Monday, October 13, 2014

Trust. Voids. And iPhone Back-ups.

I am waiting on my iPhone to finish updating...... Apparently if you are naughty & never do your system updates, Apple punishes you by taking away your Facetime. And since I would really, REALLY like to Facetime with my bestie sometime this year, I need to update.

Why oh why does this take so loooong Internet?!

So. Let's kill some time together.
Allow me to catch you up.

----> My husband was tired of his social life, or a lack thereof. He told me was going to do a guys poker night. After a few guys backed out last minute, it turned into "Bring Your Family" night & "We Will Feed You Loads Upon Loads of Super Unhealthy, Sugary Snacks" night. And there were so many kids running around this joint, I'm pretty sure we all went slightly deaf in at least one ear. I feel kind of like a loser in that I took absolutely no pictures whatsoever of this event. But that just goes to show you I was having waaaay too much fun to bother.
I am getting to know all of these new people. And it kind of feels like a page is a turning.
For both me & Trevor. And I really, really liked it.

---> I'm kind of obsessed with Jim Gaffigan ...... who is a comic that just gets me.
Probably because all he ever talks about it food. Or kids. Or mixing food & kids.
Anywho. He was going to be on David Letterman.
So I DVR'd it. Because naturally I am never up this late ever.
Except to update my iPhone...... Rawr.

After Jim made me choke on my popcorn with out loud laughter, this singer who I had NEVER heard of finished the show. Paloma Faith: anyone out there ever heard of her?
This song came on. And I'm not quite sure if I'm in love with the song, the weird art-vibe that is Paloma, or the musicians jamming in the background.
But I LOVE this.

---> This past week was the 9 year anniversary of my sister's passing. I'm not entirely sure why. But I have this emotional desire deep down to know that people do not forget my sister. That they do not forget what her death taught them.
It should just be enough that I & my family remember. And screw the rest of the world. If they remember, awesome. If they don't, their loss.
But it's more than that. I need for the people closest to me to remember.
Even if remembering is exhausting or difficult or inconvenient.
I need to know that this still matters. That it will always matter to them.
Even if it doesn't quite matter to them the way it matters to me.
So sorry to everyone I saw this past week if I seemed weird or unconnected or aloof.
My mind just kind of goes places this time of year.
I was thankful I had the day off. And just spent it with my family.
Wearing Bridgett's sweatshirt. Telling Bridgett's jokes. Staring at her pictures. Remembering who she was. What she stood for. What she loved. What she didn't.
Walking through the fall leaves. Crying. Holding Trevor's hand. Trying not to be bitter.
Thinking of sweet memories. Choking back the painful memories.
I remember Bridgie. I promise I always will.
Thank you to all of you who remembered with us. It truly means more than you know.

----> It took me a little over month. But this weekend I finally finished the entire series of Veronica Mars. 3 seasons and one full-length movie.... I'm not sure if I should be proud of this fact or obscenely embarrassed by the amount of couch time it takes to accomplish this sort of thing. 
And I have to say, it was every bit of good that people said it was.
It also reminded me of how cute boys are when they do the lean.

Logan Eckles & I probably dated in another life. And Veronica Mars is probably the most empowering female lead I have seen in quite some time. All in all, if this show is sitting in your Amazon Prime Instant Que, I'd of course tell you to watch it.
And invite me over to watch it with you. I'll bring the popcorn.

----> Since we had Parker, Trevor & I have always had a back & forth discussion on whether or not we were done having kids. I have my reasons for wanting to be done...... I'm a horribly sick pregnant woman. I'm just getting my body back. Income. Time. My kids are finally starting to sleep through the night. I have my reasons Internet. Good ones. Believe me.

Then I read this article my high school pal Shannon posted. [Blog shout out to Shannon]
"The Void When You're Done Having Children."
Whoa. That word: Void.
Suddenly there's this void I never once considered.
Like this impending doom if you make such a permanent decision based on the chronic exhaustion you feel deep inside your bones.
I'm not sure that the article did much to change my mind. Except that maybe.
It caused me to pause.
And maybe pausing was precisely the point.

Who knows what the future holds?
I don't of course. But God knows.
And the free spirit inside me is fine with the no plan plan.
It's kind of freeing to hand your life to God.
It was never really mine anyway.
That much I have already learned.

Sometimes I wonder if the more open we are, the more room we give God to bring about what only He can bring.
Letting go of the control is completely terrifying.
I mean, does God really know best?!
Does He..... REALLY?!
And if we own it & claim it, then there comes a time where we put faith in motion.
And we simply fall back. And trust.

Oy. Trust.

Why is that so hard?
Trust. Voids. iPhone backups.
Life is full of tricky little things tonight Internet.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Short And Sweet.

Today has been a huge mix of emotions.
My poor husband is ready to throw bipolar medication my way.

I wanted to go outside & take some delicious fall photos. But decided it was much too cold. Later that afternoon it warmed up just a smidge. Finally got outside. Took the kids to the park. Walked the dog. Forgot my camera. Got upset with myself. My husband took some pics with his iPhone..... not the same. Beat myself up for not being a tougher Minnesotan. I mean - surely we can handle some 40 degree weather?! Instead I pouted. And shouted at the cloudy sky. I felt just crummy.  And cold. And mad that I knew I was going to be working from sunrise until sunset the rest of the week & there wouldn't be time for fall pictures. And that the leaves would be gone when I finally did manage some time. I felt like Jessie Spano. And had a total moment.

And so naturally I cried. And picked a fight with my husband. And emotionally exhausted myself into a much needed nap. 

It wasn't until tonight when I started going through pictures of the past few weeks. And found this one of Trevor holding hands with his Grandmother. That I was again reminded of how short & sweet life is. Too short to possibly sweat the small stuff. Like fall pictures & cloudy, cold weather.

I'm not sure why I am so mildly obsessed with hands. Maybe it's all the life you see lived in them.
I knew why I took the picture. I just couldn't believe I had already missed the point of why it meant so much to me.

And tonight I just wished today was a total do-over. Le sigh.

So in the interest of celebrating my blessings & airing out the difficulties, I give you a much needed Roses & Thorns Edition. Deep breaths.


Go to.....

  • Wearing jeggings to work on a Friday & not getting called on it.
  • Having a family member work for a potato company. We've never been so blessed with so many potatoes. Every night is some sort of potato concoction. And I have never thus been so happy.
  • All the amazing new music on my iTunes filling my commute.
  • Cooper. My dog is always up for taking a good selfie. 
  • Grandmothers.  Most especially the ones who teach us how to have a sense of humor.
  • My husband. It was NINE years ago on October 1 he got down on one knee & asked me to marry him. I'm quite sure I tried to talk him out of it. But he promised he knew what he was in for..... Poor guy.

    October 1, 2005 - Otherwise known as the night he put a ring on it.


Go to.......

  •  Sweating the small stuff. Fricken fall pictures. Sheesh.
  • Cold weather. I said brrrrrrr. It's cold in here. 
  • That voice in my head that demands more. She needs to just lay off & shut her cake-hole. 
  • Feeling crummy. You guys. I might be on the verge of a major diet change. Simply because I am just constantly feeling like crap. Is that the constant lack of sleep? Or the popcorn I sometimes substitute for an actual meal? Or all the potatoes? Meh. Probably all of the above.  
  • Bad hair days. When you have several in a row, you know it's time for a good end trim.
  • People that compare you to other people they know. I know she has a great blog. I know she wrote a book. I know she's a vegan & only eats organic. If I'm not comparing myself to these awesome women, then why are you? Am I ever just enough with my small blog, unpublished writing, meat-eating ways? Let's root for each other. But not assume that one path is always the one made for another.
  • The moment you realize your fly is down. And you have no idea how long it has been that way.
  • Quitting soda. Why is this soooooo hard?
  • Forgetting to take pictures of the day-to-day things. That some day won't be the day-to-day things. Like toddlers in pull-ups, cuddling with monkeys. 

Life is too short not to be sweet. Lots of love Reader.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Where We Went From There.

I wish I could walk up to this girl sitting on these rocks one year ago.
Put my arm around her, and tell her what I know now:

It was all for the best.

Sometimes when change happens. Because the church changed & we changed.
And all the reasons we felt called to this tiny place shifted.
When leadership changed, and we tried to hang onto why we were in that particular ministry.
When you are asked to leave. A place we very much felt called to.
We don't always understand why things happen the ways in which they do.

I won't pretend it didn't hurt.
It hurt like hell.
Losing everything we worked so hard for.
Will make you question everything & everyone in your life.
Even why you devote your life to the things that you do.

It especially will make you question your faith.
Who is God? And what is He doing?
Why does God allow for the things God allows?
Where is justice? And repentance? And mercy?
Where are all those people you've helped along the way, when you find yourself being the one needing help?
How do you make other people understand what you've been through?
When you don't fully understand yet yourself?

It's been a year of learning what it means to be broken.
Wide open.
Not having a plan.
Not knowing what is next.
If you asked me to do this year over again, I wouldn't.
No way in hell.

As you start to come through it though.
When you see the light beginning to shine through the cracks.
You know you've just been changed.
In a way that makes you different from who you used to be.
You aren't even sure you're the same person.

Maybe it all had to happened just the way it did.
So that I might be just where I am.

Maybe we had to lose it all.
Jobs we loved. A ministry. Friendships. Reputations. Our church. A livelihood. The grand expectations that others placed on our shoulders. The expectations we had on ourselves.

Maybe we had to see it up close.
Pain. Defeat. Humility. Betrayal. Brokenness. Cruelty. Agony. Hurt. Judgement.
The hurts & the pains caused by those who claim to love God most.
Maybe I had to see it. The pain in my own eyes.
So that I could recognize the pain in the eyes of another.

Maybe it had to happen just the way it did.
So that I might be just where I am.

So that I might learn how to draw close the people I need with one arm.
While slowly & carefully stepping out from relationships I no longer needed to be part of.

So that I could learn how to trust God-given discernment.
And see that no person could ever take you away from God's hand.

Maybe I had to learn how to get past what others thoughts & opinions are about me.
Maybe it's knowing that at the end of the day, you have done all that you are called & required to do.
And if you can live with it, you can be at peace with yourself.
Though maybe not at peace with everyone.

I had to learn to see that there is always good in the world.
Beauty in brokenness.
Someone willing to show up.
On your doorstep. With a bucket of potatoes & a hug.

Maybe I had to learn what I learned so that I could experience True Love more sweetly & tenderly.
So that I could hold onto it longer.
And feel it more deeply.

And maybe that has to be the point.

My best friend Krista put together a little book for me for my 30th birthday.
In it was filled with encouragement from friends I have known from many different places.
One person wrote:

"You feel things very deeply - pain, joy, & the Spirit....
You live out your roles with the same deep passion & intensity that you feel when life brushes up against you."

I used to think that feeling things so deeply was my curse to carry.
But maybe this year had to teach me to see the good in that.

It has been incredibly difficult.
To find soft places to land.
And people we could trust, willing to listen & let you be where you are.
To find work. And work to be content with.
To find joy. Lasting joy.
To have hope. And taste healing.
To slow down.
To stop for moments. Just to hear the silence.
To stop being so afraid of the silence.

As I started to think back on this entire last year, when I see it wholly, I see sadness & failure.
But when I retreat to my box of memories - otherwise known as my picture jump drive- I saw something completely different.
I saw hope.
And change.
Most of all, Love.

Maybe it's my need to see something good come out of something so hard.
But every picture of one small moment to the next strung together something sacred.
This has been a sacred season.
Of this I am sure.

There's no manual for what happens next when your world completely changes.
Trevor & I went inward.
We privately retreated into a safe space.
Where we have remained this past year.
Knowing that part of healing eventually requires taking new risks.
Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be that brave again.

Brave for us these days is simply pulling our car into the church parking lot.
Not even able to go inside.
Trying to find the strength to even put one foot out of the car.
Brave for us is saying hi to someone we've never met.
Or trying to break down the walls we've built & become vulnerable again.

Brave is writing.
And living.
Going to counseling.
Some days it's letting go.
Other days it's clinging to the feet of my Jesus.

Some days I think we'll get back to that place.
Where good days will always be more present than bad.
Where life & relationships & conversations won't feel so complicated.
Where we'll get past all of this.
"Move On."
Whatever moving on really means.
Maybe we'll get back into full-time ministry.
Maybe we won't.
Maybe we will serve God just as we are.
Maybe that will be enough.

With every picture I take, I see hope.
A hope for healing & relief from pain.
And a longing to be well.
Oh how I ache to feel well.

My secret best friend Jenny Simmons is releasing a new album this next month.
Oddly enough, it's titled "To Be Well."
I put together all of these moments from the past year that collectively, inspire me to hope.
And if for no one else, this song & these memories play for me.
To remind me.
To see good. And beauty. And hope in brokenness.
That God lets no season of our lives go to waste.
And that our God is always present.
Emmanuel - God With Us.

Thank you to every single person who filled these pictures.
You were the hands & feet of Jesus this past year for us.
And we love you.