Tag Archives: Thankful

Enough For Today

14 Dec

Moments of clarity come, falling into my heart like snow, covering the dust and dirt, the anxiety and confusion, creating a new landscape of white.

I am thankful. Deep down in my bones.

My boot-covered feet crunch as I walk across our lawn to the mailbox, making new footprints in the white powder. I inhale deeply, let the cold in, let myself rest in the fleeting stillness.

I am here.

I am alive.

And it’s a beautiful thing.

The sky is already darkening, even though it’s only 3:30. I forgot how early it gets dark in the north. But I don’t mind it. The twinkling lights shine bright all over our neighborhood, a symbol that never gets cliche. My daughter points them out as we drive, never tired of the magic.

It’s hard to believe still, this is my life.

Lately I’ve been trying to get out of my head. To stop and take it all in, without the distractions, with all of my senses. My kids are brilliant at this. It’s all they know. Now, here. THIS moment.

I don’t want to miss it.

But I don’t want to obsess about not missing it either. Anxiety is sneaky and takes many forms. I am beginning to recognize the start of that spiral, when I back myself into a corner and refuse to see what’s right in front of me. My head takes me on an nightmare-ish ride.

I forget that I can stop the car anytime. I can get out and say,

“Not today. Today is a gift. Today is mine. Today is Yours.”

When the worry piles and piles in heaps till I feel like I can’t breathe, I stop and shake myself off and realIze I always had the breath, I just had to find it.

There is no lack.

This truth comes often lately, piercing through anything in my flesh, breaking open things to let the light in.

I have everything I need: physically, emotionally, spiritually. I am not waiting for the elusive one day, that day is here, now.

Even when the old familiar stresses push their way into my day, and I feel that urge to distract myself out of it, I know the only way out is thankfulness that puts me in the center of the present.

There is honey in the rock.

I take a moment to count my blessings. Because it’s anything but cliche.

It’s life.

Surprising friendships. Good people. Music that heals. A warm kitchen: nourishing food. My son’s sloppy wet kisses (heaven meeting earth.) Conversations with my daughter that leave me astounded. When she makes her brother belly laugh. My husband’s steady, faithful, unwavering love. Not dreading the holidays. New traditions. Coffee, always. Remembering why we celebrate: a baby born in the humblest of places, a moment in time changing everything forever.

Knowing we are home.

Really we don’t need much

Just strength to believe

There’s honey in the rock,

There’s more than we see

In these patches of joy

These stretches of sorrow

There’s enough for today

There will be enough tomorrow

(Sara Groves, Enough)

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Another Grateful List

31 May

Once in a while I like to shake myself out of my ordinary jump-right-to-the-next-thing mentality and pause for a moment to be thankful. The end of May is as good of a time as the end of November, maybe even better. I’ve been worrying a bunch lately and things seem overwhelming to me, then just like that they come together and everything works out. And I realize my worry did absolutely nothing. So here is my moment of silence to reflect on things I am grateful for lately.

 

Being here, now.  Knowing I am happier when I don’t live in my head in certain future places and spaces.

Frozen raspberries.

My Boston Terrier Mumford’s snuggles.

Baths. Never have I been more thankful for warm baths. Epsom salt, lavender and eucalyptus essential oils.

Rocking in my chair in the nursery. Thinking of all the times I will be there with my daughter in my arms.

My husband’s passion, sensitivity, bravery and dedication. And so much more.

Health. Breathing sighs of relief after too many doctor visits.

Fields of bright orange Indian Paintbrush.

Coconut water.

Spring rainstorms, ending like this.

Seeing God in the amazing sales and great deals.

Church. (Finally) A safe place where I don’t feel anxious or pressured.

My purple yoga ball.

Happy texts from best friends.

Naps.

Baby dancing to folk music in my womb.

Spinach omelettes.

Stories of birth that make me weep and fortify my strength that I can do this and I don’t have to be afraid of pain.

Chatting with good friends, feeling safe to be myself.

Comfortable flip-flops.

Brushing my fingers over the soft and bright baby clothes filling Aurelia’s closet, knowing soon she will fill them.

Fresh Greek Salads. Gyro meat. Well, any greek food.

Packages in the mail with stuff for my baby girl. Generous people, caring.

After months of searching and dead ends, finding the perfect vehicle for our growing family.

Writing articles on a variety of topics I get to learn about. And getting paid to write them.

Yoga pants and maternity tank tops.

Laughing at “An Idiot Abroad.”

Sleep. Embracing and enjoying it.

Hikes past rocky crags with blooming cacti.

Strolling around the fountains in lovely downtown Fort Worth.

Feeling taken care of. Without the guilt attached.

Finding lost bits of creativity.

Flutters and kicks. Watching a pillow move on my stomach.

Counting down, without (too much) anxiety or impatience. She will come when she’s ready.

This wibbley-wobbly timeline that is life.

Walking crooked roads to get where I am going.

 

These are the Beginning Times

2 Dec

I am sitting on my balcony, having a staring contest with the moon. I am sure he is winning. I am wearing shorts and a tank-top and I am not the slightest bit cold.

I am here in Hurst, TX. I am living my life. I am living in the future, at times. Imagining days that feel more bright or free or romantic. Yet they will have their pain and boredom too, I know.

I didn’t write on Thanksgiving, it felt too cliché. Write what I am thankful for… A list felt incomplete. How do you express thankfulness when it is a state of being? It happens naturally, without pressure when I am at peace.

And peace comes when believe everything is all right, that I have all I need, that people are lovely,

That my life is beautiful.

My dog is staring at me along with the moon now, and it’s fairly quiet around my apartment complex for a Saturday night. I smell that warm and spicy baking smell drifting in from my kitchen.

And it’s hard to believe on nights like tonight that there is so much conflict and hate and anger and suffering.

It’s not that I am not aware of it, it’s not that I don’t care. Sometimes I care so much it physically hurts.

It’s just that I need to be reminded that peace is a stronger reality, that love already reigns.

I am working at my local mall for World Vision, trying to get kids sponsored and people to buy gifts for families living in extreme poverty; gifts like medicine, clean water, or a goat.

goat

Click Here to Give a Gift

It’s funny, how my life goes, standing in a mall watching dozens of people pass by, trying to get them to care.

I am not angry or surprised when they don’t care. What is tangibly right in front of them is those shoes they’ve been wanting to get for their child. But when people do care, it always surprises me, in a good way.

What also surprises me is when I continue to stereotype people and they continue to prove me wrong. When a tough hispanic gangster-looking dude with a teardrop tattoo stops and listens, really hears me, and ends up buying a cow to help provide milk for a hungry family.

I love getting to help people make selfless decisions. It makes me want to make more selfless decisions.

I know that we may have bad days where we watch too much news and think that everything is building up, that the whole world is about to break, and people in Christian circles may throw out phrases like,”End Times.”

I can just smile and be thankful. Because when you live inside of peace and Peace lives inside of you, it’s hard to see the bad even if you are looking for it.

The world is full of awful people, but it is also full of so much beauty and kindness.  Your reality really is what you are looking for and what you believe.

So despite the naysayers and constant bad-dayers, I can know in my heart every new day is new and full of people who want to care about another human being, maybe they just need to be pointed in the right direction.

Maybe these are the “End Times,” but so what?  They are also the Beginning Times.

newbeginning

Confessions of an Adventure Junkie

26 Sep

Last night in my dreams I wandered around some beautiful, unknown country. I spotted an old building, adorned with history and personality and lush green vines. I snapped a picture.

I didn’t know anyone. I wasn’t sure where I was.  I was filled with joy.

I woke up with that old disappointment. That buried ache.

I walked my dog around my apartment complex, ignoring the cool breeze and everything else around me.

I came back inside, brewed some coffee, sat on my couch and sulked.

I allowed that feeling to brood.

What was I doing here?

I stared out the window, and tried to count my blessings.

The very idea felt painful.

———————————————————–
Does anyone else have mornings like this?

Where you can’t stop questioning your life?

Where you live in the thrill of the past, remembering the excitement and forgetting the cost?

Where you just want a change, now, no matter what that change looks like?

It is good to move forward, good to seek out new horizons,

But the same wanderlust that drives you to seek out adventure can also be mental torture.

A few years ago, I was absolutely convinced I would not live in America for any long period of time.

In fact, after visiting most major cities and every state (besides Alaska and Hawaii) living on a bus, I was done with this country. It no longer held a thrill. I was a missionary and that meant giving everything up and moving to a foreign country.

After some failed relationships and major heartbreak, I needed to do it.

For God. For me.

“It is just who I am,”I thought.

And it became my identity.

Because the moments I was somewhere different were the moments I felt truly alive.

I never stopped to think,

Maybe I am just running away.

——————————————————–

I got my cup of coffee, and half a banana chocolate chip muffin. I sat on the couch. Wrote a few difficult, honest thoughts in my neglected journal:

How do you know when you are going after your dreams, or just chasing after the next high, the next pot at the end of the rainbow?

At times that panicky, choking feeling comes up. I can’t handle watching certain movies or even following certain nomadic people on facebook because I compare, I get jealous, and I start to question my life.

I wonder if I made the wrong decisions.

I wonder if now I am stuck.

I stop writing. I need to get out of my head. I need truth.

I slowly read a few words in my dog-eaten bible,

When a woman gives birth to a baby, she has pain, because her time has come. But when the baby is born, she forgets the pain because she is so happy that a child has been born into the world. It is the same with you. Now you are sad, but I will see you again and you will be happy, and no one will take away your joy.

I breathe in.

Close my eyes.

And breathe out an instant of joy.

That day is now.

Now is an adventure.

Now is love.

Now is everything I’ve been looking for.

I don’t need to run away.

The places will come. Traveling will happen. The world is open, mine to see.

Just because I am physically in one place, doesn’t mean I am not on a journey.

What matters is the here and now.

What matters is relationships.

With my God and with those closest to me.

That is the real adventure.

That is life.

(And I’ll keep repeating these truths until I finally believe them.)

Thanksgiving Dinner With Perfect Strangers

24 Nov

Today I had thanksgiving with a family I don’t even know. I was unsure about it before hand. I text my friend Mere and said it was going to be awkward. She said “Awkward makes for the best stories!” She is wise. So I decided to write about it.

It’s not like I didn’t know anyone. I know the grandma, my temporary next-door neighbor, a spunky lady with red wire-rimmed glasses nicknamed by her kids and grandkids “Ba-poo.”

I walked in and was immediately welcomed with hands, drinks, open arms, questions, jokes, a tour of the beautiful home and introductions and explanations of “who’s who” in the tangled family tree.

“TEXAS?! You’re from TEXAS!? Honey, come here!”

I was hugged tightly by a (Texan) daughter-in-law, finally feeling ok with saying that’s where I am “from.”

As usual, it’s not always simple to explain who I am and what I am doing here.

“Technically, I was born in California but I grew up in New Hampshire but I’ve lived in Texas eight years.”

“What part??”

“East… near Tyler… then near Dallas…”

“So what are you doing here?”

“Working on a book project…blah blah blah explain, explain  la la la.”

“Oh like ghostwriting?”

“Umm sort of… kind of like a collaboration…”

This repeated many times throughout the evening.

I could barely keep track of  who I was meeting,  but I can’t keep track of my own life either and somehow it all works out.

A few drinks in and it didn’t matter. Then the food came.

Sitting at a table together, barriers come down.

It didn’t matter I didn’t know anyones dreams and desires, or even the favorite band of the twenty-one year old next to me or whether he believes in God. We both thought it is damn good cheesy corn casserole and in the moment, that’s what mattered.

It didn’t matter they had been through weddings, births, deaths, divorces, years and miles with each other and I came into their world thirty minutes ago, they accepted me as a human being.

And don’t forget football. Nothing brings people together (especially in the South) like football. Though I feel estranged from that world, like a bored alien observing a foreign planet where men in spandex run around with a ball and people scream,  I could at least relate to the fact the venue they played in was ten minutes down the road from where my old apartment was.

The conversation continued over touch-downs and three types of stuffing and two types of turkey and too much gravy.

“So what’s your book about?”

“Ummm…. well, it’s like… blah blah blah and then sort of like blah blah ‘loosely based’ on The Wizard of Oz.’ Mumble, mumble, na na. Yes.”

Or something like that.

Ok, so maybe I ate and drank too much to make sense, or maybe I never do anyway. Maybe I love the fact it doesn’t take a simple sentence to explain my life.

I  got a bit misty-eyed when I looked around at the love this family had for each other, laughed hysterically at the anecdotes about other years when the cat’s tail caught on fire, and I stifled a giggle when the seven-year old said the blessing,

“And I pray for the pilgrims…. even though they are dead…”

Though I was far from people who really know me (besides my dear friend Becca) it didn’t matter. Because there is something raw and real and beautiful and maybe a little messy about sitting down at a table to eat with perfect strangers on a holiday that is all about friends and family, only to walk away feeling completely satisfied in my stomach and in my heart.

And finally, here are some points of gratitude as of lately…. 

Soundtrack of my life lately: Katie Herzig & Josh Garrells.

Watching Hulu with Becca after a long day.

Memoirs. Brennan Manning’s in particular.

Spinach. (I put it in everything, can’t get enough)

The miracle of writing one more chapter.

Spontaneous Sushi lunches with Steve.

Modge-Podge.

Watching the leaves fall off the trees as I walk around the neighborhood.

Laying on the swing-bench just to look up at the sky and breathe.

Yoga to wake up.

Jean-Thomas randomly calling throughout the day.

That I get to see The Civil Wars finally in two weeks.

That I get to go (home) to Texas in two and a half weeks.

Knowing this book will be completed.

Jesus… all He is… the beauty all around me He is continually opening my sleepy eyes to see….

What if Grace was so thick it hung in the air like a dense fog? With every breath you breathe in pure Grace, there is no distance, no lack, no barrier. You couldn’t take in a breath without filling your lungs with Pure Life. 

This is exactly the way it is…

(Steve Roy)

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