Weekend Coffee Share: Summer Festivals & Small Towns

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that things are changing quickly in my corner of the world–so quickly that blogging has fallen by the wayside.  My job hunt continues to progress.  Some days it moves forward in bounds and others it simply creeps along.  I’ve been learning a lot over the past weeks, but won’t say more here…I have a post scheduled about it for tomorrow.  So stay tuned! Continue reading

Calling Holiday Guest Bloggers

Last year in the week leading up to Christmas, I did a short series of posts titled Tis the Season.  I shared family traditions, stories, favorite songs, and discussed what the holidays mean to me.

I’d like to make this an annual tradition, but there’s a catch: I can’t do it alone.

The planning, organizing, and writing for Tis the Season took a lot more work than I was expecting.  The whole series was done on a whim, with me making things up on the spot.  I didn’t mind the work–besides hanging out with family, I didn’t have anything better to do with my holiday break.

But, this year, I just don’t have time.  In addition to all the holiday decorating, baking, and family time, I have a job, am going to a week-long conference in St. Louis the day after Christmas, and am leaving the country on January 8.  When Tis the Season time comes around, my hands are pretty much full.

That’s where you come in.  I’d love to see Tis the Season grow into something bigger than Keep Your Feet.  The holiday season is all about togetherness, so what better way to celebrate than bring in a bunch of guest bloggers?

Tis the Season this year will go from December 18-24.  I’d love to have a post for each day, which means I need at least 7 contributors.  If more people are interested, I’m all for making the series longer or putting up multiple posts a day.

It’s really easy to get involved!  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post, letting me know you want to participate.  Then, it’s up to you to write a guest post!  Possibilities are limitless, but keep it holiday themed.  I’ve got a list of prompts/ideas at the end of this post to help get your brain churning.

Please email me your post with a link to your blog by December 15.  This leaves me plenty of time to organize and format everything.  If you want any photos included, send those along as well.  Send emails to keepyourfeetblog@gmail.com.  I’ll include a link to your blog in the final post, so if you’re looking to get your blog out there, this is a great opportunity!

Post Ideas:

  • What holiday do you celebrate?
  • What does the holiday season mean to you?
  • What are some of your favorite holiday memories?
  • What are your favorite holiday songs, movies, etc.?
  • What is the best gift you’ve ever given/received?

Again, comment if you want to be involved!  I’m so excited to see what you all come up with and share the holiday season with you!

Weekend Coffee Share: The Last Summer Day

If we were having coffee, we’d probably be lounging on a blanket in my backyard basking in the sunshine.  I’d be favoring something cold–an iced mocha or frappuccino–behind my floral sunglasses.  An occasional leaf flutters from the maple tree above us.

In Minnesota, we usually have one last day of summer before the season shifts.  I think it’s today and am very thankful it fell on my one day off.  I’ve been ready for Fall to arrive for the past month, but can’t deny that today is absolutely perfect.  The air is fresh, no humidity whatsoever.  The trees are just starting to change colors.  I actually spent several hours on the aforementioned blanket alternately reading and napping.  It was absolutely glorious.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you all about the concert I went to last week in Minneapolis with a friend.  Maddie and I met during our semester abroad in London and she recently moved to my area and has been aching to go to a show ever since.  We went to see Ivan & Alyosha and Noah Gundersen.  I wasn’t overly familiar with either band, but it was a wonderful show.  Musically, both bands were a real treat.  Ivan & Alyosha were my favorite act (I’ve been listening to them nonstop ever since).  They’re really peppy with a California vibe.  Noah was much more serious–his whole band wore black and oozed angst.  I like his earlier music, but he mostly played stuff from his most recent album which is really existential.  It was hard not to be depressed after the show as I drove the hour home well-past midnight.  But I cured the overflow angst by listening to peppy pre-pop Taylor Swift songs.

If we were having coffee, you would know that I’m frustrated.  For the most part, things are going very well for me right now.  I have a job, a roof over my head, and get to spend lots of time with family.  But a big portion of my life, my Christian faith, hasn’t been doing well.  I’m not struggling, but I’m not thriving either.  One of the problems is that I feel like I have too much history with the churches in my area.  Most people my age go to the church I grew up in, which I no longer attend for some very painful reasons (which I discuss in this post).  My family usually goes to a mega-church in the cities, which was great for in college for weekend visits and long breaks.  But it’s not the kind of church I actually want to go to long-term.  There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s just not the right fit for me.  I’ve looked into trying some other churches, but I either know too many people who go there or have been turned off by hearing about people’s bad experiences.

The thing is, Christian culture tends to be extremely conservative.  And I tend to be more liberal.  When I’m around other Christians, even those I love and admire, I generally keep my opinions to myself.  Usually, this is because it’s not the time or place.  But another factor is that most people will strike up an argument.  I really dislike arguing–it does more harm than good.  In arguments, people tend to spend most of the time defending their own perspective without actually caring about what the other person has to say.  I don’t mind if someone thinks differently than I do, but it bothers me when others don’t respect my perspective in return.   So I don’t go there.

I’m in a bit of a rut, you see.  My relationship with God is one of the most important things I have.  I long for Christian community who will accept me without judging me based on the way I think.  I long for supporters who will spur me on in faith.  I known it exists–I’ve had it before in Morris and at camp.  Here, though, I feel very much alone.

If we were having coffee, though, I hope we don’t argue.  Because I’d love nothing more than to spend the afternoon sipping cool drinks on that blanket with you.  How has your week been?  Anything you’d like to share in return?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link up at Part Time Monster.

Announcing “Tis the Season”, a Christmas Series

Hello, beloved readers!

Now that finals are over, I’m free to frolic in Christmas cheer as much as my heart desires.  (Well, frolicking and recovering from getting my wisdom teeth removed.)  In light of the holiday season, I thought I would celebrate with you by putting on a week-long series of Christmas-themed posts.

The series will run for (hopefully) eight days, beginning tomorrow (Thursday) and going ’till Christmas Day.  Every day, I will be putting out a post with a fun holiday story/tradition and another with a favorite Christmas song.  I already have posts planned out for the most part and am really excited to share my favorite time of year with you all.

That being said, if any of you have any fun stories or want to contribute to my series in any way, I’d love to have your involvement!  I’d love for this to not only be me sharing, but a community effort.  If several of you have shorter stories to share, I could make a community story post.  If you’d like to write a guest post sharing a longer story, tradition, or holiday-themed experience of your own, please let me know!  You can contact me by commenting on this post or by sending me an email at paintedstain@gmail.com.

Get excited!  It’s going to be a wonderful week.  (Minus the wisdom teeth removal, that is.)

Stolen moments at home

For the past few weeks, the only thing I’ve been looking forward to was the moment I could get in my car and drive away from the tiny college town where I live.  And oh, when that moment came, it sure was sweet.

There’s something incredibly special about being home.  I haven’t spent more than a week here since last January, so my time here seems like stolen moments of peace.  It’s like I get to return to a closed chapter of my life for a short time.  I don’t get to go back to my childhood, but at least I can sleep once more in my bed and cuddle with my cat.

In light of my impending graduation, being home feels more real than college.  In a handful of months I’ll be handed my diploma and sent into the world.  (Assuming my senior seminar does not kill me, that is.)  When I go into the world in May, the first place I’m going to go is home.  I’m going to move back into my old room, work my old summer job, and figure out what’s coming next.

I’ve always loved home.  With life’s uncertainties swirling about me, home is an anchor.  I walk in the door and there is Dad in his work clothes, about to go out into the orchard.  I sit down on the couch and Paco (my cat) makes a beeline for my lap.  My little brother deliberately mispronounces my name and gives me a sarcastic comment as he hugs me too tightly.  My older brother lifts me off the ground, knowing how much I hate it, and spends the rest of the night teasing me.

One thing I love about my family is that we still sit down and share meals together.  Most families these days have let this go, but my parents made it a priority.  There are few things in the world better than gathering with your family around a table, bonding over delicious food and talking about the day.  It’s so much better than eating meals in front of a computer screen with only the characters of The Office to keep me company.

We are hosting Thanksgiving this year, so we are bracing ourselves for the sudden flood of extended family.  My mom let me have a few minutes to rest after my long drive, then I spent a good portion of my afternoon dusting and preparing the house for guests.  Hosting is a lot of work, but I know it will all go well.  I’m looking forward to seeing my relatives again.

I’m sure I’ll be posting a holiday themed post tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.  In the meantime, what are your Thanksgiving plans this year?