Tag Archives: adventure

Permission to Fail

Every now and then, our church gets together and has a potluck. Because potlucks are fun and festive and it’s always exciting to see what other people bring out of their kitchens. We have a fairly small congregation, so our potlucks are pretty casual. There are egg rolls and shrimp salads and cakes and jello molds and we pile all those things on paper plates and mingle and laugh and chase kiddos around.

*Aforementioned jello. It looks like there’s something wrong with this photo, but no, Jello is just that hard to photograph.

This year, we’re having a special holiday feast potluck, and somehow, I have become “Lord of the Feast.” Guys, I’m in charge of a thing.

It’s not that I don’t want to organize it – it’s that I’m surprised I was asked at all. There are other people at our church who are more organized and better at party planning than I am. And when I say “other people” I mean: it is likely that my toddler would do a better job of organizing this kind of thing, if she had access to email.

Of course, then it would be a My Little Pony themed potluck, so maybe it is all for the best.

In true-to-myself style, I have decided to take something I’m not naturally good at and decide to do a harder version of it. Go big, or go home, right? So, this year, we’re going to have a sit down, candle lit dinner in the sanctuary, after church.

Our pastor Damon, and his wife Guia are wonderful and thoughtful and a little mischievous. They were fully aware I was hesitant to take on this task that a well-caffeinated monkey could do. But the thing they told me that turned around my attitude was this: “give yourself permission to fail.”

The thing is: I’m not a perfectionist by any means. And failure is not something that generally hangs over my head as an end-all-be-all threat. I feel like learning from failure is important and necessary. How else do we learn?

But taking on a project when others would genuinely be so much better at it is… harrowing? intimidating? Hearing that advice from Damon and Guia, and knowing that they just want to have a good time with people they love (and really, isn’t that all we ever really want?) that took a lot of the pressure off.

I’m not planning to fail. I’m not going to shrug it all off until the last minute. But in the (more than likely) event that I overlook an obvious detail – I’m going to extend myself a little grace and be cool with it. If people are fed and have good conversation and the church doesn’t burn down, I’ll call it a success.


I’ll let you know how it goes.


non sequitur in 3 parts

I had some errands to run after work last night, so I stopped off at home and threw on my favorite (of late) t-shirt and some jeans. Aforementioned t-shirt is white with a line drawing of a french bulldog.

Wait, let me see if I can find it online.

Nah, can’t find it exactly, but here’s something that’s reasonably similar:

So half an hour later, I’m wandering around Bed Bath and Beyond in the bedding section and a guy who was getting ready to do some restocking wheeled a 15 foot ladder by me and yelled out,

“HEY! I used to have one of those dogs! He died though.”

He stopped the ladder and peeked around the corner he’d just passed to make sure I’d heard him and to await a response.

“Oh! I’m so sorry!”

“It’s ok.”

And then he wandered away again. After a moment or two, I continued perusing the pillows and duvet covers. I made it all the way over to comforters and bedspreads when the guy came sprinting back over to me just to say,

“We never let him inside the house!”

“Oh that’s…um, why?”

“He was a nervous farter.”

We both enjoyed a good belly laugh and snortle or two, and then went our own ways. I like laughing with strangers.


I find it interesting how often the following phrases are used in social media.

1.) ‘Nuff said. The irony is often lost on the poster themselves. They seem not to realize that “enough” is literally not being said.

2.) Dear______ , Love _______.  I’m guilty of using this one, and I do think it’s occasionally clever. Though, rarely when I use it.

3.) Nothing says ______ like ________.  Example: “Nothing says Christmas like cinnamon raisin cookies!” This truism is often only true for the individual making the statement. For instance, I hate cinnamon raisin cookies and they expressly do NOT say Christmas to me. Occasionally, this phrase could be used with irony, in which case “Nothing says Christmas like cinnamon raisin cookies!” would be funny and true.

4.) Gotta love ______.  Example: “Gotta love waking up to poop spewing out of your toilet at 5:30 in the morning!” Implied irony 98% of the time. Irony omitted only when used incorrectly.


Could anyone else use a nap right now? Come ON Tuesday! For the love.

The happiest place on earth is just inside my ribcage.

Yes, I feel cheesy enough right now to write an embarrassing blog title.

I can’t remember a time when we lived close to family. Visits to see my grandparents and cousins were special occasions – holidays or birthdays, always bookended with long car rides home. In some ways, the distance forced us to make the time together more meaningful with longer hugs, more elaborate meals, more “I love you”s. I’ve always felt a deep love for and from my family…but I’ve also felt far away from them.

As an adult living half a country away, with (wonderful) in-laws living in a whole other region altogether, it’s only gotten harder to bridge that gap.

But sometimes, amazing nuggets of opportunity to connect with family pop up – like this last weekend.  I got to spend time with my cousins Bianca and Laurel, Laurel’s boyfriend Adam, and our baby cousin Nichole. And, for once, living in Southern California worked in my favor because we all met here so we could go to DISNEYLAND. Plus, we got to spend that day with some of my west-coast friend-family – Beck, Ben, Mike and Jessie.

You know that feeling you get right after you open a present on Christmas morning and it’s exactly what you wanted? I had that feeling all weekend.

We got to be silly and have fun, and we got to indulge one little girl and make her feel like a princess all weekend.

Nichole and Bianca - The coldest beach visit EVER.

A thoughtful moment.


So much conviction. So much pretty.

The obligatory teacup ride.

Seconds after I took this picture she said,"That was probably my best smile ever!"

The best part is that this is turning in to a full week of family time. Tomorrow, James and I are going to celebrate our second anniversary with wine and scrabble. On Wednesday, I’ll be flying home to Missouri to spend some time with my parents while my mom is on spring break. I’m going to get to play pool with my Grandpa in Nebraska and spend some sweet time with my Grandma in Iowa. My heart is a deep down kind of happy.

(You can see some of Beck’s awesome pictures of the friends on her blog post here. Somehow, I didn’t get many publishable pictures of the friends – I’m guessing since my camera was trained on Nichole all day. The testament of my friendship is that I’m NOT going to post the most awesome picture of Jessie ever, featuring her showing us how to properly eat a bread bowl.)

Axis of Awesome

James’ phone went missing for two days. We searched everywhere – under couch cushions, in the freezer, the bathroom cupboards, the cars, James looked through his backpack, I dug through my purse, we checked the pockets of pants and jackets that hadn’t been worn in months, we called local businesses, etc. And it was no where to be found.


Yesterday, I got an email from James:

J: Found my phone!!!!!!!

LJ: GREAT! Where was it??

J:  Here’s my theory.

Our house — with you, me, and the Spaghetti monster living in it — has become an axis for all the awesome power in the universe. So much awesome, in fact, that it ripped a hole in the time space continuum and my phone fell into it. For a period of a thousand years (but only two days to us on earth) it fell through wormhole after wormhole, passing through various worlds and times, being worshiped by primitive beings, studied by archeologists of advanced races, and ultimately being swallowed by a Flying Acid-Spewing Tyrannosaurus Rex with a genetically enhanced brain that drives a modified fire engine-red 1957 Chevy Bel Air cloth top … a creature SO awesome, that it immediately got sucked back into the axis of awesome where it regurgitated my phone right into … my backpack.

So it really wasn’t my fault.

LJ: Uh huh.

An image captured by James' phone on its voyage through time and space. Kidding, this image belongs to Axecop.com - which you should totally check out if you have not already.