Valentine’s Day: Obligation or Opportunity

Guilt, manipulation, obligation, duty, stress, consumerism, and a stupid invention of Hallmark and Cadbury; These are the words that I have often heard people associate with Valentine’s Day.  TIME Magazine understands how you feel and can give you an entertaining and brief history of the commercial side.

Fact: Selfish people impose a sense of material obligation on their significant others. (Seriously… stop catering to this.  Confront this kind of behavior as you would a 7 year old… or break up, it’s NOT going to work.)

Historical FACT: St. Valentine was a Martyr who died for His faith. The holiday (albeit with the help of capitalism and clever marketing) is actually meant to be a remembrance of his passion for justice, his love for God, and willingness to defy the emperor so that young love could marry.

THE OPPORTUNITY

This Holiday is a perfect opportunity to show people around you that you love them. Encourage them! Give cards that make people smile. Like these!

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Give your Dad some candy and buy your Mom flowers. If you have a significant other – you hopefully know how to show them you appreciate them. You do this not because you HAVE to, but because you WANT to. February 14th is the perfect opportunity to SHOW love.

Why I Participate in Lent

In the Christian tradition we remember…

40 Days Jesus Christ wandered in the wilderness, preparing to start the season of Ministry. He was tempted and chose to be obedient.

The reason: Because of His love for you and me.

So I take these 40 days to do something that draws me closer to God. I use these days to give up bad habits and try to instill good ones. By taking even these small actions of personal disciplines, I am choosing to follow Jesus. Choosing obedience just as He did out in the wilderness.

For the season of Lent 2016:

I am taking on memorizing Bible verses… I am looking to the Book of Ephesians. We’ll see how much I can really put in my heart in 40 days.

I am giving up my caffeine dependency! *Important clarification: I will be having tea and coffee, but I will be drinking socially and as a treat rather than out of necessity. If you know me, I lean more towards a pot of coffee a day! The point: reminding myself that I only need to be dependent on Jesus.

What are YOU taking on or giving up for Lent?

Oxford Never Gets Old

Ancient spires holding centuries of wisdom and knowledge with dusty books and growing ideas…
IMG_1537Faith, science, and reason take walks together in the proudly manicured parks and quads – benefitting from the perspective of each other.

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It forever will be a place for dreams to come true. Where time stands still and magic is realized in stone, bronze, and ink.

We shall meet again… I can feel it! 
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And of course the little Hobbit size places just right for someone such as myself!

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P.s. It doesn’t GET old – it is always old… and always NEW at the same time!

Megabus… meant for small wallets… literally.

The rough distance between Cambridge and Oxford is 84 miles.

The trip on a bus takes around 2 hours.

The price of that bus ticket through Megabus.co.uk can be found for 3 Pounds Sterling!

Thats LESS than 5 U.S. Dollars! (I pay 5$ most days to commute to and from work.)

Megabus is an insanely cool bus system that runs throughout the UK. You have to be clever about booking; the more advance the more likely you are to be able to grab a seat so inexpensively. Also check your city because only certain cities go to certain places.

The ONLY down size and my recommendation: USE the restroom BEFORE you get on the bus and not for the usual reasons one might think of in avoiding public restrooms. But rather I must tell you a technical truth here – the Toilets are made for people with no more than a size 6 MAYBE a size 8 hiney! Seriously, when they were making buses in the 80’s-90’s the average British behind must have been VERY small. That being suggested = GO MegaBUS!

“London: Underconstruction”

BEWARE London in Tourist Season

They need a poster in the airport that says “London: Underconstruction”

And another one that says BEWARE Tourists!!! EVERYWHERE!!!

(I make an exception for myself since even though I was rolling my bag, wearing a backpack, and doing ALL of the touristy things immediately – such as getting cash just so I can use the Loo in Victoria Station and get a coffee – you know the essentials.)

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After figuring out which tube I needed to take and when I needed to be where, I paid my 50p and used the Loo (Public Restrooms) to freshen up and change my clothes, then I had to get away from the quickly awakening hub in Victoria Station.

I walked in the direction of the Apollo Theater – Home to London’s Broadway show of WICKED. (Which I HIGHLY recommend seeing. My sister and I saw it there 6 years ago. So great!) Just beyond the theatre, I found a street map and walked in the direction of Westminister Cathedral. 2 streets later the tourists had disappeared and I found a magical place – Upper Tachbrook Street. Go there! My first stop was a little Italian deli where an Italian man served me a beautiful cappuccino with cinnamon sprinkled on top.

I continued down the street to find there is a wonderful local market. I tasted the best falafel I have EVER had and bought fresh and inexpensive fruit for the next leg of my journey. I then spent the rest of my time wandering past the shops and market stands that were just setting up. Absolutely PERFECT way to refresh from travelling.

Never Stop Exploring

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I’ve heard it said that there is nothing left to discover… I disagree.

Every day holds something new to me.
Have I met you? Have you heard my story? Can I see what you see? Would I ever grow tired of seeing Mt. Rainier? Have you seen her sleeping head with white hair dazzling over purple peaks? Does the ancient brilliance of Oxford ever lose its radiant brilliance? Does the wild fragrance of plumeria in Oahu heighten your sense romance? Is the golden maple syrup in Quebec richer than Vermont’s?

I am free to ask the questions these questions. I celebrate God’s gift of freedom by pursuing with passion daily new delights. I will never stop exploring.

What delights you today?

15 Personal Facts

Why 15 facts??? Because a good friend sent me that facebook personal fact thing and 15 is half of 30. (Read on and you’ll find out why that is important. Also, tomorrow is the 15th and a very important day!)

 

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1. I’m turning 30 tomorrow! (Hence the reason for 15 personal facts – because my birthday is on the 15th.)

 

2. I wake up everyday with joy – simply because Jesus loves me and I know it.

 

3. My siblings are the most creative people I know. (If you’ve met them, you know its true!)

 

4. I just started taking piano lessons!

 

5. I played roller hockey for 4 years.

 

6. My soon-to-be sister-in-law has named me “Honest Annie” for obvious reasons.

 

7. My favorite number is 73.

 

8. My first kiss was when I was about 7 because my friend and I wanted to know what it was like. She and I agreed that we would grow up to be good kissers 😉

 

9. I studied Christian Apologetics for a year at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics in Oxford, England.

 

10. I’ve been in love and had my heart broken… and my life is deeper and more beautiful for it.

 

11. I’ve been babysitting/nannying for 18 years.

 

12. I am ridiculously fond of my orange cat named after the british pottery, Denby.

 

13. I find four leaf clovers all the time.

14. I have insatiable curiosity – I never run out of questions.

 

15. I have more fun on the average day than most people I know… because my life is extraordinary!

 

A Valentine Story: Prince, Knave, or Dragon

For all of my friends – who should be receiving cutesy Valentine’s Cards from me – I make no excuses. Instead, I give you this story and hope it makes you laugh.

Love ~ Me

~

Once Upon a Time

… there was a beautiful, optimistic Princess.

She spent delightful seasons of life dreaming about her someday Prince. (Along with a few other dreams like going on quests, writing clever books, singing new songs, and solving big problems – while wearing beautiful shoes.)

The princess grew up and is enjoying her quests – dreaming and writing and singing and doing.

She met a Prince here, a Knave there…

and

The impressions they left were lasting.

Which is why,

this Valentine’s Day, she would rather be in the company of Dragons.

~ The End ~

Herbert & Princess