Sunday, September 14, 2014

always good.

sometimes I need to write just to get the swirling thoughts in my head out. in one organized place. in hopes that they will stop swirling and form some profound conclusion. and while this rarely, if ever, happens, I think it helps me in some small way.

so this is really for me.

tonight I went a run around my neighborhood. I'd been avoiding this a little. the place seemed to hold memories a little too recent that made me feel a little too giddy at the time. and since those memories didn't turn out the way I had hoped, I wasn't in a hurry to relive them. but tonight I felt brave.

I ran and ran, feeling fine. and when the oxygen was lacking and my body wanted to cave, I stopped to walk. I walked by the pond where he told me about his childhood and we joked about the wildlife and I teased him for things done as a silly boy. and we laughed and held hands and I breathed in the moment deeply. a portrait of happiness and hope.

I refocused on the day and its glory. what a wonderful day. sunshine and a temperature most perfect for soaking up the season. early fall at its finest. and then flooding in -- a realization of the time and date and plans. plans for a country concert outside. for wearing boots and getting gussied up with our dates. plans thwarted by a short and difficult conversation.

and for the first time in awhile, I felt sadness and pain well up from hopes deferred. I blinked back salty tears, stared blankly into the fountain.

I don't like crying in public.

but then I saw, in a blur of tears and the spouting water and sunshine, a mix of multi-colored stripes. a rainbow. the emblem of God's promises.

my promises are still valid, child. I keep my promises. I am still good, and I love you. I have better plans. 

a still small voice. a still small reminder. that He's brought me so far and is always good.

He is good. His promises are good. and I believe He is a personal God who speaks to our hearts. our specific and individual hearts. He cares about our hurts and struggles, no matter how large or small.

He is good. always good.

Friday, March 7, 2014

lessons & learning

I turned another year older this week. birthdays never really seem to affect me too much -- I feel loved on by the wonderful people in my life for 24 hours, and then it's back to life as we know it. but because I feel like I've been struggling and growing and learning this year, I thought I would reflect a little and capture those thoughts.

I've learned that change is constant. that no matter how much I wish I could keep things the same forever, they will always be changing. and I can't control it, so I should learn to embrace it. and take the journey with God. who else better to be traveling with?

I've learned all experiences are different. moving to Alabama and moving to Columbus were completely different journeys. see above. different is different. it's not bad vs. good.

I've learned you have to ask for what you want and communicate what you need. people won't read your mind. even if you think it's obvious, it's probably not. be bold. be honest. be brave.

I've also learned you have to say no. have to set boundaries. I've been learning this awhile now, but it keeps coming up in new ways and new situations. you teach people how to treat you.

I've learned you can only control how you react/act in a situation. I can't control others, and I also shouldn't let their actions/reactions affect me.

I've learned that people won't always give you the same courtesy and respect you give them. this doesn't mean you shouldn't give it anyway.

I've learned how to be more honest and open and put it all out there. because...why not? you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. and I've learned you won't always get the response you want. in fact, the response might lay you flat. or you might get no response at all. this is the most heartbreaking. but you will walk away knowing you said what you needed to, did what you could, and have no regrets about the situation on your end. this will help you heal.

I've learned your closest friends don't always live in the same city. that transitions can be painful and lonely and leave empty spaces. I think this is normal. how you choose to fill those empty spaces is what's important.

I am by no means an expert and am still learning the above lessons. if you have any wisdom, shoot it my way. here's to another year of learning.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


I think it's important to reflect on memories every once in awhile. especially when it's time to say goodbye. and while this of course always makes me cry, it's a good cry. the kind of cry that is cleansing and therapeutic. the kind of cries that you crave sometimes. 

my grandmother passed away this week. she was 100, so it wasn't tragic or shocking, but it has caused me to slow down and reflect. remember. 

she was a beautiful person. the kind of person that doesn't have a selfish bone in her body. the kind of person who is always smiling and lighthearted, no matter her circumstances. we had a wonderful visit with her at Christmas, and while she couldn't remember necessarily what she'd done the day before or had for lunch, she sat and laughed and talked with us. she giggled at her great-granddaughter, stumbling around and playing peekaboo behind the folding chair. she ate one of the buckeyes we brought her, because she is a female in our family, and we all get our sweet tooth from her. and when you're 100, you certainly don't need to watch what you eat. 

we used to visit her out in deshler when we were younger. she lived in the country on a farm, and my sister and I loved playing outside there with all that space. on one specific visit, grandma took us outside, and peered behind one of her bushes to reveal several adorable newborn kittens. oh how my heart filled with glee! she smiled at us as we picked them up and they clung to us with their tiny claws. a few months later, they had grown and could now run (...from us...I can't imagine why...). Em and I were so proud to have cornered one in the barn. looking back, we probably terrified the poor little thing. I remember just wanting to hold its fluffy little self -- we had the best intentions! 

grandma still had the dolls my mother and aunt played with as children, and Em and I always wanted to play with these. we'd sneak into the cold guest room and dig them out of the closet, bringing them out into the warmth of the living room to brush their hair.  

every Christmas, grandma got sheets of stick-on earrings. heart-shaped and glittery and sometimes, if we were really lucky, princesses. oh how I hated when my sheet ran out. 

then we'd all sit around the kitchen table as mom gave grandma a permanent, getting cookies & those delicious sugary wafers from the cellar. once the rollers were in, we could play cards. grandma was a card shark and never "let" us win. she'd always somehow get the best cards and just grin as she racked up the points. "can I be grandma's partner in euchre next, please?" it felt like Em and I always lost. nothing that more sugar wafers couldn't fix, though. 

we had a party for grandma this past October to celebrate her 100th birthday. she smiled and greeted everyone, ate cake, and told us that she didn't need "all this fuss". 

I will say my final goodbye to her, my last grandparent, on Wednesday. but I know she is happy and free and doesn't have to struggle to remember anymore. and I am thankful to have known her. thankful to her for raising such a loving and selfless daughter to be my mother. God is good. all the time. and she is up there with Him, now. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013


it's advent season. the season characterized specifically by waiting....

by nature, I'm not a patient person. I hate traffic and lines and thinking way far ahead into the future.

but I suppose advent is a different kind of waiting. waiting with joyful anticipation of celebrating something wonderful and beautiful and well...the most important thing!

I heard once that most women don't like surprises, because they enjoy the exciting anticipation of looking forward to things. I get that. perhaps that is a small taste of the joy in our advent.

as people sing Christmas carols and stores are crazy crowded and people bake cookies, I think of a dear coworker in great pain in this season. she's in the midst of saying goodbye to one of those amazing friends that is, actually, 100% family. and it seems cruel and unfair and just doesn't make sense that her life be taken all too soon. away from her friends. her family. her husband and 6 year old son.

she said today, face streaming with tears, she didn't know how to say goodbye. said she felt bad for bringing everyone down at this time of year that's supposed to be filled with cheer. I told her that was ridiculous and to not think such things.

and then I got to thinking about the anticipation of advent and waiting for Christmas. waiting for our king. waiting for redemption. sacrifice. love. grace. mercy. 

human pain and grief that doesn't make sense seems to make perfect sense, in all actuality, in this season. Christ was born into this broken, fallen world because of this pain and heartache and mess. He was born -- He, being the embodiment of perfect love and hope.

hope that we need in midst of heartache and pain. the kind that brings us to our knees. crying out because we don't understand why life isn't fair. why we have to lose the ones closest to us. the ones we love. in the midst of this advent season, and always, there is hope. all is not lost. we have the biggest treasure that isn't on this earth. our pain is but temporary. death has lost its sting, for the battle is already won. 

happy advent. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

thoughts on pain

have you been in a place where pain seemed to linger? or rather, caught you off guard at random moments throughout  the day? like suddenly, the feeling sweeps over you and you can't breathe.

I was "boogie boarding" on vacation one time as a kid, and a wave crashed down suddenly, smashing me down onto my board. I remember that feeling so vividly. the wind was knocked out of me and I couldn't breathe or comprehend anything. I couldn't remember what it felt like to feel normal. 

sometimes heartaches can feel like that. 

as I have walked through this season, I have thought of "what if's" and "if I hadn't" and regrets and wishes and wonderings. 

and tonight as I came home and had conversation with a few dear friends who are also walking through forms of heartache, I felt a strange peace and calm and joy. I felt the fruits of the Spirit. I felt comforted in knowing that I was not alone. that we all feel pain. that it's so very....human

I think there is something beautiful about sharing our battle scars. the things that have shaped us, taught us lessons, and made us relate-able. able to connect with one another. able to see God through the healing. because while He closes the wound, it's not quite the same. there's something different. something that's caused us be formed into who He wants us to be. 

I firmly believe that He can make all things work together for His purpose. I don't think everything happens for a reason, necessarily. I think that evil occurs and things happen that He wishes didn't. but in all things, I think there can be redemption. a story of some good. and that is why I will be thankful for painful seasons. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

thankfulness and choosing better

I just got home from a long trip to visit a dear friend. and while I don't mind driving long distances, the drive home proved to be a little rough. in struggling with several things currently, I found myself fixated and hurting. it made for a rather long 10.5 hour drive. 

and as I got home I felt the rush of emotion sweep over me and I began yelling at God. have you ever done this? it seems so silly to me to even say it, because, this tiny ant/speck in the ENTIRE universe, is screaming at its creator. at the creator of the world. at the one who has full power over EVERYTHING. and I'm yelling. at him. smaaaart. 

now, I've calmed down a little and am reflecting on thankfulness and choices. while at my sweet friend's house this weekend, I noticed she had small magnets with handwritten notes on them on her refrigerator. she had made a wall of thankfulness -- listing out all the things she was thankful for in this season of life. she informed me that thankful people are more self-compassionate (something we both struggle with) and happy/healthy. 

as I drove home, I talked to a few friends who always give me some good perspective. and as I told a heartache with my one friend, she encouraged me not to settle. to hold on to my faith and trust God has good in store for me. why am I always reaching for good enough for when He has great? 

and I thought about my last few weeks. how I've tried to get up early to spend time with God and start my days off right. a grand plan, but something this non-morning person is not so great at actually carrying out. until my kind friend at work encouraged me, even telling me she'd buy me a donut if I succeeded. needless to say, I got up early last week. 

all of these jumbled thoughts concluded to this: I am thankful for the people in my life that encourage me to choose better. my good friend, jenna, uses this phrase and it just seems right in this stage of life. I must learn to choose better. but sometimes it is hard, and I need encouragement. accountability. a little nudge. and just when I think God has abandoned me in a city I'm not used to without my support system, I see that He has not. that support can be long distance. or in the office. or on the other end of the phone. 

I want to choose better. I will choose better. sometimes this is hard. sometimes, I really want to just eat candy for dinner. but in the long run, it will make me sick. sometimes, I want to talk to someone who tells me nice things. and makes me feel worthwhile in the moment. but in the long run, is it healthy? does it leave me crying for 10.5 hours on the way home? if so, maybe I should choose better

this week I vow to choose better. to spend more time with Him, to be healthier, to guard my heart, and to be thankful. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


if you live in cubicle world like I do, you know about office communicator. sometimes used for conference call comments (what'd she say? I zoned out...), important work questions (can you send me...), and of course some good old-fashioned humor to get you through the day.

when my IM starts blinking, I typically expect one of these three items. typically, for real, they are work comments or questions, but there's also the random:: "there's pie in the breakroom. and I want it. at 9 am."

however, the other day I got an IM that truly knocked my socks off. one of my coworkers uses a thesaurus a lot at work. she writes a lot, and it's her thing (seriously -- giant thesaurus and dictionary sprawled across her desk at all times). she sent me a note that said: "sometimes I get completely distracted by the thesaurus".

I was thinking..surely she'll explain. and she did. she followed it with: "sometimes a word will jump out at me. and if it jumps out several times as I'm looking for something else, I'm pretty sure it's a sign. like the way scripture can jump out at you just like you were intended to read it in that very moment."

hm...ok, I'm tracking.

then she just typed: "small potato".

me: "what? small potato?"

her: "yes! small potato. I just saw it 3 times. like I am worrying about things that are just small potatoes."

mind. blown.

I totally believe that the all powerful man upstairs communications in various ways. and I totally believe that he can choose to communicate through a thesaurus. and also, through a thesaurus-loving co-worker.

small potatoes. how many things that stress me out, wreck my world, consume my thoughts are small potatoes that won't matter in a month or three or five? SO many. SO SO many. most, actually.

and as I continued to think about it tonight, I thought about my view of what a small potato is. you see, I'm in a particularly un-thankful season. I haven't felt grateful for much lately. I have focused on what I don't have: a routine here, my close friends, my family, plans a lot of the time. I miss so much about where I was. I miss the people and the routine and MY LIFE. and then I realized that when I was there, all those things seemed like small potatoes. they were a given, so I wasn't jumping up and down in excitement for them.

and now that I don't seem to have them, I feel likely I would do a jig if I did.

so tonight, I'm thinking about the things I take for granted. the health of those I hold dear. my wonderful family and friends, even though they don't all live close by. my job, which I often am not grateful for, but is truly a place I enjoy going (thanks awesome coworkers!). food in my belly. my health. the friends from college who live here and I love seeing, etc. etc.

because the truth is, if I lost any of these things, they would no longer be small potatoes. the absence of these amazing things would leave a large large LARGE potato gap.

so, I will thank God for the large potatoes in my life. I will ask He continues to give me discernment on which kind of potato is which, and thank him for IMing coworkers who read their thesaurus.