Sunday, November 23, 2014

"building blocks" of motherhood.


As I lie here on my bed with this little man finally resting peacefully on my chest, I have a minute [the 60-second kind, not the "I'll be ready in a minute" kind I tell my husband when I'm getting ready] to reflect on how my life has changed from the moment he came into the world. Motherhood is a beautiful season, but not necessarily in the same way that I typically use the word beautiful. "Raw beauty" is how I'll describe this part of my life. Whatever I knew of life before has been stripped away and replaced with what I'll call the "building blocks", or the moments and lessons, of this new role I serve. The building blocks are not stacked impressingly high or in any organized fashion, they're simply there in front of me, and I need to come to the Lord with each one as I get to it. I do not know what to do with these new pieces, however, I am finding a challenging joy in bringing them to the cross each moment and speaking to my Father about them. When I prayed that the Lord would "rid me of myself", I believe He is answering.

The foundation that these building blocks are to be placed on, I believe, is grace. In these first few weeks of motherhood, that looks a bit like the following:

Grace for my boy who keeps us up all night because growing is hard work. 

Grace for my husband who is picking up his own blocks and trying to build what God has called him to build with them. 

Grace for myself when I try and it just goes all sorts of wrong. [More stories on that later.. I'm really awesome at this rookie first time mom thing.]

I must take the grace that was given to me by God and begin each day there (Lamentations 3:22-23). Only then will I be able to learn the lessons from the moments motherhood brings. Eventually, if all goes well, I pray that I will have learned valuable lessons from my new role that will forever impact who I am. I pray that what He is building in me will be pleasing in His sight, and more importantly that it will bring glory to His Name.

The block I am currently working with is called "being still".. one I believe will be a challenge for this "goer/doer". So for today, I will do just that until I learn it well and come across the next block I am to bring to the ever-forming structure. Only with God's help will I have any success, so until then, I pray for just that!

To mothers everywhere, especially those with whom I have had the pleasure of having a personal relationship with: 

As I am sure all new moms do, I have the highest respect and admiration for all that you do. I have seen some beautifully raw structures built by so many of you and I am thankful first for the authentic words you have shared, and second that I now have the eyes to see just a glimpse of how much you put into following the Lord's blueprint for your story! Keep learning and building.. I'm honored to be a part of such a special group. May we all have grace for ourselves and one another as we walk this path!  



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

the beauty.


"Don't focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry 
or wearing fashionable clothes; let your adornment be what's inside - the real you, 
the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights."  -- 1 Peter 3:3-4


For a moment of being "the real me", I want to share some real me moments. Pregnancy is beautiful. The blessing that we prayed fervently for was given, and we have been so grateful. There have been sweet moments, weird moments, and awe-inspiring moments that have brought me (and Harris) to tears throughout this process. A moment that pops up more often than not has been that of body image. There is no doubt that pregnancy changes your body in a multitude of ways. It just happens to you. While the tiny person God is using your body to protect is forming in the womb, your body is at the mercy of any number of changes and developments that need to occur in order to bring the little one into the world. Each woman's journey through this delivery process is unique, and thankfully so. Just as our stories through life are different, this season is one of personal discovery and every woman has her story to live.

For me, one of the challenges of this special process has been the concept of body image. Don't get me wrong, I have full comprehension of the beauty it is to watch my body shape to hold a tiny boy who shares his daddy's name. It has just been a unique challenge to allow the numbers on the scale to increase, to watch as my body stretches and grows, and to see such drastic physical changes happen almost overnight. I have experienced every comment from, "He's going to be a BIG boy. Are they predicting his weight? I bet he's 9 pounds already!" all the way to, "There's no way you're already 32 weeks! You look great!" Unfortunately, I struggle at times and find myself at the mercy of these comments, which I hate. I find that one moment my heart wants to lean into the positive comments and at the next moment feels heavy at the awkwardly critical ones. Thankfully I can anchor myself to the truth that it's not about my outward appearance, but about the real me, the me on the inside.. and in this case, also the little me inside! (see what I did there?)

I have seen and heard so many pregnant women who love to make a big spectacle about their pregnant body and physical experience. All the world needs to know what a horrible time she is having, how her silly husband just has no idea what she goes through, and "oh", "umph", "ugh". Don't get me wrong. Pregnancy is funny at times. The process brings unusual changes, and it can be a point of relating with other women when you can share about those experiences, but while I am keenly aware of many of the ailments that this process can bring, I feel it is important that we all work to maintain the gracious and quiet spirit that Peter describes (especially in this season).

My goals through this time (as it comes to a close) are the following:

Grace for myself and all of the struggles and joys that this season brings.
A quiet spirit in the midst of physical and emotional changes and struggles.*
Grace for others and the comments that come my way.
A quiet spirit that delights in the Lord first and does not draw excess attention to myself.

*I feel I need to add additional comments here to say that I don't mean to imply martyrdom in this. By no means do I mean that I hope for myself or other women to struggle or suffer in silence, but that I hope to be fully present and participate in the beauty that this process is, physical discomfort and all, and draw on the strength of the Lord to get me through the difficult times. 

May we all encourage one another towards the lasting beauty that is inside each of us, no matter what age, season, or stage of life we're in.

Friday, July 11, 2014

awkward & awesome.



The idea for today's post came from one of my favorite blogs, thedaybookblog.com. When she was pregnant with her first, the author posted every Thursday to commemorate some of the moments that marked her experience. I decided this would be a great exercise for me to begin as I'm a little over halfway through this new journey with baby York.

Awkward:
- Well, we can start with the picture of my bump above. What are those raven claws coming from the top of the red mountain? Veinyyy is what they are.
- May I add bump selfies in general?
- My latest adventure with clothing... Every morning Harris gets a fashion show, like it or not. I need help and he's not a girl, so he must fulfill the occasional, "no that won't do" or "hold this and I'll zip you up" role.
- Cracking myself up with my own joke before the recipient had a chance to even process what I said. I'm left laughing hysterically by myself.. it really was funny, promise.
- Riding a bike in a maxi dress while pregnant. Don't let your dress fly up, get caught in the wheels, or flash innocent bystanders. Do you even remember how to do this? Oh yeah, and you're front-heavy.
- Walking by people in the hallway or at the store: Eye contact, belly-eye contact, smile. Yes, that's a bump you see, but sometimes I want to say, "that buffet lunch was delightful!" Keep 'em guessin'.
- I'm not sure why I just assumed underwear and bras would fit like they always did while the rest of me grows exponentially. 
- The pathetic attempt I made the other night to do a 'prenatal arm workout'. Those 5lb weights have never been so heavy. The occasional reminder to breathe actually saved my life.
- My food obsession. Harris says, "I have steaks in the fridge marinating for the grill, some green peppers to roast, and baked potatoes for dinner tonight.".. and I was so sweet to suggest, "Can we just go to Captain D's?" I meant it.
 
 
Awesome:
- Going for a chill Sunday plane ride with Harris, only to have the little one show his excitement by practicing his fist bump dance all over my insides. A sign of active boy things to come, I'm sure!
- Our latest trip to the lake in GA. Family, fireworks, food, the fourth.. perfect.
- VINEGAR. Anything with vinegar on it or in it. Salt & Vinegar chips being the particularly desirable snack of choice these days. If you ever have to tell me bad news, just do it after handing me a king size bag of these. It'll go over just fine.
- The funny voice Harris gets when he goes to speak to his mini-me in my belly. It's never his normal voice. I love it though because I know baby is probably just as much of a weirdo, and I love weirdos.
- My new revelation that we will no longer celebrate my favorite holidays (Thanksgiving & Christmas) without our newest member of the family. Oh, the traditions!! I can just see the eye rolls that my future teenage boy will give because of Mom's obsession with making Christmas magic!! Love it!
- Giving in wholeheartedly to a nap after work because I needed it. Best feeling ever.
- Thinking about the fact that I have a little man to raise and teach about God's love.
 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

for the tough guys [girls].




I like to be tough. When you fall, you get back up. When you're hurting, you push through and fight 'till the end. [for the most part] For someone who has many friends who would describe her as super compassionate, I really am a tough girl. Overall, my pregnancy has been a dream. [no complaints here] Today, at the end of week 16, I think the little one has decided to grow grow grow, and potentially all in this one afternoon. I pushed through, but you know, sometimes it's okay to just let it be what it is. Tough. So I'm going to slump down in my chair, assume my coworkers know by now that I'm professional, and  admit that all I want is a foot rub and a frappuccino.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

letter to my sour patch.

Dear Baby Sour Patch,

You're here! You're so bitty, but you have the cutest shape already. [Thus, your nickname].
I'm only 14 weeks, but I have already felt you move. I think God told you that I was praying for that. Thanks for cooperating.

I know you're going to teach me so much. You already have and you are still in the hidden place.
As you may have guessed, I have not the slightest idea of what will come when you arrive. The good news is that I don't have to be afraid, and neither do you. God promised to be with us both and give us the strength to figure it out together!

Thank you for not making me feel sick. I'm definitely sleepy all the time, but that's just cause I'm helping you grow - your mama is tired! It's all so worth it. I can't wait to hear you laugh and get to know your hand-made personality.

Your daddy is the most handsome, strong, hilarious, creative, and kind man in the whole wide world. How lucky you are that God chose to bring you into the world with him as your father! I can't wait for you to meet him. I think he will cry. [He's sensitive too, by the way].

If I could tell you one thing, it would be that Jesus loves you. More than we ever could. He's knitting you together right now, placing each toe, hair, and bone together exactly where it needs to be. He is with you always and will never leave you. We prayed that you would be ours, and He has given us the amazing gift of being your parents. You're valuable. You're wanted. You're a treasure.

Much more to say, but for now I'll end with I love you! Stay active in there!

Your mama.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

out of control.

 
Well, our much anticipated announcement was revealed on Easter weekend... we are parents!!



This has been such a beautiful experience already. [and that's not just because I have not been sick one single day since I found out he/she was in there - sorry other mamas] Harris and I prayed continually that the Lord would bless us with a child, and in His timing, He did! Our sweet little sour patch kid (nickname provided by sister-in-law) is healthy, growing, and a complete gift.

The biggest and most pronounced of the lessons I am learning as my adventure of motherhood begins is that I am completely out of control. Bare with me, experienced ones, as I discover this new world.

I have done nothing [outside praying and heeding the suggested precautions] to protect or provide for this little one. I am simply here. Me. The fact that he/she is in my body and thriving is literally the Lord's active work and blessing each day. I am constantly amazed.

The good and bad news about this is that my inability to control will continue when this baby is outside of my body and in this world. I will have no power to ultimately protect the baby from the sins of the world. I will have no power to ultimately provide for the baby's every need. God is only able to do so by His strength and by His provision. I'll be a glad and eager participant, in whatever way He would allow me to, but from the moment this baby was conceived, I have not had control.

The best news, however, comes from His Word:
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."  -Philippians 3:20-21

Fortunately, this world is neither my, nor my little one's home. Our citizenship is in heaven. Until then, I have to rely on the Lord to provide for my needs and those of this life He has entrusted to me. I am completely out of control and completely humbled.

We look forward to sharing this journey with friends and family and continually pointing upward.
To Him be the glory!

Monday, April 14, 2014

why do you celebrate?

Yesterday at church, our pastor taught from the passage in Luke 19 about when Jesus came into Jerusalem on a donkey the week before He was crucified on the cross. That's because yesterday was a Christian holiday called "Palm Sunday". On this day in history, Jesus rode into town and the people laid down their coats and waived palm branches as a form of honorable welcome for Him.

I have heard the story many times, and I just figured it was a nice account of a time when believers welcomed their Savior with honor... but apparently it was not exactly what I thought.

Apparently the people in the town were mostly just glad that Jesus was coming for the reasons they wanted Him to come: to destroy their enemies, advocate for their political side, and generally be a dominating leader who would get them what they wanted (which they thought were 'righteous' wants, as humans tend to do).

They were not standing in awe that the Lord would come down in the form of Jesus and save their own confused, hateful, prideful, impatient souls. They were just glad to have a supposedly powerful ruler who seemed like he would fight against the "bad people".



I had to stop a minute and think about the number of times I have only been 'joyful in the Lord' when things are more or less 'going well' in a season of life.

I had to stop a minute and think about the number of times I have thought about the "bad people" in the world, and how much they needed to get what they deserve. (I'm ashamed)

The truth is, I deserve to get the worst of the worst. Fortunately, I had people in my life who love me, tell me about what Jesus truly came for, which is to save sinners like me. To give grace to those who do NOT deserve it. To give life to the lifeless. To offer peace for people who are restless. It's the opposite of how we naturally think the world works. That's grace.

As we come up on one of my favorite holidays, Easter, I hope that I am able to recognize and understand the gospel in new ways. I hope that I am not just excited because of what I think Jesus can do for my own agenda, but that I am excited because of what He has already done in my soul.



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

being intentional.

I recently stopped to notice that I have not been intentional in many areas of my life.

The automatic mode kicks in often, and this is not even the busiest season I've had in a really long time. As a matter of fact, quite the contrary, this is somewhat one of the slowest little seasons I've had recently. I go through the daily motions, and get from one designated place to another, and I interact as well as I can, but there is a difference. I am not thinking intentionally as I do these things.

We all have to fight for what we value: marriage, family, friendships, faith, peace, etc. These things will not come naturally, despite the fact that you simply really really want them:



If I want a solid marriage, the time I spend with (and without) Harris needs to be intentional - with the intent of making our marriage strong and thriving. What actions can I take to make him feel valued? respected? significant?

If I want a family that has good communication, I need to be intentional to create moments that foster good back-and-forth and offer a chance for everyone to feel safe to share. Is this an open door for me to ask how this person's heart is after what seems like it could have been a difficult day?

If I want genuine friendships, I must step out on a limb and be intentional about the degree of openness and realness that I share with them. How can I offer the feeling that I have an unconditional positive regard for this person, no matter what they can or cannot do for me?

If I want a solid faith, being intentional to practice a grateful heart and intentionally offering up prayers in the midst of a crazy schedule is what will make it happen over time. What promises do I hope for that I can be confident in?

If I want peace that surpasses the circumstances, I should be intentional in how I approach the day: not allowing the natural worries to flood my head, or the scribbles on my planner to overwhelm my mind. How has the Lord provided for me in the past? How can I be still and know that He is God?

These things I value, while my heart may eagerly desire them, do not simply happen without thought and action. I want to sacrifice things so that I can enjoy what I value and place each in its proper place. This even applies to other topics such as alone time, fitness, creativity, and other avenues. There just has to be intentionality for them to truly be present in my life... so here I go!


Monday, March 17, 2014

a tribute to the youth.

I would like to introduce you to some faces who have forever impacted my life. The blessing is that these are but a few I have had the pleasure of interacting with:

 
a spirit with peace like that of a river
 
 
a family with love that knows no condition
 
 
 
a girl full of joy that is infectious
 
 
I have had the pleasure of watching these young people walk through life, and unfortunately, over the past few years (and more recently), walk through tragedy. They have each faced challenges in life that far exceed the emotional and spiritual challenges that are typical of their chronological ages. Yet the most beautiful part about being in relationship with them, even if only for a time or in a small way, is that I have been forever marked by the faith that anchors them.
 
In times of both regular teenage life, as well as times of deepest grief and mounrning, I am in awe of the strength these young people possess. The fact that the Lord would entrust each of them with such a story, such a legacy of faith, is modern day Mary and Joseph if you ask me.
 
They choose to believe God is good. They choose to take Him at His Word.
 
The Lord speaks highly of this population that is oft overlooked in our culture. Judged, brushed off, and mocked for any number of reasons.. yet the youth will surprise you, and I dare say even challenge you. If adults would take the time to get to know young people, whether they be family, friends, or neighbors, I believe they would walk away catching a glimpse of some aspect of the faith that they lost along the way, or perhaps never knew.
 
Lord, in my eyes, these young people are not "deserving" of such heartache and loss, but who am I to say what their story should or should not be. The strength that the Lord entrusts in each one is a blessing to the world!
 
Turn to the youth. They will surprise you with character that has not yet been tainted by our world.
 
Thank you, each of you, for teaching me more than I know I needed to learn. My time with all of you has blessed me beyond measure. I pray for all of you constantly, and only wish I could take away the pain you've all experienced through loss. You have encouraged me to value the important things in life, and I know that I will always be inspired by the resilience that you show each day.
 



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

the benefit of a true friend.

If you don't watch the show The Bachelor, you'll probably still understand this post. If you do watch, it will only enhance your understanding of why I am advocating for every lady to have a true friend in her life. Allow me to explain:

Here's the part for the viewers:
[We cannot know the true nature of Nikki and Juan Pablo's relationship "post-show". From the viewer's perspective it appears that she is starstuck/lovestruck and smitten with this narcissistic man who cannot see outside of himself, and who likely has no intention of spending his life with her or sacrificing one iota of himself for the relationship. Maybe they really do have something private, secret, and special between the two of them that is taking its precious time to blossom out from under the watchful public eye. Maybe.]

Having been a starstuck/lovestruck and smitten girl myself in the past, I can honestly attest to the benefits, nay, the necessity, of having a true friend who can look you in the eye, risk hurting your feelings, and ask you the hard questions. A friend who can come alongside you and lovingly tell you that you're not looking at the whole picture realistically.

You'll think they're jealous.
You'll think they're just trying to ruin what you have.
You may even think they are not a friend, much less a true friend.

If someone comes alongside you and has proven to be a loving, true, and honest friend, I beg that you build a trust in that relationship so that when you do go through seasons of life, particularly seasons where you're making big choices [such as in a relationship], they can lovingly speak truth to you.

If you're as stubborn as I was (as I am), you may not receive it outright at first. You may hear, but not understand. I'd argue that "it's okay" [HA! If you watched the show, you'd be laughing here too] if that's the case. At least you're being challenged and not blindly encouraged into an area of life you potentially have goo-goo-goggles on for.

And for those who don't know what goo-goo-goggles are...
+
 =

Typically when we are challenged by those who genuinely love us and have been a part of our lives and we get defensive or don't like the advice or guidance or questions we're being asked, we need to at least have an honest self-meeting that sounds a bit like this:

"Hey self, great to see ya. Lookin' good. Hey, why do you think we got so mad that friend asked us about that particular area of life? Why do you think we were enraged when friend said we're not acting like ourselves, or that we've changed?" 

I'd venture to say that the result of such a meeting would allow you the room to look honestly at the things you may have been a little foggy on, innocently ignoring, or actively avoiding. You may end up realizing, [not always], that friend was right. There are some red flags, and I should maybe take a step back and look at this.

For my viewers:
[Sadly, I don't think Nikki has that type of friend in her life asking her the hard questions. Asking her if she truly feels that this man can be a leader in her life. If he would sacrifice of himself if she were to get sick. If he has communicated to her the reasons he loves her for who she is.. 
I pray that he can and he does.] 

The best part is that, with this sort of true friend, if you're in a great place and taking wise steps, you can answer their questions honestly and openly, and leave that conversation without having to have a self-meeting. You can objectively look at the situation you're in and walk away with a smile because you're in a wise and wonderful season of life. 

Go you!

Thanks friend. Thanks self. Good to see ya. Until next time.


Monday, February 24, 2014

our place.


This is a view from our ride home yesterday. What a sky, right??

The reason I love long car rides is because of the uninterrupted time it creates for me and my husband to talk about life, liberty, and the pursuit of not just happiness, but joy. We discuss, we disclose, we discover, we divulge, and I love every minute of it. [Harris does too, except for when conversations are interrupted with an occasional helpful comment or suggestive gasp from the side-seat driver]. There are basically no distractions and we have got all the time in the world, 7.5 hours to be exact.

When we were dating, Harris told me he loved me for the first time in the car. We have had our most intense conversations dealing with grief and tears and brokenness and raw real life in the car. We have also laughed hard and told a good story or two in the car. That's "our place".

For us, a long car ride is the perfect time for us to do a thorough "check-in" on our marriage, our direction, and our overall well-being as individuals and as a family. [I highly recommend an occasional discussion of this sort to all married couples.] Sometimes it is so easy to think I know how things are going, or we're too distracted to even really notice if something is off or needs an adjustment. We check.

As Harris and I think through and pray through our direction as a family, we have to come together and be intentional. My prayer is that our life would not ever become 'automatic'. There are aspects that are routine, but that's not what I'm talking about. I never want to default. Even if our season is as it is now: training, education, working, and paying off loans, I want to do so with intention and purpose. The car is where Harris and I can pursue that intentionality together.

Thankfully, God has carved out the car as our "place" to do all of that. Romantic, huh?

Where is your place?
The porch swing, your bed, a favorite couch in the living room, a park bench, the kitchen table?

The best part about your place is that, "For where two [or three] are gathered in my name, there am I among them." (Matthew 18:20)

I pray that you would find a place to have these discussions, and make that place special.
Heck, your master bath or a walk-in closet could be as private as it gets in your house... awesome. Nobody has to know that you have your best conversations as one of you sits by boots and the other under the dress pants. It's your "place".

Monday, February 10, 2014

best thinking.


This is a picture of where I do my best thinking. It's late at night in my bed when my world has quieted. As thoughts rush into my mind, sometimes I wish I had a notepad for all the creative genius that comes in, and other times I am glad that step two in the process involves sleeping all of the thoughts away.

Tonight, as the dominant thoughts were rather overwhelming, I had to follow one of my favorite of God's commands: "be still" (psalm 46:10). He has those things (fill in the blank - or in my case, blanks) covered. If they are not of eternal significance, they're not worth unnecessary rumination. If they are of eternal significance, then all the more reason to let it go. Especially as I try to quiet myself before enjoying His gift of sleep. 

Sweet dreams everybody. He is holding you and all the many things your little brain is carrying tightly in His arms tonight.

Goodnight.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

my mundane.



Part of my hesitation in writing blog posts is the insecurity of the feeling that my life is very mundane and uninteresting. In this particular season, I am a wife, I work full-time, and I am in grad school. [Mind you, there is more to me than that, but those are the 'biggies'] We are working hard to save money, so we do not go on super fun adventurous trips or dates, and we are always pressed for time or very exhausted from the amount of work we do, so there you go. I have to remind myself that God is present in the mundane, thus the mundane MUST be worth writing about.
 

I got curious about the word mundane, so naturally I dictionary.com'd it. [Yep, that's a verb]
I expected the definition to say something to the effect of, "regular, day-to-day, normal". What I discovered was revolutionary to me. Here's what I found:

mun-dane: adj.
1. of or pertaining to this world or earth as contrasted with heaven; worldly; earthly
2. common; ordinary; banal; unimaginative


Did you notice the first definition?
 

Now, you all are probably much more knowledgable of definitions than I, and you're thinking, "well, yes, that is what the word means." I, however, was floored. What a concept! The things I am doing day-to-day, that seem completely 'ordinary' and 'regular'... are JUST THAT. They are mundane. No wonder I can get so bogged down in my daily to-do's and seasons of life that feel repetitive and uninteresting. That's because I am, as C.S. Lewis liked to say, "made for another world". Heaven, to be specific.


I love my role as Harris' wife. I love my job at Liberty. I love that I have the opportunity to study and obtain my master's degree in a subject I am very passionate about at this school. I do, however, often feel the weight of the mundane. Thankfully, my gracious Savior offers me glimpses into the heavenly world I was created for so that I can find Him in these day-to-day tasks and seasons. And especially in the everydayness that can often be our reality, God shows that He is worth more than all of it.

So until I am dancing around with [or blogging] some amazingly adventurous/awesome stories (that definitely DO come on very blessed occasions)...

I'll bring you the mundane so that we can magnify the heavenly.

"I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world." - John 17:15-18

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

mr. york

I can't get water from the water cooler without laughing and thinking of your impression of the minions. I love that when it seems like the words of the hymns don't rhyme (because you're supposed to say them in old english), I glance up at you while you sing them in an old english accent ("seen" doesn't rhyme with "been", unless you say "bean") and it cracks me up in church. Your understanding of Christ is beautifully simple. The way you light up when you talk about our God is quite possibly the most beautiful, contagious, and challenging thing I have ever encountered. You sure do have a funny way of never smiling normally when I want to take a picture, and I act frustrated, yet I end up loving all the goofy pictures we take together. The care with which you make my salads for lunch each day in the early morning hours is beyond self-sacrificing - and gourmet, I might add. You quite literally have the most passion for random stuff like I have never seen before in my life. The enthusiasm you get from learning random facts and becoming an expert at, well, everything, is contagious - even if I look at you like you're a five year old kid who is excited to show me that he caught a whole colony of worms and is transporting them around in his pocket (oh wait, that was you one day back in the 80's). I'm not 100% sure, but I think that you have gone downstairs to the cold kitchen EVERY time I have mentioned that I'd love some ice water once we're already snuggled warm in our bed. You still race me to the car, even on "fancy" date nights. And I try to act like we're too cool for that, but I always end up running. I have a feeling we'll act young forever.

Thankful for you today, mister.

 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

this is hard.


 
 

Voila - one of my wonderful Christmas presents from Harris. Brand new "real" running shoes. I really wanted these because I wanted to amp up my fitness, and felt that a new pair of shoes would help inspire that.

(For the record, it was not for a new year's resolution. I don't do those.
I do new day resolutions. Because I need them that often.)
 
I went to the YMCA yesterday to take a fitness class, and it absolutely kicked my booty. And my arms. And my legs. And my abs. And.. well, you get the idea. I also just happened to position myself in the class next to some women who I found out, after evesdropping, observing their rock hard bodies, and just plain playing Sherlock like I do, that they were, "fitness instructors, I presume?"
 
Splendid.
 
I thought I was ready. I've done workouts lately. I'm fit-ish. Nope. Not today.
 
The whole time I was doing something that resembled pushups, I kept thinking, "I really thought I was more in shape than this. I thought I could handle this.. this is hard!" I was reminded of the sermon we heard on Sunday called, "Love is Hard". God wants me to shape my heart to see the world how He sees it, and that takes, well, working out my heart. [See my analogy here? Sneaky.]
 
It is natural for me to love people who love me. The challenge comes in when I run into someone who has wronged me, or who I just plain don't get along with, or even (dare I say it) when someone who I married and vowed to love under all kinds of circumstances hurts or annoys me unintentionally. I become unloving. Unkind. Snappy. Ew.
 
Love challenges our natural feelings, our natural actions, and our natural life. [As does fitness, for many people.] The benefit of working out our heart (in both instances) is definitely worthwhile. Honestly, the only way I can do either one is to stay close to the cross - so I can keep going when the going gets rough.
 
Don't just settle for what is 'natural' because that will often leave you wanting. By not challenging ourselves creatively, spiritually, physically, emotionally, or however-ly.. we're allowing the natural tendencies to take over, and not allowing the possibilities to reveal themselves. Work hard, fight the default, but remember that there's grace ready for you when you are only able to do the modified versions of spiderman pushups. There will also be a high five from me simply because you came out. 


Friday, January 24, 2014

no longer new.

I have been gone a while. Since last year to be exact.

This adventure in Virginia, this blog, this season of life is no longer new, so I suppose I was disheartened and believed that I no longer had anything of interest to share. Harris and I are in what I call a "season of training": working and schooling. That's all we do. Sprinkle some random poor-grad-student-style dates and fun gatherings with our wonderful friends, but, well, yeah that's it.

The truth of the matter is we do have an adventure to share, and do I learn lessons every day. I don't ever want to be disillusioned into believing that because our current situation or season is not some crazy new or overly exciting/exotic dream world, that I have less of a story to share. That's such a lie. [Thanks for nothing, lies in my head.]

My goal here is to share this adventure, however mundane, with a degree of vulnerability that is appropriate for the blogging world. If you want more, let's meet for coffee. I have much to be grateful for, and my goal is to bring glory to the Lord in the everyday-ness of my life. Get ready to see some failure in that.. just raw realness here. So yeah, this is no longer a "new" adventure, but I'm going to embrace each messy, awkward, unorganized, sometimes-poor-attitude (often-poor-attitude) day with a smile and hopefully a little blogging. See ya soon.