a 50% chance you’ve received a note or letter from me in the mail. It would have been in all capital letters (somebody forgot to turn my internal caps lock off as a kid) and I likely would have jammed my name in the bottom right corner because I hate being confined by finite white space.

Jen’s probably right though, brief is always better than rambling (kind of makes this post ironic, huh?).

Anyway, my parents always bribed us with Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books forced us as kids to write thank you notes and letters. It made me annoyed at them (maybe it still does?) but I thank them for it now because I think it’s one of the places I developed my love for writing.

This isn’t about me though (actually, technically it is since my mug is plastered all over the pages of the URL you just typed in…but whatever). It’s about the fact that letter writing is a dying art and I want to know why.

There’s something innately mysterious about seeing your name in dried ink on the front of an envelope. It’s hard to explain. It’s kind of like the first time you go on a date with a girl or the feeling you get when you buy a book you’ve been dying for. You don’t know what the future holds but in that moment it can be anything you can imagine.

The future of letter writing though, who knows? Where’s it going? Where’s it gone? Do we not have enough time? Do we think writing on the web is better because it is, theoretically, endless? Is it too expensive?

I want your thoughts. Best theory gets a letter from me. It’ll be short. Unlike this post.

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9 Things We’ll Always Buy Used

Houses – When my wife says she “cherishes character over shiny new things” all I hear is money swirling down our vintage, century-old leaky drain. It’s ok though, I can live with that because she’s not kidding, old really is better than new. We just have to choose the right kind of old.

Cars – This is more of a financial decision than anything else.

Furniture – I’m not going to say we’re NEVER going to buy new furniture, but that’s the mindset right now. Like, if I get into a 3-car accident with Dirk and Mark Cuban tomorrow and they both write me a blank check I’m not opposed to purchasing a few leather accessories (that sounds terrible) to sit on. Honestly though? I prefer the junk my wife buys for pennies on the dollar and refurbishes. I also like building furniture. Although bookselves and desks that would take a normal person 3-4 hours take me 4-5 months…

Books – You can one-up the “buy it used” mantra here. Just trade for it. Or get it for free.

Baby clothes – We don’t talk about this one. In fact, why are we still on this, let’s move on.

Artwork – Every time we’re in Target I find myself staring at their artwork thinking “ooohh that looks so original and awesome, let’s buy it.” Then I become cognizant of the fact that 2,000 other people did the exact same thing at Targets around the nation that day. So it’s not awesome and it’s definitely not original. So we don’t even buy artwork used…we just make it.

Golf clubs – I’m not hitting a 3-iron pure whether it’s used, slightly used, brand new, or Ben Hogan himself forged the metal with which it was made…so I might as well go cheap.

DVDs – Buying new DVDs feels like buying toilet paper, you’re rarely (hopefully) using either one more than once. With the advent of Redbox, Netflix, and Hulu what have DVDs become other than placeholders for home collections? And DVD collections are SO 2002.

Big people clothes – This is one we’ve been discussing for a few days. We’re thinking about not purchasing any new clothing for the next year. I just asked Jen if that meant I couldn’t buy a polo at The Masters next year. She said “you’re the one who made the rule” in one of those voices that makes you want to climb a large tree and jump head first into a pool of seething tar. So I guess that’s that. I’m sure we’ll revisit this paragraph multiple times over the next 11 months…(personal caveat: I’ve been told that shoes and undergarments are the only two things we’re allowed to purchase new – and I thought I was making the rules!)

Enjoy “The Decision” – we won’t be watching.

What kind of stuff do you always buy used?

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Monday Book Giveaway

Enough about us. We want to thank YOU, the people who have been reading, so we’re giving away a book about love today.

Here’s how it works: all you have to do is click on “comments” below and post a comment telling us what your favorite thing about Mondays is.

That’s it.

We will randomly select a winner tonight and email them so they can choose from two of our faves below…

Mystery of Marriage – Hands down the best book either of us has ever read about love, marriage, and maybe even Christianity. It seems like every other sentence could be a chapter in and of itself. Unbelievably profound read.
          

Sheet Music – This one came highly recommended from some of our best married friends, and with good reason. It’s the perfect “we’re Christians and we’re about to get married and do stuff we’ve never done before even though we don’t feel old enough to do it because we giggle every time someone says a word you’d find in an anatomy book” book. It’s also good if you have done it, aren’t a Christian, and don’t giggle at anatomy book words.

It should be noted that we both read both of these books while we were single so you can’t play the “I’m not married so I can’t participate in the giveaway” card. Well, you can, but you shouldn’t. Oh, and if you already have both of them then we’ll send you something different!

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Engagement Week (Part 5)

Clue #5

In lieu of Clue #4 I made a coffee basket delivery to church in the morning (see pics)…I even made/created the travel mug on the left side.

Clue #5

This was the clue on the inside:

Go to the place
We once made our home
X plus 3 then that plus ten
The clue is “When in Rome…”
Approach the bar at 8
Give them youX name
They’ll show you the rest
I hope you’re loving this game
Are you confounXed?
CXn you not see?
The place Xou must go
Is a place people ski

Aspen Coffee is the answer of course. X plus 3 then that plus 10 is the address (1323, “when in Rome” = Roman numerals). So she’ll go there tomorrow night and I will have already been there. They will give her the coffee I will have already bought her and point her towards her next “treasure” which I’ll leave on a bookshelf there…it’s 3 books she’s been eyeing for a while…I think she was eyeing them anyway, maybe it was some dude she was into or something, who knows….

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4