Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ski Lodge Livin'

Gift wrapping, 5k running, anxiety fighting, sweater wearing, couch crying, Christmas cooking, book reading, window staring.... This is my life. Well, this weekend at least. And now it’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting at my window seemingly watching the world change outside. It feels like two days ago that this window view was all green and then all fall colors and now, it’s bare. And I’m struck by the fact that just that fast, the seasons change, the world changes, and maybe MAYBE... so do we? 

I mean, even as you just read through the list of things that I claim makes up my life, can you see it? Part of the list seems like I’m having the best life ever. But I’d be remiss to leave off the part where I am fighting anxiety and crying on my couch. Oh, I know. I could leave it off. A lot of people do. But you see, I don’t want people to look at my life and think that I have it all together every day. I want you to know that some days absolutely suck the life out of me and some are so full of joy that I think I could burst. And if I’m honest, a lot of them are in the middle, just mundane and ordinary.

But as I look out my window, I think about how fast the seasons have changed. Wasn’t it only last week that I sat in front of my very first Christmas tree with my sweet husband? And for that matter, wasn’t it last month that I watched all of LOST over Christmas break with my brother just so I would have something to talk about with that sweet (not-even-close-to-being-my) husband man? And even more than that, wasn’t it just last year that my brothers and I decorated our Charlie Brown looking tree in our pajamas while we lived in a trailer on Tater Peeler Road?

Is time flying? I don’t know about you, but from this vantage point, from this window, it goes faster every year. And if I’m not careful, I think the whole thing could zoom right by without me even stopping to notice. Especially in those moments of heartache and grief and anxiety fighting and couch crying. 

But what if I change my perspective? What if this whole life really has something to do with perspective? What if there really is something to all those verses in Scripture about thinking about what is excellent or pure or praiseworthy? What if setting your mind on things above changes everything? What if I could see everything, I mean EVERYTHING, as a gift from the only being who has ever and will ever love me and satisfy me completely? 

So here I sit, at my window. And instead of this being a tiny one-bedroom apartment, I imagine it’s a ski lodge resort. And the scenery is changing all the time, not because life is moving too fast and needs to slow down, but because God has other gifts that He just can’t wait to show me. And I know that when I blink, I’ll be old and gray and probably have wrinkles in places that we never need to discuss on the internet. But what I want to know is that when I am sitting by the window in front of my 50th Christmas tree with my sweet husband, I will have stopped and noticed every season, every gift as it flew right by. Right outside my perfectly imperfect ski lodge view window. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

I promised my sister-in-law I'd tell her my blog link on my second post...

I wish I knew why I was slightly shy about sharing my writing with others. I finally caved and told my brother and sister-in-law that I had a blog the other day. Then I told them that I hadn't told anyone yet that I had started blogging. Their loving response? Laughter. HA! I probably deserved it. However, I did tell Kelli that once I had written my second post, I would tell her the link. Better make this post a good one then!

I've thought of all kinds of things I can't wait to write about. Things I'm learning, things that suck, things that make my heart want to leap through my chest, things that I am afraid will not leap off of my chest if I don't word vomit them somewhere, and so on and so forth. But today, I'm going to put all of those things aside and just be thankful.

I'm reading this fantastic book right now with and even more fantastic community of women after God's own heart. It's been such a wonderful, welcome surprise in my life. The book is called "The Good and Beautiful God," and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a book to make you uncomfortable and loved deeply all at the same time. Understanding God is not something I plan on ever actually figuring out fully, but this book is helping me at least understand His nature a little better. You gotta read it.

Anyway, at the end of each chapter of the book, there is something called "Soul Training." It's basically learning spiritual disciplines with the mindset that you can train to become better and better at them. You don't have to be fantastic at them right away. Which is GREAT news for this girl who quite honestly really stinks at the spiritual disciplines sometimes. (I hope I just heard an AMEN from a few of you out there!) This week's Soul Training is thankfulness. The suggestion for what to do for it is make a list of a hundred things that I am thankful for and that just fits me like a glove!

(I say fits me like a glove because one time in college, I made a ridiculous statement that there were literally one thousand things that I would rather do than write the paper I needed to be writing. That became a dare. Anyone who has a lot of free time on their hands and a hankering for laughter, you are welcome to borrow my unpublished copy of One Thousand Things I'd Rather Do Than Write a Paper. Yes, I actually wrote it. And yes, it is ridiculous.)

So here I go, making another list. Although since it's a thankful list, I plan for it to be a little less ridiculous than my last long list.... Well, for the most part :)

In no specific order:

1. Jesus Christ, God and human 2. His gift of the Holy Spirit 3. My precious husband 4. The hint of fall in the air 5. The rocking chair I'm in 6. Growing up in a family where I knew I was loved 7. Pioneer Woman's cookbooks 8. Juanita "The Queen" aka my Kitchen-Aid mixer 9. 1713, my beautiful first home with my sweet Josh 10. That we get to move to a second home with a sweet view and porch soon! 11. The Office (our current favorite show to laugh at) 12. My church and how it is shaping my heart to be more like Christ 13. Gift cards for free dinners 14. Size medium long sleeved American Apparel t-shirts 15. Craft days 16. Unbelievably kind, loving, godly in-laws 17. Margaret, my best friend/counselor 18. The ability to walk and run 19. The cutest nephews in the whole world 20. The opportunity to chase my dreams and go back to school this fall 21. Medicine that curbs anxiety attacks 22. My new MacBook pro 23. A workout room and pool at our apartment 24. Francine Rivers 25. And lots of other great books and the ability to get lost in them 26. Growth in who I am as a human being and as a woman of God 27. The hardships of the past few years that have brought that growth 28. My mom who coaches me through so much 29. Finally having sisters in my life 30. How much I enjoy spending time with my grandmother these days and how much she knows about the Lord 31. People in my life encouraging me to do what's best for me, even if its not the social norm 32. Unmistakable peace about big decisions 33. The old friends in my life who have stood by me and loved me so long 34. The new friends in my life who I'm growing to love and cherish 35. Chuy Chuesdays 36. Chipotle 37. That God gave us the ability to taste flavor when we eat 38. Gut laughter 39. Lipscomb University 40. My iPhone 41. The fact that it's only 4 months until Christmas 42. Creativity 43. Imagination 44. How freaking cool Disney World is 45. Steve Jobs 46. Growing up with brothers and how I've gotten to watch them grow into good men 47. Wedding cake 48. Stilly, the stuffed animal Josh brought me home the other day 49. Bob and Karen Wood 50. Living in this country 51. Getting to travel to many others 52. Days that feel like twirling 53. The group of women I'm reading The Good and Beautiful God with 54. Good toilet paper 55. Cold water 56. SNOW 57. Birthdays 58. Memories captured in pictures 59. A good tan 60. Electric toothbrushes 61. Massages 62. My book: One Thousand Things I'd Rather Do Than Write A Paper (and how fun it was to write it) 63. Me and Josh's summer bucket list 64. Batman 65. Honeymoons 66. The beach 67. My memory of cooking with my brothers and sisters and the beach this year 68. The power of me too (ask me about it sometime!) 69. Amaretto sours 70. 90's country music 71. How good I sound singing Martina McBride in my car.. HA! 72. What it feels like to feel God's presence 73. How my faith has grown since I haven't felt it anymore 74. Beautiful worship song lyrics 75. Owning a copy of the Bible for myself 76. That there are really awesome homeless people that go to my church 77. That Josh and I are going to DisneyWorld and Sarasota for our anniversary 78. AND that we're going to New York at Christmastime! 79. Every day of the last ten months that I've been Josh's wife 80. Milk for breakfast 81. Breakfast for dinner 82. Candles 83. Tears 84. Dentists and doctors 85. That my parents were divorced (that one took me a loooong time to be thankful for, but man I've seen the goodness of God in His plan now with all sides of my family) 86. Women who are a little older than me who want to spend time with me and pour into me 87. Words 88. Crayola crayons 89. The pop-up, head falling off, dancing Santa that is my favorite gift Josh has ever given me 90. How exercising keeps you regular (if you know what I mean!) 91. Baths 92. Magic fan 93. Romantic comedies 94. How my brother taught me that everyone picks their nose 95. Hope. Beautiful wonderful hope 96. Letters in the mail 97. Being showered with love and gifts as we got married 98. A comfy bed 99. The crazy, frizzy hair on my head. I think I'd be ugly bald. 100. A new place to write things like these to share with whoever runs across them

If you got all the way down to this line, you deserve a prize. Thank you for glancing into a big ol' piece of my heart and not judging me for it. If you have a free couple of minutes, take advantage, sit down, and start your list. It truly does put things in perspective and make you realize the joy in your life. And if it's a hard time in your life right now, I encourage you to do this all the more. Maybe put on Laura Story's song Blessings in the background though. It helps, I promise.

And I forgot one more... 101. I'm thankful for you, my friend and fellow journeyer.

Promise my next post won't be quite so long :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Introduction

            I have always assumed that I would never be a blogger. Don’t get me wrong. I love blogs. I check my sister-in-laws’ blogs every day. But me? Nah. I speak out loud. But for some reason, it’s all that I’ve thought about this week. Even about an hour ago while I was in the shower, I was writing my first blog in my head. And then my second one and maybe even my third... So I think I should blog.
            I really enjoy writing. Some people probably think it’s nerdy, and maybe you’re even right, but I think it’s fun. And I just have had so many thoughts in my head over the last couple of years that I think it’s causing traffic jams and maybe even be why I can’t remember names well lately... (Interesting. I’ve never thought that thought until just now, but I bet that’s it! Fantastic. I officially have something to blame my memory loss on! See, I knew I needed to blog.)
            Aaaanyway, though I love to write, there has always been one part of it that is like a Winnie the Pooh little black rain cloud that looms over every piece I have ever written. And that, my friend, is what we formerly know as “The Introduction.” I hate introductions. They hang over my head and scare me for days at a time. In college, it was why I would put off papers until the very last second and be up until 4 am the night before it was due and then be getting up the next morning at 6 am to finish it and print it so I could get to my 8 am class. Ridiculous, I know, but this is who I am. A lot of times, I would even call my mom, tell her what my paper was about, and have her write the first sentence of the first paragraph out loud for me so that I could get my introductory paragraph started. I’m scared of introductions. I want them to perfectly personify the piece that I am about to write, be it an article or a paper or perhaps even... a blog.
            And you know what? It almost got me again. I almost didn’t start this blog at all because I thought the introductory post had to be spot on perfect and that you had to have the best impression of my writing and of myself and of what was to come as we share in each other’s journeys. But here’s what I’m learning about papers, about blogs, about relationships, about marriage, and maybe even about God. Sometimes you just gotta get the introduction going. Sometimes it will perfectly portray all that is to come. Sometimes it will be NOTHING LIKE the beauty that is to come. And sometimes, all you have to do is write it.
            So now I blog. And this is my introduction.