Looking to Him: One Year At A Time

Thursday, November 07, 2019

I've been meaning to come here for way too long. Some of you know what the year has held. You've watched on IG and FB and we've shared heart to hearts. You've prayed and waited and celebrated right along with me. That's honestly going to be most of you...And I couldn't be more grateful to all of you! 

It's hard to believe all that has happened. The other day as we were planning the holidays my Mom said something about the possibility of my sister being married with a baby on the way by this time next year and we all gave her a guffaw. But...The last year has shown me exactly what God can do. 

I woke up this morning and read a post that Natalie shared. Years ago, I read along diligently making up one of the 700,000 + visitors to her blog as she wrote about life in New York City with her husband and the Baby they waited so long for. I remember when they left the City and then when she stopped writing and when she closed her blog down all together. I didn't know what was up and I honestly didn't suspect anything, least of all, that she had been miserable for a long long time. Reading the words she gave someone else permission to write about her and then took the time to share gave me pause....It made me grieve for her and consider what writing and blogging have meant and looked like in my own life all these years. It made me think about the cost of what we women give to those in our care and what happens when the life that we knew comes to an end for one reason or another. 

The seasons in a woman's life are MANY. While they appear to come and go effortlessly, there is much going on behind the scenes. Much that only other women can fully comprehend. I've finished quite a few of them and written about each one here time and time again. You've watched and listened and wondered and prayed and granted wisdom. Again, I thank you.

Now, it's November 7, 2019. I haven't written a real post in over a year. I haven't written regularly in even longer. Part of me was holding back. Part of me decided I didn't want to spend the time I had to myself here. Part of me wondered where to even begin. Part of me was waiting to see what it was God was doing. 

This morning, I read Natalie's story and the familiar fears that kept me gladly putting one foot in front of the other right where I was began to creep in. Making wonder and question and fear. I hadn't even gotten out of bed and my mind was reeling. And then I began to ponder the last year and that's when the words came to me. I asked myself if THIS is what I wanted and if it could be described as "my dream" and if not...what it was I wanted and what "my dream" would be described as. I remembered the summer I told Pastor Larry that what I wanted out of life and to do with my life was "what God wanted for me and what He had for me". 

That's what I've had and what has gotten me through at every phase. Looking to God and accepting what it as He had for me and diligently attending to what He filled my hands with. 

One year ago today, on November 7, 2018, I woke up and called my Mom. I was in South Carolina preparing to spend my brother's birthday with him for the first time since 2009. I'd arrived the night before after getting dropped off at the airport by the guy I'd spent most of the last 11 days with. We met at church back in the spring and spent the summer hanging out off and on after finding ourselves getting to know each other at various events. We'd gone swimming and hiking and spent time on the beach and cooked for hoards of people and watched movies and he'd come over to my house to play cards with my sister or my Mom. We'd been careful to keep ourselves surrounded by people even though neither one of us saw anything coming to life between us. 

He dropped me off. I got on the plane and wondered what was going on and asking myself what it was that I hoped would happen next. That night, he called with news that the Army was sending him to the training he was waiting on and that he'd be gone by the time I got back from my trip, but that he wanted to begin courting me. It was late and we talked to make sure we both knew what those words meant. The next morning, I called my Mom to tell her and to ask her to meet with him. Later that day, I found myself having lunch with my Dad. We ate gyros at Dinos and sipped our Dr. Peppers. I got a call from my Mom when we were in line and she had more to say and more questions to ask. As I nibbled on fries dipped in tzatsiki, I told my Dad about this guy and the direction he was hoping things could go next. 

Two days later, that guy got on airplane and started training that would do much in defining his future and also the characteristics of our relationship. It was November and he began calling me every single day. Our time to talk was limited with the exceptions of some Friday nights and Saturday mornings. We had a lot of ground to cover and questions to consider. The goal wasn't to get close to one another, but rather, to discern if we were a good fit for each other. He wanted to see if I was the kind of wife he was looking for and I agreed to see if he was the kind of man I could agree to submit to. 

So, we talked. We listened and prayed and read books to help shape our conversations. The days turned into weeks. December rolled around and he decided to come home for a visit. Everyone knew something was up because for all his time in the Army, he didn't usually come home on leave. He came and we had something like 13 days to visit friends and family and celebrate the holidays together. I was filled with so much uncertainty wondering what would happen next and I was still wondering what it was I was hoping for. I had examined him over the phone night after night and now here he was in person. 

Two weeks later, I flew to San Antonio with his Mom to visit him. And the questions were over. On that trip, he surprised me and asked me to marry him. I said yes with absolute certainty that it was not only a good decision, but that it was also right. 

Boiling the last year down into a series of paragraphs with pictures seems like cheating you out of all the details. I'm torn between wanting each step along the way to have its own post and wanting to pick up from HERE, where we are today. I know I'll be writing about this year for years to come. 

It's November 7, 2019. One year ago today...I became aware of what God had been preparing for both of us and both of us for. The thing is...It's not just for us. It's for our families. Our Mothers. Our siblings. Our children. Our children's children. And it's for Him. For His glory and the sake of His name. 

I woke up today in the arms of the guy who took and who takes his role seriously. He didn't ask me until he was certain. He protected me every step of the way so that if we had to walk away, we could. He didn't tell me he loved me until he knew he would say those words to me on every single day he has left on this earth. He agreed not to kiss me until the point he was given permission to do so during our wedding ceremony. He calls me "wife" and he is my husband. 

I'm here, having received a courtship and an engagement and a marriage and a honeymoon and then a baby and now a home from God. One year later, we're working through things and on things to make sure that our habits and our lives and our relationship are in order according to Him. We grant grace and forgiveness and love and we try to make sure our relationship is a blessing to those around us. We look to God just as we did when we were trying to figure out where it was He was leading us. 

One year. So much has changed. I'm still who I was and I still look to Him. I'm still daughter and sister. Now, my house is 8 minutes away. I'm also wife and mother. I traded in my job at the library for role of volunteer. I spend my days keeping house for him and preparing it for the baby that will join us in the middle of winter. 

This year, it happens to be his day off. My sister came over for breakfast and a Christmas movie before work. We sipped chai tea, cuddled up in blankets, and she leaned over and put her head on my shoulder. And she asked me about this post. Here it is, sister of mine. Hopefully it will make way for more to follow. I've started getting the words and the story out. 

God works in the lives of His people. Always. In and through every circumstance. What we have is Him and His grace and His truth. Marriage is meant to be one thing and in order for it be what He means for it to be, we have to look to Him. It's what I did while I was single. It's what we did while we spent all those hours on the phone and in between times. It's what we did in the 11 days we had together before our wedding in May. It's what we've done every day since then. And it's what we'll do with every day He grants to us. 

He does what He wills and teaches us to look to Him. And that's where our assurance comes from. In every season. No matter what. In every role we find ourselves agreeing to.

One year at a time. 

Well Well Well

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Have a post coming SOON. It's been far too long, my sister gives me daily updates that my Mother is now in on, and photobucket just gave me the heart attack I needed to get myself into some kind of gear.

I now have fears of blogger doing something similar with accounts that aren't active. Which would be an actual crying shame.

Okay.

I'll be back. It's been 368 days and THAT is unacceptable.

Open Letters pt. 4

Friday, September 14, 2018

June 19, 2018
I've had some words on my mind for a few days. It's feeling very much like fall. Schedules have shifted. People have turned their attention to putting one foot in front of the other instead of skipping around in summer mode. I've been wearing hoodies and leggings and drinking hot drinks every chance I get. The light is changing. The first of the leaves are falling. Summer of 2018 is settling into our memory banks. 

It was a good summer. I've got to get things worked out to share with you here. Until then...Let's get to another round of letters.


Dear Ghiddu,

I still don't eat the crusts of my sandwiches. You were the only one I could convince to cut them off so I didn't have to bother eating around them. Did you know that? I do eat some of them, just not the last two corners worth.

Dear Roald Dahl, 

One of my favorite library moments happened yesterday and I owe you for it. It was a quiet day. Kids are back in school, the tourists have gone home for the season, and the youngest moms haven't discovered the role the public library plays in their sanity yet. I was out in the stacks doing some shelf reading when I heard the familiar back and forth between a grandfather and his grandkids. They were looking for something and didn't know how to find it and he didn't either and so he was trying to encourage them to ask for help. For whatever reason, an adult behind a desk is SCARY. But, a woman hunched over in front of a shelf is always approachable. The little girl came up to me while her grandfather looked on and I said, "Can I help you find something?" She told me she was looking for Matilda. My eyes lit up! 

I got up off of the floor and said, "Oh, that's exciting! Do you know what today is?" She didn't, but I made sure to tell her so that she would...I told her about how it was your birthday and we walked over to the shelf where your books are kept and at the last second, I realized that Matilda was in after all even though it was out of place. 

I placed the book into her hands and she proceeded to wander around the library following her little sister with her nose buried in your book. That alone would have brought me joy, but the fact that it was happening all these years later on your birthday made it mean even more to me. 

Thanks for writing. Thanks for heading out to the little shed in your backyard and pulling out your yellow pad and keeping your pencils sharpened and spending so much time in that armchair. I don't know if what they say about you and children is true, but you've given us all so many hours of enjoyment. You've taught us to be honest about what scares us and you revealed the ugliest parts of us so that we can see how foolish it is to be ugly and mean and rude.

Thanks for giving me that moment with that little girl. And for all those hours in fourth grade when my teacher introduced you to us. 

You had a gift and you didn't keep it to yourself. We haven't forgotten  you and I'm not sure that we ever will. 

Dear People, 

You're all breathing your sighs of relief over how cool it is outside and how perfect it is. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?!? It's cold. This weather is perfect cozy up inside with a bowl of soup and hot bread weather. A nice Indian Summer COULD be on its way and I'm just going to warn you. You'll complain about how it is and I'll be soaking up every last ray of sun that I can. It's going to be winter before we know it, so let's welcome all the sun and warm days we can. K? 

Dear 28,

You're here and so far you've been nice. Welcoming you in was special. Looking back on 27 made me realize just how much you have to compete with. The year behind me was one of my best yet in terms of growing and facing things head on and learning to be okay. Can you do me a favor and bring on more of the same? Be gentle about it, but I'm ready. 


I hope you've got a lovely weekend ahead of you! Do you have any plans? Tell me about them, will ya?


Look Who's Here

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

July 21, 2018
It doesn't take much to make connections in this world we live in. It can be as simple as a drawn out conversation in an airport or as complex as running into the same person over and over again before finally introducing yourselves. These kinds of meetings don't always lead to becoming friends who stay in touch and who are a part of each other's lives, but they do breed familiarity. 

You greet one another by name. You wave when you see them in traffic. You send out an email or a facebook message a few times a year to check in with the ones who live far away just to check in on them.

This sense of community is rooted in God, who is in Himself, a community. He invites us into that community and He means for us to be builders of community among the people we come into contact with. 

One thing I've become aware of here in this city full of transplants is just how many lonely people there are. Unlike the farming community I grew up in where everyone was related to someone and saw the same 200 or 300 faces every single place they went, this place is full of people who come here knowing no one and who find that it's really really difficult to get people to commit themselves to one another. 

I've met old people and young people who share this sentiment. Some of them are single, some have young families, some came with a spouse. Some are self proclaimed hippies. Some are conservative Christians. Some are outdoorsy and some are content to sit in front of a computer screen for hours on end. They're all unique, but what they have in common is this longing to know and to be known. They want friends and they want to meet people who want friends and who are willing to BE friends.

And, let me tell you, I get it.

I've spent more time alone since I've moved here than at any other time in my life. I grew up seeing the same 25 people every single day for 10+ years. 15 of us did everything together...We at lunch smashed around the same table, we played during every recess, and then after school was over we looked for any reason to hang out. After those days were over, I found myself babysitting for the same families over and over again and working at the coffee shop and at my Dad's office which were both havens for the regulars that came in week after week. The ranch was a community of its own where the people who ran it become a second family to me. I developed friendships with people back in my hometown and during my time in Massachusetts that STUCK. Living at home with my family meant that one way or another, I was never alone. I was always connected and almost always in the presence of at least one other human being.

Then I came here and I was surrounded by strangers. We all started doing our own thing and those familiar faces were all so far away that staying in touch with them became nearly impossible. I felt disconnected and alone and it left me super unsettled. You know this...I've spent three years writing about the ins and outs of this whole process. 

When I was in SC last month, my brother and I were out one day. I looked down the street and all of a sudden I realized that I was looking at a familiar face. The face is familiar because of blogging, but it was familiar all the same. I yelled her name and when I realized that she couldn't hear me over the traffic, I kept yelling and started running up the sidewalk toward her. When I got her attention, it took her a second to place me...There we were, having a chance meeting after so many years of being blogging friends, it was hard to believe...We hugged and smiled and shared our awe at the fact that this was actually really finally happening. 

I've been looking around lately with that same awe. There are so many patrons at the library that I greet by name and that I know little bits about. There are neighbors that have become friends and who running into means it could easily be hours before I make it back to my own front door. There are people who look for me at church and who are disappointed when I'm not there.

Three years ago, they were all strangers. Now, I can't help but look who's here and smile when our eyes meet. 

What I'm Into Lately: Summer 2018 Edition

Monday, August 06, 2018



I've given you enough words. Right? Let's tone it down with a little list.

*Dragging people on hikes.

*Making new walking friends.

*Toting my steak knife around the yard looking for weeds and stuffing them into a garbage bag.

*All the extra friend time God has been making possible with the people I've missed so much.

*Not being tied to a strict routine and it turning out alright. 9pm dinners, an entire Saturday outside, and as much beach time as I can squeeze in.

*Fires in the evening...again, this is more about being together and less about what we're doing.

*Grilling..I conquered my fear and did chicken. I've done pizzas and burgers and hot dogs too.

*Pickles. WIth everything.

*Co-leading the jr high book club at the library.

*Swimming.

*Heading to the beach to walk or read or write or lay out. Even solo. Even if I'm wearing tennis shoes and a sweat shirt.

*Reading.

*Shooting straight with people and asking them to do the same. Especially boys. Ain't nobody got time for games.

*Writing.

*Adventuring alone. I hate both of those words, but I've been doing it. And it's not terrible.

*Asking God for specific things and trusting Him with whatever He has in store.

What have YOU been into this summer?