Catch Up: SC Times Three

Monday, December 09, 2019

Sprinkled throughout the posts I bring your way, is going to be an effort to share the happenings of the time this space sat dormant. I've got a stack of index cards with things all planned out, a year's worth of pictures, and the words to tell the tales. 










First up, are the three trips I took to SC. There was the trip I took in August of 2018 which was planned at the last possible minute because my Dad had been on me allllll summer to come and make use of his pool before he closed it up for the season even though he knew I had been planning a trip that same November for my brother's birthday. The price and timing were right and one last bit of warmth before a North Idaho winter set in sounded pretty fantastic, so I packed my bags and went. I timed that trip so that I could celebrate my Dad's birthday with him as well. We traveled to Greenville and Asheville and ate cake and cooked out and met up with my Mom's side of the family. I accidentally ran into Robyn after countless tries to see each other when I've been in the area. I got to see the place were Zelda Fitzgerald died and the window where Scott looked out his window on the guests coming and going as he worked on his latest scenes.


Then, came THE trip I had been looking forward to all year (the pictures from this trip, are mostly on my phone...I need to figure out how to add them to this post). Summer was long gone, fall had set in, and I was about to celebrate my brother's birthday with him for the first time in 9 years. We were both beside ourselves. Little did we know that trip was marked by the beginning of a brand new relationship that would end up changing the course of well...everything. He says he totally called it. I was quite clueless and wondered when God was going to show me (or the guy) that it was time to walk away. I finally got to meet Renee and we sat in a little DD sipping hot drinks and chatting until the last possible minute about all that God was up to and totally enjoying sitting across the table without miles and keyboards in between us!




























Then, following that relationship continuing and progressing to the point of getting engaged and planning a spring wedding, my sister and I made what we dubbed our "last hoorah trip" in April. That trip was marked by the three of us (my brother, sister, and I) driving out to Charleston to see the sights and the faces of ALLLLL the cousins we have down there.

It's crazy to me that I can sum up those momentous occasions with three paragraphs and a handful of pictures. I guess that's how life goes. The memories and fondness live on. Those three trips, each at the end of one season and beginning of another (literally and figuratively) will stand as major mile markers and times I'm increasingly grateful for. Every time I say my see you laters on the East Coast, there are two questions on everyone's mind, namely, "When will she be back?" and "Will she ever be back for good?"

Each time my visit begins winding down, I go over them again and again. I wipe the tears from my eyes as I've done for 24 years this day after Christmas and I shrug my shoulders and take a deep breath and rest in the fact that while I really don't know, He does. I'm no closer to knowing than I was before. A number of things have kept me on the West Coast all these years and behind every one of those things is the God who establishes the steps of my visits and my residence.

I say see you later trusting that there will be a later and that my home for now is granted me by Him. I text and call and flip through the pictures and make the food and the tea and remember. I thank Him for all the love and memories the East Coast holds and work hard to believe that I'll always be right where He means for me to be.

On Advent, Writing, and Life Right Now

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Lisbon, Portugal // May 28, 2019

I'm sitting cross legged on the floor because it's good for Baby listening to a Christmas Jazz playlist sipping an iced brown sugar latte surrounded by my planner and the index cards I filled with editorial notes for this space back in September with a heart encouraged by today's Advent devotions, an early morning drive with my sister, and the December temperatures that have it RAINING today. If the length of that sentence should tell you something, it's that this post is going to be ALL OVER THE PLACE. 

Grab a drink. Settle in. And let's have a coffee date. K? 

This Advent, I've got four things going. And not surprisingly, every day's reading ties together. I'm kind of amazed because they're not only tying together, they're reinforcing what God has been teaching me lately. While what I really want to do is come here each day to type up an Advent devotional of my own that sums up what I've been learning, I'll settle for taking it down in my journal and continuing to come here when I can. 

I will share with you what I'm doing and what the last three days have held...I begin each morning with the day's literature themed devotion from Biola University that you can find HERE. Then, I click over to my email where I have been receiving the Gentle Leading Advent guide from Abbey that you can sign up for HERE. After that, I go through my daily Bible reading plan (currently, I'm going through 1 Samuel and a Psalm). On Sundays, I finish up by opening up the pdf The Village Church made available and scrolling down to the page that corresponds to that week of Advent which you can find HERE

On Monday, I found myself steeped in HOPE and the light of the Gospel which is Christ Himself that shines out into the darkness of this world. On Tuesday, I was reminded that God has prepared a HOME for us and that we are on our way there. Today, I was reminded of the PATTERN OF FAITH and that while we wait, there are promises of God that require no waiting. Along the way, I listened to a sermon my Mom shared and have continued working my way through Piper's series on the God who strengthens His people. Let's just say...There is no shortage of truth. God's Word goes out and gets passed around and as it does, He works in our hearts to make them sure and firm and GLAD IN HIM. 

Even my prayers have changed lately. As I pray, I don't just pray for peace or faith or joy or help. I pray that God would draw those on my heart and mind to Himself and satisfy them with Himself as He teaches them to know Him and to be known by Him. Somehow...I expected and prayed for His blessing over them without longing for them to walk with Him and was disappointed by their struggles. My struggle to trust God makes so much sense and I'm watching it give way as I seek His will in His way ACCORDING to His Word. I'm not just praying that He would do them good, but rather, that He Himself would BE their good. 

As far as writing goes, I'm back to that place where the only writing I seem to be doing is in my journal. I've found myself there a lot over the years and then slowly but surely I get drawn back to the pages elsewhere. I still have dreams of being published and passing my words around and maybe even making some money. There is no "good" time or "right" time, you just have to sit in the chair and write and keep at it. Lately, I think about the women before me who have carved out space for their craft. They've silenced every excuse and made room. And something came of it all. They have books and articles and interviews and thankful people to their names. Some of them, like Mary Higgins Clark who just released another fantastic suspense novel are 91 and STILL AT IT. Their stories encourage me. They wrote in private. They were rejected. They figured it out and kept writing and found a way to get their words out there and that was the real work, after that, they just had to keep doing what they'd been doing all along and maintain willingness to share it. 

That's mainly what I had tumbling around my mind this morning as I shuffled around our apartment. I think I'll go ahead and hit publish, hoping this makes some kind of sense.

What's happening in your life right now?

What has God been using to encourage your soul? 

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?