On Time

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

September 6, 2010

It's time for my yearly "when the next age is a month away" post. Only, this time around, it's 17 days away. UPDATE: It was on the day I wrote this, at least...

I've been thinking about time in general lately. It might be because summer is almost over and my birthday is just around the corner. It might be because we're coming up on the second anniversary of us moving to this new town (that really isn't new anymore). It might be because my youngest brother started college (on my parents' 21st anniversary and the day of the big eclipse). It might be because my friends and I are now the ages my parents were when so many of my memories of them were made.

I've been blogging for so long now that I've watched people who have become friends dream up and accomplish so many things. They've gone from college students to career women. They've gone from internet dating to finally finding someone to settle down with. They've moved across the country and back again. They've become mothers and grandmothers. They've lost loved ones and celebrated recoveries others have made. I say "they", but I'm talking about YOU.

Following along and emailing when we can has been a real treat. As I read your words and scroll through your pictures and keep you in my prayers, I can't help but think about what you're doing and what I'm doing and how we got to where we are now.

I never knew it when I registered this domain name all those years ago, but blogging has turned out to be something that has helped me to be honest with myself. A lot of people talk about the comparison game and give up on social media because they get so caught up in the picture perfect lives people post about...I'm not saying there is nothing to that, but I can say it's different for me. I think you'll know what I'm talking about, because it's probably true for you too. We CAN look at people's posts and get sad or jealous...but, we can also look and be grateful. We can let our gut reactions tell us things about ourselves that we may not have noticed or been willing to admit.

Emily and Dan's bravery of moving to CA and then to NYC and finally back to VA showed me the beauty of living life TOGETHER. They've gone after what they wanted and admitted that sometimes that changes.

Rachel and Christopher's recent journey to becoming parents had me begging God to see them through and trusting that He would. Now, their precious baby girl is here and I still haven't stopped feeling absolutely giddy when I think about them.

Amy and Eddie found each other and got married and moved to New England. Every time Amy posts anything Eddie related, I'm reminded of the special work God did to bring them together and I tell her about it every single time.

I could go on and on...Each one of you shares your story and I see the hand of God. You post the best parts and sometimes we email about the worst parts. Watching you be who you are and go after what you love and press on even when you're not sure you can teaches me more than you'll ever know.

I've learned and finally been able to admit that as much as I don't want to be hurt or trapped or betrayed...I actually do want to get married. I would like to transition from being the single lady who is always helping other people with their house and kids to the married lady with a house and kids of her own. It snuck up on me.

It wasn't until sometime over the last year as I scrolled through "we're getting married" posts and saw the happy faces of content toddler after content toddler that I finally realized what had been happening. I know it didn't happen in that year. I know it didn't happen over night. God was doing a work and I have no doubt in my mind that it was the testimonies of beautiful marriages and day to day motherhood that you've shared as they've slowly but surely come into being that have brought this about.

It's good to be honest. It's good to trust God. It's good to be brave. 27 is 17 days away and in a lot of ways, I'm amazed. I'm getting closer and closer to 30. Most of my friends have already made it there. I'm in the middle of transitioning out of what has shaped my life for the last 10 years. I know who I am and I know who God has made me to be. Ultimately, this life of mine is about Him and His glory and it's great to look back on the last 26 years to see His hand. I know how I got here and I know how I'll get to where I'm going.

I'll keep reading your posts. I'll keep praising God with you and thanking Him for what He has done. I'll keep swapping emails and texts. I'll keep going to Him with the things that are getting under your skin. And...Your lives will continue to do the work He has for them to do in mine.

Time goes by and brings all kinds of changes. There has been a lot of change in me. I wonder what kinds of changes the next ten years will bring. Whatever they are, I'm excited to share them here and to watch as yours unfold as you share them from wherever you find yourself.

Harry Potter Quiz

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

So, you guys...I finally finished reading the entire Harry Potter series for the first time. It was already like a month ago now, but I'm here today so that we can talk about all things HP.

Overall, I was slightly disappointed in the series. Rowling's writing was pretty amazing, but somehow, it wasn't quite as dreamy as I expected it to be. The characters that I thought I knew so well from a childhood of movie watching, turned out to have sides that I had yet to see. For the technical problems I saw in the writing of the books, the characters made up for it.

Book 5 was by far THE hardest book for me to read. I put it down for a long time because Umbridge was making my blood boil. And yet...As it was with Narnia, the book that got under my skin is the one that I look back on with the most fondness. I always loved the first book and I always said the third book was my favorite, but now that I've read them all, I know that five is the book that stayed with me the longest. The joy I felt at Hagrid's return is an experience few books have been able to create for me.

These stories tell the story of good and evil. They bring us face to face with the things we see and admire and dread in ourselves and in one another. Using a made up world that mirrors the spiritual and physical realities of our own, Rowling wrote something to life that will outlive us all. And rightly so.

How about some HP questions and answers?

Favorite book?
I've always said book 3 and then I wrote a review saying that book 6 was my new favorite when I finished it. So, it must be 6.

Favorite character(s)?
It may be cliche, but I grew a super special fondness for Hagrid that I never had before. Another character I finally grew to appreciate is Dobby. He drove me crazy causing trouble in the movies, but things were different in the books. 

Scene that stuck with you?
I'm going to go with the various talks around the fire in the common rooms. I want a family room modeled after one of them!

Quote you <3 i="">
 "'...Don't you see? Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back! Voldemort is no different! Always he was on the lookout for the one who would challenge him...'" (Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, pg. 510)

Favorite movie adaptation?
#7 pt 2 will always be my favorite. I watched it over Christmas break a few years after it was released and it was the perfect ending to the saga. I remember thinking to myself, "We made it."

SPOILER: Biggest surprise?
Learning that Lupin and Snape are good guys. I have never been able to trust either one of them. I'm still not sure I do even though I'm supposed to.

Character you really didn't care for? 
Umbridge. That woman is evil in human form.

Do you know anything interesting about Rowling or the books or the movies or anything else HP related?
I read that she never got to really go over book 7 with edits and that it bothers her that it shows. I also read about the time she locked herself up in a hotel room to write and found that the stuff of dreams. If the stories about the girl who played Luna in the movies and Maggie Smith's cancer are true, that's inspiring! That's all I've got for now.

Is there one book that you think you NEED to read again?
The one I want to read again is book 3, just because. The one that I should probably read again is either 4 or 6. I flew through 4 and was super impacted by book 6.

What house would you want to be sorted into?
I always thought I was a Ravenclaw. The new site assures me I'm Hufflepuff. I'm so confused, but they're probably right.

Hogwarts or Ilvermorny?
I'm going to have to stay loyal to Hogwarts.

Memory tied to reading the series?
I started reading book 7 in the Boston Airport. I picked a spot by a huge window and had Dunkin' Donuts on the other side of the wall I was resting up against. It was lovely.

I also want to remember finishing the series on July 30 in my favorite ratty old camp chair in the garden I never got around to planting this year.

Food obsession?
Where do I begin? Chocolate to ward off the effects of dementors. Hot coccoa and tea. The lavish meals at Hogwarts. The role food played in these books caught me by surprise. I enjoyed every minute of it.

How old were you when you first finished the series?
26. It was a long time coming, you guys!

Fav time of year to re-read it?
I expected to fly through them in a summer, which would mean that would be when I would want to re-read them. But, I think they're best suited to late fall and winter reading. We'll see if I stick to this belief!

Do you want people to read them (why or why not)?
Yes, I most definitely do. The thing is...These books deal with every theme we face and wrestle with in life and don't exactly seek to provide answers. They give you a safe place to confront them and leave you to think through the issues yourself. It's quite an accomplishment!

Which character would you definitely be friends with?
I had trouble settling on a character. I asked my Mom her opinion and she said (with zero hesitation), "Draco...You'd befriend him and bring out what little bit of good there is in him." She's not wrong. Like Anne Elliot before me, I'm always becoming friends with the people nobody else has time for.

After some thought (and a little help), I came up with Colin Creevy and Dean Thomas.

Which professor would you most like to have?
It's going to be a nurturing woman or a wise man. Which leaves Madame Pomfrey (technically a nurse) or the ever loved Dumbledore (technically the headmaster). Maybe Firenz! I'm definitely going with him.

Funniest moment? 
For some reason, the humor in these books caught me by surprise. Certain ones had me laughing constantly. I don't have a specific scene in mind, but I know Peeves made me laugh quite a few times!

Saddest moment?
There were points in book 6 when I got super, super sad. The kind of sadness you can't shake. I also found myself missing Sirius right along with Harry. And of course...the detentions Harry got from Umbridge literally made my blood boil. I cannot take children being mistreated by cowardly adults.

Happiest moment?
In book 5, when Hagrid returns. I got unexplainably happy over that moment.

LOTR, Narnia, or HP?
I still haven't read LOTR, soooo, I'm not really qualified to make a choice. Narnia is a faster read (I read those in one week). I'm going to have to pass for now.

Which family would you most like to be a part of? 
I think I would fit best in the Granger family. But, I'd want to have a family like the Weasley's. Don't we all? Also...Neville's Gran is pretty awesome, even if we had to wait until book 7 to see why.

Copy and paste these questions so that you can answer them in the comments, on your own blog, or in an email to me!!! 

All Along

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

June 4, 2011

I've been helping my Mom costume another show which means that with the exception of last Monday, I have been at the theatre for some kind of rehearsal or performance every single night since the beginning of July. I've hovered over an ironing board, steamed costumes, learned to sew on buttons, and been a master with blue painter's tape and safety pins. Green room shenanigans have involved learning all about Brigmophyseters and Megalodons from a little boy named George and swapping every imaginable story with the cast and crew. There may or may not have been a few rounds of Mad Libs as well.

In a few short weeks, we will have been living the theatre life non-stop for two straight years. There were times that I was convinced it was killing me (this is no exaggeration). I was staying up way too late and getting up as early as I always did. I was making dinners to go and squeezing in grocery shopping and cooking and cleaning whenever I could carve out the time to do it. I was driving here there and everywhere and turning the van into an office during rehearsals. I worked props and costumes and the hospitality side of things and even found myself backstage being a kid wrangler. I made a fool of myself using sports terms instead of theatre lingo (think half time instead of intermission, locker room instead of dressing room, roster instead of playbill, and having ZERO clue what "house left" or "stage right" meant).

That said, this adventure is coming to an end. My sister is ready for a break. My brother is starting classes at the college. And I've been told the next show they even audition for won't be until Christmas. We're two years in and the thing that has shaped every hour of my life since we've moved here is going to disappear. At least for this fall anyway.

In a way, I'm excited. There will be normal bed times and time for friends. There will be family dinners and movie nights. Our weekends will be our own. But, just like every hard thing, I'm realizing that I'm sad it's over. This thing that required so much of us all, brought us together. It gave me a chance to be stretched and pushed way outside my comfort zone. My brother and sister got to have THE time of their lives and I got to tag along for the ride watching them grow and shine and enjoy themselves. It gave me a chance to give and give and give and trust in the strength that God provides. The last two years have been the best kind of hard and an amazing gift. I knew it all along, but now I feel like I'm finally seeing them for what they were. Perspective...It's really something!

With the end of one adventure, comes room for another. As you all know, I've spent much of the last 10 years keeping house for my family and taking up other jobs as they came my way. It's weird and I've never tried to deny that. My parents made a commitment to me and I made a commitment to them and I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to be a part of my siblings' lives and to be able to serve people whether they could pay me or not.

I wouldn't trade those 10 years for anything and the decision to bring them to an end came with a lot of wrestling. The thing is, my brother and sister are entering new seasons of their own. Our family is changing shape. And it's time for me to move on. I knew the days of being their "other mother" wouldn't last forever, which was why it was so easy for me to ignore the pressure I so often felt to "DO SOMETHING."

I got to teach them and play with them and cook for them. I got to help with Awana and summer reading programs and VBS and all the plays they were in. I got to be there for dentist appointments' and grocery runs and every errand associated with the animals they used to raise for fair. I got to take them out to eat and to the movies and spend endless afternoons at the park or the pool. I got to give them baths and read bed time stories and build Lego and play hospital. I cheered them on at Little League games and waited in the car during practices. I can still hear their giggles and look back on the times they needed a good cry and an extra hug. When they were little they were so afraid that I was going to move away and go to college and marry a big hairy man....There was so much dread with being sure that I would disappear.

And then, the years went by. I opted to do college online. I never did meet a man (hairy or otherwise) that made me want to get married. I moved away for a few short stints, but I always left most of my things at home and promised to return when my time away was finished. In some ways, I wish that I did have a house and family of my own. I won't have forever for those things to happen. But, then I look back on the last 10 years and I realize what a treat they have been. They've taught me to care more about what God thinks than what anyone else (myself included) thinks. They've taught me that my worth and value are not in what I do, but in who I am. They've taught me to do whatever it is my hands find to do the best that I can. In short, they've taught me to live by faith. I don't have a lot to show for those years other than gray hairs and laugh lines and some of the most precious memories I'll ever make. I've known it all along, but now I'm really seeing those years for what they were.

I wouldn't trade them for anything. Not a house of my own. Not a family of my own. Not a bank account bursting with security for whatever tomorrow holds. There are some things that are worth more than you can ever imagine and God used the last 10 years to fill the cup that holds those things to overflowing.

As we made plans for this fall, an opportunity came up for me to apply for a job. I kicked the idea around and around and turned in my application hours before the deadline. In the meantime, I was offered another job. A few weeks later I went in for an interview. I left the interview feeling dread. Which job SHOULD I take? Should I take either job? Did the interview even go well enough to give me a shot at the job? They told me I could expect to hear back the next week. I made the decision I had to make and waited to hear back on the interview. I made peace with my decision and handed it all over to God. The next morning, I got a call. The interview went well and they were pleased to offer me the job. The first of August was scheduled as my start date, which gave me plenty of room for the commitments I had made with this last play that we're doing.

I'm getting paid to write on project based schedule and I'm working at a library. Those 10 years of learning to wait on God, I had quiet dreams coming to life. I dedicated myself to continuing to write. My hope was that someday something might come of those scribbles. Something has. Another dream that came to life was the realization that THE career I wanted was to be a librarian. I stumbled onto that dream when I used to fill in for Julie. During a long stint of that, one day it dawned on me that THAT was what I wanted to do. I researched degrees and positions and let myself get used to the idea of the possibility of it.

The same waiting and trusting and working that have shaped the last 10 years will continue now that I've got a few other commitments to juggle. The summer of 2017 will live on in my mind as the end of one season and the beginning of another. I've told you that there were things I was holding back until the time was right. Now you know what they are. There are a few more things I'm keeping to myself for now, but these ones are honestly the biggest.

As I learn to juggle everything and adjust to the way things are going to be now, I'm still planning to keep up this blog! I've given myself the freedom to enjoy this summer that may just be the last of its kind. Thanks for tagging along and reading when I write and commenting and emailing even when I'm not putting up fresh content.

You're the best!