Category Archives: top 10

[top 10] reasons i don’t use capital letters

10. aesthetically & from a graphic designer’s perspective, i prefer the look of lower case letters to capital letters.

9. i’m kinda picky about my handwriting. i like it to look like font, & my capital letters just aren’t that great.

8. i like to do things differently, sometimes just for the sake of being different. [there you go, mom — i admit it.]

7. my signature is immensely cooler looking when signed in lowercase letters.

6. e.e. cummings was a good poet & a cool guy. imitation, flattery, etc.

5. when i was in high school, i took a combined literature/history class my senior year. we studied a couple books from the bible as literature & from a historical rather than religious perspective. that’s when my habit began. i would capitalize only God’s name(s) in my notes as subtle reminder of my beliefs while learning about & addressing the bible academically.

4. what was begun as a sort of coping mechanism in high school became a habit & one that i liked. there seemed to be something poetic & sacred about only capitalizing God’s names & pronouns that refer to Him as a way of showing Him honor above all else.

3. i’ve since learned that ancient scribes showed what we would consider today an insane kind of reverence when writing the name of God. i’ve heard different versions of what they were required to do, but one example is they had to wipe off the pen & wash their whole bodies before writing the name of God, YHWH, each & every time they wrote it. this practice has not lingered into our times in any form, but i like it, so i practice it via capital letters.

2. i think we overuse capitalization anyways. all caps should only be used for design purposes when appropriate. [or for LORD or YHWH if you like — some people always write Lord in all caps to indicate the personal name of God.]

1. it has become part of my personal identity that i don’t capitalize many words. anyone who knows me well never ever capitalizes my names. [except my mom because she’s still in denial & entirely too proper to do otherwise!] it’s just me, like my blonde hair or my “obnoxious laugh” or my inability to dance. it’s just me.

f.l.y. // taking care of yourself, love in action

this is a series of blog posts i’m writing called f.l.y. // finally loving yourself in response to emily wierenga’s dare to love yourself challenge. i’m framing my thoughts about the subject through the lens of agape — unconditional love, God love, love in action. [my previous posts in this series are finally loving yourself & why taking care of yourself is important.]

my main thesis is that we cannot truly love others [& thereby obey Jesus’ second greatest command, matthew 22:37-40] until we learn to love ourselves.

agape is nothing if not action, & this applies even to finally loving myself. i wrote last week about why taking care of yourself is important & why it’s part of loving yourself [& loving God & others]. today, i want to talk about actually taking care of ourselves. what that means in specific action. i like to categorize everything in my life & to make lists, so here’s my areas of self-care:

>> physical — taking care of my body from the outside in
>> nutritional — taking care of my body from the inside out
>> mental — taking care of my brain
>> emotional — taking care of my heart
>> spiritual — taking care of my soul

taking care of yourself PHYSICALLY  >> this means exercising, stretching, toning, strengthening, hygiene, taking your makeup off before bed, moisturizing, sleeping enough, going to the doctor for regular check-ups, keeping your nails clean & neat, shaving!

taking care of yourself NUTRITIONALLY  >> this means eating good food, limiting junk food, watching your portions, drinking lots of water, taking a multi-vitamin, taking other needed supplements &/or medications, & for me, giving yourself necessary shots.

taking care of yourself MENTALLY  >> this means learning [never stop learning!], retaining what you know & learn, reading, doing puzzles, challenging yourself, practicing hobbies, taking breaks when needed, setting goals & working towards them.

taking care of yourself EMOTIONALLY  >> this means allowing & recognizing your feelings, not repressing, dealing with your feelings [both past & present], facing your fears, reducing stress, learning to breathe, cultivating healthy coping mechanisms, taking breaks, journaling, loving, forgiving.

taking care of yourself SPIRITUALLY  >> this means [to me] spending time with God every morning before i do anything else, in the middle of the workday, & before i go to bed, reading His word, memorizing & meditating on specific verses or passages of scripture, taking a personal retreat once a year, journaling, praying, praying, praying, listening, learning, practicing the spiritual disciplines, loving.

so, in keeping with my love for list-making, i hereby present:

the top 10 things i’m going to do 
to take care of myself for the next week

10. exercise every day except sunday. 
i’m pretty nervous about this commitment because i’m a notorious slacker in this area, but i’m hoping making a commitment in blogosphere public will help me get up & get going! exercise can include running, circuit training, aerobics videos, yoga, & long walks. i’m signed up for a 5k on april 13th & need to kick my rear in gear!

9. wash my face every single night.
i also stink at this & go to bed more often than not with my makeup on… but in the interest of my skin, my pores, & my self-esteem, i’m going to prioritize this each night. plus, my face washing routine is one of the most relaxing experiences, so it also helps me go to sleep.

8. cut out the junk food completely.
i’m going to define this as non-nutritional sweets [ex: cake vs. granola], fried foods, fast food, & processed snacks [ex: chips]. my sweet tooth is already aching at the thought…

7. drink only water & hot tea.
hi, my name is danae, & i’m addicted to dr. pepper. seriously. when i have a bad day, shaun knows it because he comes home to me sitting on the couch with a 2-liter… i’m really bad about drinking anything except water, although i don’t dislike drinking water in the least.

6. read one hour every day.
i’ve been working on a book for some time, & i really want to finish it this year, but i still have quite a bit of research to get done, so i’d like to set aside some time for working on this goal.

5. paint something at least two times.
i love to paint. it’s very therapeutic to me, & it’s one of my favorite hobbies. i have hoped to paint more consistently so i can develop my style & skill & so i can produce some art for our home. i even have my easel permanently set up, but i never seem to make it to the stool…

4. decompress three times during the work day.
this just means taking time to breathe & refocus for a minute or two. i’m very task-oriented, & i can get so bogged down in my 2do list that i forget to prioritize or get stressed out. i like to close my eyes, breathe slowly, focus on how i feel physically & emotionally, adjust anything needed, & check my priorities before returning to work.

3. journal every night.
even if it just means a quick sentence about my day, i want to be better about pouring out each evening onto paper because it clears my mind, eases my heart, & prepares me for rest like no other remedy.

2. practicing the discipline of simplicity.
“stuff” can weigh you down & distract you from what is truly important. this is particularly true of me right now. my house has not gone through a good decluttering in too long. this week, i’ll spend at least 15 minutes each night culling through my wardrobe, drawers, cabinets, papers, & basement to release things i don’t need & don’t use. i’ll take these to goodwill at the end of the week so they can bless someone else.

1. keeping sabbath on sunday.
for me this means focusing on God, worship, & rest. i don’t plan to be legalistic or anything, but i am not going to do work or errands or clean anything. most importantly, i am not going to have a single item on my 2do list! i want to spend the day with my church family, in fellowship, praying, reading, indulging in hobbies, writing, or cooking. these things are restful to me & conducive to my focus on experiencing the presence of God.

you’ll notice i have two list items per category of self-care. i’ve set alarm reminders & created items in my 2do list to help me with my top 10 list. i’d also appreciate any accountability. i’ll report back next week with my results — how successful was i at sticking to my top 10, which actions made the most difference, & how i feel about myself as a result.

i encourage you to come up with your own top 10! or top three, or even just one thing you can do every day this week to take care of yourself & thereby make progress in F.L.Y.ing — finally loving yourself!

[top 10] reasons to observe the religious calendar

10. any excuse to celebrate!
i have a friend who told me once that one reason she participated in the religious calendar was unabashedly because she loves to celebrate. that resonated with me as a lover of all things parties, & i have indeed enjoyed the preparations & celebrations thus far this year. [our purim feast is one great example.] i thrive on planning a party, inviting friends over, & sharing good conversation & laughter. the religious calendar has given me increased opportunities to do just this!

9. to experience something new
as a student of life, i believe one tenet to guide our “studies” must be the willingness to experience new things on a regular basis, even the proactive seeking of new things, & sometimes doing something new just for the sake of the experience & the story. experience enriches our lives, teaches us important lessons, gives us something to share with others, & helps us grow. when we shy away from a new experience, it is usually due to fear, fear of the unknown, & fear is the enemy of the student of life. we must not let our fears prevent us from living life to the fullest.

8. to learn more about our faith heritage
christianity has a two-thousand year history, & before that it is steeped in thousands of years of jewish history & practice. this is our heritage. to understand Christ’s teachings, i must understand the religious audience to whom He spoke & His own life as a jew. to understand the current state of the church in its various sects & traditions, i must know our history, too. in looking to our future, we must first know where we’ve been to understand where we are going. knowing our faith heritage will enrich our current faith walk.

7. to identify with global christian community
millions of christians worldwide observe the religious calendar. [the same is true of jews observing their religious calendar.] it creates a sense of solidarity among us collectively & within each of us individually when we know there are others all over the world saying the same words, praying the same prayers, reading the same scriptures, meditating on the same thoughts. we become unified by our focus. we become thoughtful of one another. we remember we are not alone.

6. to establish new corporate traditions
i could write a whole post on how my particular faith tradition could learn & grow from incorporating some of the practices used in other churches, at least on occasion. but i’ll suffice to say for now that we can all learn from one another, always. just as no individual is perfect, neither is any organization of individuals. every church has need to reflect, to reevaluate, to learn, & to change in some way to more live like the body of Christ.

5. to reevaluate secular holidays
this is something shane claiborne writes about regularly, & his thoughts have affected my own views. as citizens of the kingdom of God, we define freedom, value, sacrifice, leadership, power, & a host of other concepts radically differently from our surrounding culture. these new ways of thinking should also affect our living & celebrating. while there exists a memorial day, an independence day, & a presidents’ day particular to america, when/how to we celebrate ultimate sacrifice [Christ’s on the cross], true freedom [found in Christ], & authentic leadership & authority [Christ’s as King]? do we hail one kind of holiday as more important than the other kind? should we? what are our reasons & motivations? how should we as christians look different from this world? i wish i had more answers than questions, but it is very important to question & to think on these things.

4. to establish new holiday traditions
there are many holidays we celebrate that have both religious & secular histories & traditions. observing the religious calendar helps us review what secular practices are beneficial & fun, & which ones need to be done away with. observing the religious calendar also helps us learn about new beneficial & fun traditions that we can begin. for example, i have a friend who shared her how grandmother includes easter eggs within the normal egg hunt that contain slips of paper with scripture references written on them. once their family gathers back together, after the eggs have all be found, anyone with a scripture egg reads that passage aloud for everyone. there are hundreds of creative ideas for bringing our minds back to the purpose of these holidays — some are unique to specific families & some are common in various faith communities — & we can learn from them.

3. to enrich our personal faith practices
we have probably all been encouraged by various teachers to have a “quiet time” with God each day. but how that quiet time is shaped is unique to each person. for years, i filled it with just bible study from a bought workbook. bible study comes easier to me than any other faith practice. as i’ve grown older, i’ve tried to add in areas that i need desperately to grow in, like prayer. over the years, i’ve used various tools to help me learn how to pray — informative books on prayer, devotionals that lead you through prayer, prayer journals, prayer lists, prayer schedules. all have taught me something, even though not all have been useful to me in the long-term. and what works for me may not work for you. this year, i added a daily liturgy [common prayer for ordinary radicals] & have been tremendously blessed by the practice. observing the religious calendar has helped me expand my understanding of personal quiet time but also ways to practice my faith in the rhythms of every day life beyond that set-aside morning hour. and so i continue to grow towards Christ as my quiet time evolves & as my daily routine includes putting my faith into action, too. [discalimer: i am not as consistent as i would like to be in having my quiet time or going through the prayer liturgy every day, so please don’t be fooled by my speaking in general terms! still, God is faithfully growing me every time i do choose to spend with Him.]

2. to live by kingdom seasons & rhythms
i’ve written about this before in my post on marking my time by a different calendar, but shane claiborne says it better than i, & this portion deserves reposting:

every sturdy society has created its own calendar according to its own values. for some time now, western civilization has used the julian and gregorian calendars, which are influenced largely by the roman empire’s traditions… but if we in the church are going to take our citizenship in heaven seriously, we must reshape our minds by marking our calendars differently. we must remember the holidays of the biblical narrative rather than the festivals of the caesars… the church’s calendar weaves in and out of the world around us. it is not that we need a “christian” calendar because we want to separate ourselves from the “secular” world… the point is not to be sectarian or to try to put ourselves at odds with non-christians. the point is to keep God’s story at the center of our lives and calendar… without liturgical time, we can easily forget our eternal identity. we can get lost in the hustle and bustle of business and efficiency that shapes our culture and society. likewise, without the cosmic calendar, we can become so heaven-bound that we ignore the hells of the world around us. and the glorious goal we are headed toward is not just going up when we die but bringing God’s kingdom down — on earth as it is in heaven.

1. to become increasingly centered on God
this is mentioned in the quote above, so i won’t belabor the point. but this is ultimately the reason for observing the religious calendar because ultimately this is the purpose of our lives — to become ever more focused on God, growing closer to Him, becoming more like His Son, & being Him to a dying world.

my march [top 10]

in case you’re interested, here’s a smattering of things that occupy my time right now, in the form of my favorite kind of list-making, a top 10 list.

10. books on my nightstand: 
>> show me the way by henri nouwen
>> my utmost for His highest by oswald chambers
>> eclipse by stephanie meyer
>> wizard’s first rule by terry goodkind

9. song stuck in my head:
>> “50 ways to say goodbye” by train

8. latest memory verse:
>> “don’t be afraid, for I am with you; don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you & help you; I will uphold you with My victorious right hand.” [isaiah 41:10]

7. can’t-do-without accessory:
>> my locket with my midday prayer inside

6. next party i’m planning:
>> a harry potter party for our teens [it’s gonna be epic! 13 hours of shopping in diagon alley, getting sorted into our houses, attending magic classes, playing quidditch, & competing for the house cup!]

5. must-see tv [or netflix]:
>> college basketball [go duke!]
>> psych, season 7

4. annual goal i’m most focused on:
>> reading 48 books this year [i’m trying to read 12 books in the first quarter, & i still have 5 to go before the end of the month!]

3. biggest news:
>> my little sister is getting married! i’m the matron of honor & her wedding coordinator, & i’m loving it.

2. what i’m saving money for:
>> shaun & i are traveling to greece for our 10th anniversary in may, so every spare cent is set aside for that. i cannot wait!!!

1. heavy on my heart:
>> people around the world who don’t have easy access to clean drinking water [join me in participating in 40 days of water with blood:water mission.]
>> my friend julien in haiti, struggling to continue his work with the church & to support several orphans without consistent monetary support
>> my prodigal girl

happy friday!