10.12.2014

through the looking glass (a 31 Days post)


we visited two of Thomas' friends at the University of Toronto today. absolutely lovely campus in all ways. the size was easy on my tired feet, and the trees had just started to turn in most areas. there were people walking between buildings, playing soccer and chatting on benches. the air was crisp and the company was wonderful. 

there was nothing truly messy about this afternoon, but it was still very difficult to carry pure joy today. much like other posts, this one is going to be quite vague, but i'll say this; 

it's all about regret

i regret failing my first attempt at college. i regret wasting time, money and opportunity. i regret putting myself in the position to completely fall off track and sink into the quicksand of self-destruction. 


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as i peeked through the window panes of a very old building and saw the lecture room above. i was filled with the nagging feeling of all of those years i spent struggling and missing out. 

i pictured good students in those chairs--driven, disciplined, well-off students--and decided i would never be part of that collection. as if sitting in leather or wood made more of them than the plastic did for me at my alma mater.

i imagined insightful discussions happening in there.. logic-drenched banter that would lose me and notes i wouldn't be fit to keep up with. certainly the enlightened conversation i once shared in my favorite "Rhetorical Criticism" course couldn't measure up.

i played this comparison game with a few more details until i finally shut down, backed away from the glass and just shook my head. 


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life is still a personal experience, no matter where we are. an historical campus doesn't produce 100% more brilliant students. there's no guarantee that each young man or woman is coping well, and feeling their best. 

my struggles were struggles because they were mine. looking down a row of buttoned-up coeds, i'm sure i would assume i was the worst, but how could i know that? to beat myself up in this moment was just as absurd. certainly my same fears and insecurities were felt by at least one someone who actually sat in those heavy chairs. 


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it was only 15 years after my first day of college classes that i finally graduated and collected a degree. nothing big or noteworthy, but powerful just the same. in continuing toward a dream i was recharged and rejuvenated. in working hard as a wife and mother, i was inspired, and inspiring others. 

and in finally finishing what i started, i felt not like a new woman, but a more complete version of the one i've always been... and that is a beautiful thing.


10.11.2014

enjoying the spoil

we spent a wonderful day in Canada. traveled in the morning to make it to Niagara Falls by the afternoon. we promised to show Eli a waterfall that would knock his socks off, and he was SO fired up...

until he saw a little kid with a bubble gun. 

in an instant Eli was fixed on the toy and completely oblivious to the real reason we were there. it didn't take long for him to see the vendor selling them, and ask for one. 

of course we said "no."

and every picture we tried to get of him after that looked like this


so sad. he looks miserable, mistreated, completely depressed.

all because he doesn't have one of those handheld bubble machines.

we had to beg just to get him to look at the camera for this one.. nevermind trying to get a smile

and through it all i was so disappointed. i mean, we are in nature, seeing this amazing sight, complete with that rainbow, and all he can do is stare at that toy.



but then again.. he's only 4. 

and i, myself, get fixed on frivolous things in this great world 
and miss the greater vision. 

by this point, i could empathize with the poor kid.



so he asked again, and we caved.




we got him the dang bubble gun





and then our pictures looked like this





we even got an "ussie" in there



we totally let him run the show, i know. and this could totally backfire. 
but in these few minutes, we heard more giggles and saw more smiles than up until then 

and before i knew it, i forgot the reason we were there. 

i mean, we were in nature, seeing that amazing sight, complete with that rainbow, and all i could do was stare at that boy.



10.10.2014

one day at a time (a 31 Days post)


breaking habits is a tough thing. 

me? i have tons of little routines i could give up.. whether in action or thought or obsession. 

i find myself rooted in the comfort of deferring to them when things get tough. it doesn't take long to realize that the comfort is an illusion. there is no peace in the response or action i choose--only peace in the thought that i have control over something.

a couple of months ago i decided it was time to break out of those old habits and begin processing my life a little differently. (and by "a little" i mean "completely")

so each morning, as i settle in with my hot drink and quiet time, i lay out the things i want to have control over.. all of my messes and fears and worries. i write them down and then i hand them over to God. it is by no means a foolproof system, but it's a start.

in this process, i collect all of my life's mess and i choose to forgive myself for it rather than punish myself each day. i claim joy over it rather than own the shame of it. i choose to lay it at the cross rather than carry it around and let it weigh me down. 

it's tough, no doubt, but being mindful of what beauty lies in this stack of fear and failure is worth the work.


10.09.2014

honey..help me (a 31 Days post)


i shared this picture on Instagram with the caption 
"officially need to bend forward to see my feet."

finding joy in the enormity is certainly a challenge. 
nothing feels or looks normal and i find myself struggling to even want to change out of my pajamas. what is happening to me is, of course, amazing.. but man, it really is a dramatic moment each time i realize just how out of reach some things are. 

my feet being two of them.

for that reason, i could have easily captioned this photo "my husband tied my shoes today..."

this morning, as i sat on the bottom stair with my shoes in front of me and a silent pep talk in progress, Thomas just knelt down and proceeded to help me loop and swoop and pull those strings back in line. there was something so sweet about the process of him seeing my need -- something so basic -- and knowing he was able to immediately serve it. 

on top of my emotions and work, tying shoes is easily my third greatest challenge right now, and i could have cried over this reprieve.




10.08.2014

have you seen my stapler? (a 31 Days post)

i've never held a job that gave me a desk, until this one. it's totally foreign to me--to have folders and drawers and piles and pen cups. silly things, really, but in all seriousness, a bit intimidating. it's a space that demands focus and work (nevermind the jellyfish Eli made for me) and it's where i'm supposed to use my gifts to bring for work for many. 

and today, boy was it used. 




a couple bibles, the AP StyleBook, two screens, several documents, emails in, responses out, meetings here, snagging a call there.. and a few snacks hiding off-screen.

i call myself a "journalist for Jesus" and though it sounds like a silly title, that is truly what i am lately. we've been putting together something big for our church and each day that i sit down and accept God's call on my life, it's a brand new adventure. 

it becomes a mess in this little place, but so much goodness comes from it. i find myself writing effortlessly, editing with confidence and clinging to snippets that may help bring big points home. i am refining skills and learning the Word. i'm encouraged and motivated -- and realizing just how well i work when under pressure.

the messy desk isn't something i'm really proud of, but to leave the office and come back and see it reminds me that i'm invested in something greater than myself, to the point that it's not about my comfort but His Will. in that case, i'll keep it :)



10.07.2014

it comes with the territory (a 31 Days post)


tonight i had to pull out this: my trusty "Clear Skin" essential oil roll-on. 

as i removed my make-up and got ready for bed i saw not one, but two blemishes. TWO.

i'm nearly 33.. and i'm breaking out?!


yep. because i'm 27 weeks pregnant and growing a human often wreaks havoc on the body. 

my hips are sore, my head is cloudy.

my appetite is never satisfied.

things don't fit. nothing looks good. 

not to mention my emotions have completely taken over.

and i gotta shake my head and shake it off, 
because that's what it is to partner with God in bringing forth a new life;
it comes with the territory 

those blemishes are a sign that all of the microscopic parts of me and that baby are working together so well that they don't have time to focus on a clear complexion. to find joy in the realization that my body is not my own right now... it's scary and beautiful and amazing all at the same time.

so with a speckled face i dabbed a bit here and there, smiled through it, patted the bump and headed to bed... 

(and you know it: i made a mental note to snag a concealer stick after work the next day)



10.06.2014

get your hands dirty (a 31 Days post)

I've long been a fan of homemade meals. I like the time it takes, the preparation and attention to details and measurements. I like learning what makes something special--what sets it apart.

But Korean cooking has tested that, for sure. New recipes means new ingredients and procedures.. and they aren't all that purdy.

For example, these:


Little dried anchovies.

Now, I'm not opposed to seafood and it's amazing contribution to our diet. But I am opposed to having to get my hands dirty with these guys.

You see, in order to use them, I first need to prepare them, and there are three steps that ensure a properly prepared anchovy:

1. remove the head
2. break it in half, long ways, at the belly
3. remove the "insides"

(in other words, get waaaay too acquainted with the anchovy)

But it makes THE BEST STOCK EVER.


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Korea has embraced their own tricks just as any other culture. When speaking of stock, for example, many often use bouillon cubes in place of fresh stock. And in Korea, where seafood stock is a very popular base for most dishes, they have neat little tea bags full of prepared anchovy that you just plop in the water. It's brilliant!

But tonight, I had to just do the work to get these guys in that water, because the flavor is never as good when I use the shortcut, and my man loves his ddukbokki*.



tonight, i found joy in "cleaning" itty bitty dried anchovies.. and if i can find joy in that, you can find joy in anything!



*(or tteokbokki, or any of the other romanizations--i've seen many in dispute!).

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