Sunday, October 16, 2016

Made Well.

I don't know what my deal is lately.

But I've been walking around like a numb zombie for weeks now.
Not really feeling much of anything.
Sort of just going through the motions.
I'm guessing this has to something to do with a much too busy schedule & being sicker than I have been for a long time.
(I'm never sick. What the heck body?!)
I've heard some place worth noting that the body kicks into numb when it's trying to protect itself from overload. Whether it's overload or something else - I really haven't been able to put together quite yet.

This Fall season is also just the sad reminder for me of loss.
With the 11th year of my sister's passing come & gone, I'm not really sure how much this added to the emotion-less of things.
This time of year is so incredibly beautiful when you live in Minnesota.
It seems to be either a cruel irony that everything would turn so lovely when I felt anything but.
Or as though this time of year is like one of those beautiful send offs for someone so exquisite that God Himself would orchestrate such a heavenly surrounding of scenery.
I'm still trying to decide which of these it would be.

Perhaps it is the colder weather, the sickness, or this particularly dreadful season. Or it might not.
I've also heard some Full Moon theories? Or not.
It could be all of the undo pressure I've been putting on my own shoulders at work, not really sure of what to make of everyone just around my age moving to that next level while I seem to be staying so still. I cheer loudly for their success & mean it with everything I have within, but I cannot seem to motion forward. The funny thing is, no one seems to be putting this pressure on me except me - which is a problem when I cannot seem to understand why I lump myself into a group whose paths were never meant to be my paths.
It's like I understand cognitively all of this, but I cannot break free of this intense internal pressure to seemingly plateau.
It's rather strange & I'm quite annoyed with myself if I'm being perfectly honest.
I'm really unsure about what to do with all of this. Perhaps it's meant to be a push in a new direction.
Or maybe just the spur one needs to push on towards whatever satisfaction can be achieved within the 4 walls of my gray cubicle.
Nonetheless, I have drank the company Kool-Aid & believe whole heartedly in the CEO & mission of what it is I do everyday. Which is more than I can say for most people punching the time clock.
At the end of the day, I know that work is work.
It's not something that defines you, and yet we all want to be the people who wake up every single morning & have an unapologetic passion for what they do.
My Grandpa once said to me when I expressed my dissatisfaction with my first job at a restaurant that "Someone has to assemble the boxes at the cracker factory."
The real question then becomes - Who decides that one person gets to love what they do and one person has to assemble boxes at the cracker factory?
I'm not sure if the answer to this is really God, or if it's simply an intense desire to live life on your own terms, a sort of abandonment of stability, a profound sense of work ethic, and pure dumb luck.
Either way- I hope to be a person who always gets to live on the side of believing fully in what they do.

Somewhere in the mix of trying to figure all of this out, my sister made mention to me that one of her friends had recently asked if my life seemed to be as perfect as it was on social media.
My first reaction was to roll my eyes, stand on the couch, and yell "OF COURSE NOT. DID YOU NOT SEE MY POST ABOUT WANTING TO PUNCH MYSELF IN THE FACE OVER SCHOOL SUPPLIES?!" #firstworldproblems
As I went home that night & several of the nights that followed, I started to reflect on my last year of posts. As I did, I developed a real yuck taste in my mouth. Had I really become one of those people?! The people who only post perfect happy picture memories? Had I really left out the genuine, no gimmicks, I-am-so-far-from-perfect-it's-gross-you-should-see-me-with-no-make-up-on-yelling-at-the-dog-and-the-kids-and-my-husband-after-burning-our-dinner-to-a-crisp-moments.
The only thing I could decide was that my Facebook & Twitter have gone to a more professional place as I have had more & more work colleagues request to be on my social media.
That being the case, I'm not so sure it's become appropriate for me to speak about things like acne facials (Youch) or who I want to vote for in the upcoming election. (No one. I hate everyone. Is this election over yet?!)
Yes I have opinions & yes my life is completely imperfect.
But there has to be a proper place, time, and setting for all of that.
And it's safe to say I'm moving away from Facebook or Twitter to express these things.
The best I can do is promise to post the imperfect pictures that truly paint the most genuine story.

Case & Point:

This is what life is like with a 5 year old little boy. #squirrel

Can we now please talk about E-books?
I recently downloaded one. And spent the entire time reading this book, wishing I had gotten the physical copy of it instead.
Since when am I so old school?!
But holy cow.

E-Books <  Books

Maybe it's the feeling of having pages slip through my fingers.
Highlighters & pen in hand.
Making tiny notes in the margin.
Underlining sentences that cut through the crap & know me more intimately than almost anyone else in my life.
The smell of a new book fresh from the bookstore.
Or the equally intoxicating smell of an old book checked out from the library.
The ideas & thoughts of others.
Finding their way into my innermost being.

I love a good book.
The kind that you just don't want to end.

My secret best friend Jenny Simmons wrote that kind of book that just released days ago.
The book is all about how to find healing.
In big or small ways - within the movements of everyday life.
This book has something for everyone.
As everyone I know is walking a road where someone has hurt them, betrayed them, left them, or passed away.
These pages bring with them air for the lungs for when you just don't think you have it in you to breathe on your own. Or the kind of humor that makes you laugh between tears.
Jenny seemingly sits across from you, holding your hand, reminding you that of everything else you were made to do in this life, you were first Made Well.

"Where do you go to be made well? To breathe deeply, listen
for God’s voice, and know His peace? I used to think this could only happen with a Bible in hand, wrestling over Scripture verses, or on an exotic trip.
But now I know if my eyes are open, I experience peace that passes understanding in a myriad of places. Most of which I can experience in my own living room as my baby girl dances the night away. Or in my backyard as I watch the sun rise and fall each new day. Or on that one trail four minutes from my daughter’s school.
Sure, the ocean is great too. Miraculous transformations on exotic, far-flung journeys are dreamy. But most of life happens in my living room, where a thousand tiny moments cobbled together look like healing. It’s no quick fix. But I prefer slow dancing anyway." -Jenny Simmons, Made Well pg. 94

I loved this book - just like I love my friend Jenny.
And I am SOOOOO JAZZED to be giving away a few copies of her book "Made Well" on my blog!!
Entering is so ridiculously easy.
All you need to do is follow my blog on Facebook or be a follower on Google.
That's it.
Enter Below. Good Luck to you Reader! I know you will LOVE this book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 18, 2016


Sometimes I feel as though my life is full of many contradictions.

After all, wasn't I the girl who sat talking on a stool at a recent writing workshop & proclaimed to the world (or a room full of people) that in order to have a blog, you must always be dedicated to writing on said blog? Because there is nothing more annoying than finally finding a blog you enjoy reading, only to realize the writer eventually quits writing on it.

If I'm honest, I'm totally that girl right now. I own it.  Somedays it feels literally impossible to get here. Whether it's just by way of an overly busy schedule. Or me processing through things in a much more private way. Scribbling through journals, calling my best friend, or just trying to avoid my feelings all together. (As I have been known to do.)
Blogging ---> Why Are You SOOOOOO hard?!
This whole space continues to challenge me & demands that I work through things I quite frankly just don't want to work through sometimes. I HATE THAT. And yet I know how good this is for me. Which is why you won't see me giving this space up anytime soon. Here's to living (and then fretting about writing) our Truth. Cheers.
In other news.....

School has started for the kids. They are both doing SO GREAT. #proudmom

My college car FINALLY decided to die on us after a good 12 years of use.
[Seriously. What a trooper.]

Bridget Jones is having a baby. I need to see how this ends. Movie date anyone?!

After a terrible spout of strep throat, I've decided I can never grow old.
If only because I can NEVER remember to take my meds.
Or finish my meds.
Or seem to even remember I have meds at all for that matter.

The Vikings play the Packers tonight.
So naturally my husband who bleeds purple is just trying to keep it together right now.

I'm in a 2 month shop-free cleanse currently.
No clothes. No shoes. No purses. FOR TWO MONTHS.
This may seem really shallow.
Yet I admit it truly is a little hard for a true fashion consumer like me.
But my closet, checkbook, & husband are all very happy about it.

Fall has creeped up on me - despite knowing how this whole change of the seasons thing works.
This year it really came back fast.
Like the return of the 90's velvet choker necklace.
It's all very - WHOA. Where did this come from?!
And I'm hating every moment of it.
For those of you who need a list as to reasons why we should all hate Fall, here goes:

Reasons To Hate Fall

1. It's getting colder.
2. Pumpkin spice is just so overplayed.
3. Goodbye cute summer wedges.
4. Soon I will be commuting in snow.
5. I lost my sister in the fall. It's just all very gloom & doom from there.
6. Football widow anyone?
7. Death seems everywhere. The trees. The grass. Brown is just not my favorite color.
8. Back to school shopping. OH. MY. LANTA.
9. The days get shorter & my Vitamin E levels tank.
10. Summer vacations with my besties have officially ended for the year.

That last one is what I've been really focused on lately.
Since every summer is when I finally get to see the other people connected to my soul, I find myself in a bit of slump when it's all ended.
This year I immensely looked forward to seeing my squad.
We made all sorts of plans & I knew we would have a great week together.
When my best friend Krista arrived from Indianapolis, it didn't take us long to cut the crap & dive into the deep.
I'm always so thankful for how God uses the close friendships in my life to help me figure out my way through the maze of adulting.
There were a few sharp edges to some truths she gave me that cut pretty deep.
Things I know I need to do & have put off.
Or things I don't even realize I'm doing that suck the life right out of me.
Her words were a mirror to my heart.
Just when I thought I was doing maybe okay-ish, she helped me to see that with a few modifications, I could do much better than okay-ish.
Our time together never disappoints.
Especially not the stories she tells, the taste of salty tears from spilling out my greatest fears & regrets, or just the physical pain of deep belly laughs.
Matching bestie shoes sold separately. #squadgoals

Not more than a couple weeks later, a few other close Iowa friends came for a short visit.
With their own set of encouragement & challenges for my life, I know I should have felt thankful that they cared enough to help me walk through some difficult things.
And I was - and still am - grateful & honored to have my friends.
But by the end of August & the end of my time with these people who know me inside & out- I was feeling completely vulnerable & exposed.
I didn't realize how much I had been closing myself off.
Or how much I try to hide from the people I love what I am really going through.
So much so that when I was with the people I know I can be genuinely authentic with & finally let my guard down, I struggled immensely after doing so.
Terrified that I had let people too closely in.
Afraid of what they might think.
Wondering what they might do in knowing that the image I present of having it all together, doesn't even come close to my everyday reality.

In the interest of self-preservation, I preferred to stay in the dark.
It just plain seems safer there.
I never thought that light could be so painful.

From here I'm just taking it all in.
Their advice. Their love. Their guidance.
I'm sifting through it all.
Reading the books they gave me.
[Though honestly - I didn't want to read them. Books that scare the crap out of me. Deep breaths.]
Praying & meditating through each of their words.
And mostly just being thankful.
For the people who know the deepest parts of us - and love us anyway.

It's been QUITE A MONTH dear Internet friends, of change.
Which seems to be appropriate I suppose with the theme of Fall & all it's turning colors.
I know Fall can be beautiful when seen through the right lens.
I just don't know if I'm up for it yet. #truth #jesusbenear

Have a great week Reader.
Gooooo Vikings!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Door Holder.

There he is.
His first time serving in church in 3 years.
Just holding the door open for people to welcome them in.
But ah, what a journey it is to have gotten here.
To even just hold a door.
It seems so small, and yet we both know what it means.
I'm so proud of him.

"Time heals all wounds" is such crap.
Put a little distance & time between anything, it can certainly give perspective & the ability to just not think about it all day, every single day like in the beginning.
But only God redeems & restores the broken places.
Tending to wounds & nursing the scars that most people will never even know of.
God does what only He can - cleaning out & mending the sacred, shattered ground we find ourselves still somehow standing on.

To you - whom church has been an awful toward.
A place that has judged you, abandoned you, hurt you, or betrayed you.
Left you out, forgotten you, a place where you felt anything but loved & fully accepted.
My heart aches with you.
Keep the faith love.

I once heard this all compared to a bride & groom.
Have you ever seen someone hate on the bride?
In front of the groom?
It never goes over too well.
"How can we love the groom but hate on the bride?"
My answer to this question someone once asked me was simple - I DON'T KNOW.

To you hating on the church - the Bride of Christ.
I can only say that I got you boo.
My place in all this is to simply tell you that I get it.
To give you a safe space to open up & start the discussion.
That I offer my understanding, my compassion, and my empathy.

My unsolicited advice (which of course you didn't ask for, but I'm dishing it out like a good friend would anyway) is only to say that in this situation, it is wise to remember your beef is with a specific person or people inside the church.
Maybe not the church as a whole.
If you can somehow separate the two (this nearly seems impossible at first) it will help you to focus on the issues at hand.
When a person does something awful to you, you realize that this one person does not define every single person you've ever met.
So you literally cannot hate on all of humanity. (as much as I want to somedays. Rawr.)
You just might know too many good people to give up on mankind collectively.
I'd encourage you to start the process of sorting through your situation with that lens - with a trusted friend, a counselor, or a pastor.
Maybe ALL THREE if you are anything like us.
Ain't no shame in that game.

And then - when you're really ready.
Maybe you'll try. Maybe it's one Sunday. Sitting in the very back row.
Arms crossed. Being totally convinced you've made some sort of huge mistake by attempting this whole thing again.
Maybe you'll think you need to have your head examined to even be thinking about it.
Maybe in that moment - God will bring you a friend. (Love you Kelly & Makara.)
People to encourage you & drag you to things you really REALLY don't want to go to.
Maybe you'll find a church unlike any other place you've ever experienced before.
(They are not all the same ya know?!)
Maybe you'll meet a pastor whose idea of a good time is jamming out to music you never thought a pastor would listen to. Sitting with you after a tough funeral with a cold beer in his hands.
Admitting that he just cannot seem to figure this whole life thing out either.
(Pastors aren't all the same either. Neither are Pastor Wives.....wink wink.)

Will this full-time ministry thing ever come for us again?
I cannot even imagine it now.
For now- ministry looks a lot like opening a door.
Saying "Good Morning!" and offering a smile to someone who just doesn't want to be there.
It's working hard - letting people see friendly & joy with every business meeting or every report I complete.
It's being a damn good mom.
Being quiet, being brave enough to just listen & not have all the answers.
Or drinking a Mike's, watching a beautiful sunset with those God puts in my path.
Ministry is being kind to people that others often miss.
Looking for chances to genuinely encourage the efforts of others.
It's volunteering my time doing financial reports for small non-profits.
Maybe (MAYBE) it's joining a small group. (Baby steps Internet. Gulp.)

It looks so different than my life did as a pastor's wife 3 years ago.
I never thought that the girl who would shoot her hand up to lead a youth group when needed or host a women's bible study would now find even attending the smallest of small groups THIS intimidating.
Yet every single one of these small, seemingly insignificant steps has led us here.
To a place where I'm different - and yet still kind of the same with how much I care.
A place where even holding a door now gives some sort of ultimate significance that it just didn't before.

To us - the door holders  - Carry on Warrior.