gratitude lately

Sweet friends, 

I have so much to be thankful for in this season of life. 
It is both beautiful and humbling to be reminded, "gratitude turns everything into enough" Some things I've been grateful for lately...

P's laughter, E's joy and playing "eye spy" 
A new coffee shop on Clinton and their pretty sweet playlists
Honest conversations and the healing that comes from them
Crisp weathered Sundays and made up words
Liturgy and the promises of Advent

the weight of waiting

I don’t have delicate hands.
And I don’t have a gentle spirit.
I have dirt under my fingernails, cuts, and calluses.

I like to be part of creating-
Which is really just a fancy way of saying I like to be part of doing-
Which is really just a kind way of saying I like to be busy.

As I finish up this semester of school, I am ready for the next to begin.  I don’t want to stop, or pass go, (although I would gladly collect $200).  I want things to keep on moving, for the calendar to stay full, and new responsibilities to come my way.  I want to productively busy myself into a life of adventures and really good coffee.

But as Advent season approaches I am reminded of the importance to wait. 
We wait expectantly- not as a people without hope.
Yet, we wait nonetheless.

For me, waiting can feel like a weight-
A burden too heavy- a duty too menial.

The most Holy waiting I’ve done was when I traveled to Greece.  There, we waited with purpose and sacred anticipation. I’ve made it my prayer recently, that I would honor the lessons of Greece in my every day living and being:
more campfires, more honest conversations,
more seeing the anticipation as sacred and not as something to be scared of.   

Some of the best feedback I’ve ever received was from my sweet friend Karen, “things can’t grow if you keep digging them up to see if they’ve grown”

So here’s to letting things grow this Advent season. 
Even in the winter months, when I can’t see it happening. 
Even when I’m restless- in those moments may I learn to truly rest.

And here’s to being okay with cuts and calluses and bruises…
but a little more gentle with myself, my words, and my schedule.

and if you need a little extra dose of courage in the waiting can I suggest you give this song a listen:: 

The Promise of No

I’ve been reading through old journals of mine the past few weeks. 
Some of the entries seem so foreign to me… prayers and hopes I hardly recognize. 
Others, though penned years ago, could have just as easily been written thirty minutes ago. 
Life is funny like that.

When I turned twenty-seven earlier this year, I made “No” my word.  I recognized the toll overcommitting myself was having on me and I adopted the belief “if it's not a HELL YES, then it's a no”.  Saying no to the menial is easy… dinner invites will come again, part time job offers are just part time, relationships without depth are draining at best.

But what about when you say no to the meaningful?  When the no’s repeated in your journal are life changing and confusing?  In those moments, I am learning… hope is being born.  Our no’s reflect what we desperately long for, sometimes more honestly than our yes’s do.  Despite the pain and suffering that often accompanies a no, it’s worth acknowledging the endurance required to bravely utter those two significant letters. 

Looking through the pages of old journals, the pattern of no’s has been oddly comforting.  Despite the confusion that has surrounded no’s through the years, I have an unwavering belief that He is writing a more beautiful story than I ever could, and He doesn’t make mistakes.  He is good, even when His plans are different than I could have ever expected. 

What have you said no to recently?
What no has been the most life changing for you?

I haven’t climbed in three years.  Tomorrow my forearms, my toes, and my hands will remind me of the time I’ve spent away.  But sometimes, when everything about life feels chaotic, your heart needs you to go back to simple actions that bring joy.  You need to physically do something that anchors you and reminds you that you’re going to be okay.  Coffee and climbing with a very best friend just might be the best medicine for a weary spirit…

Between the familiar and the stretching this very sacred thing happens to me when I’m climbing a route.  It’s as if each hold and movement upward brings a bit of clarity and assurance. 

I’ve got you.   I wouldn’t trust just anyone to belay me- but I trust Aaron Luke.  Despite the fact that I cannot see him while facing the route, I trust him to both catch me if I fall and direct me to the next hold when I get stuck.  I have spent a lot of time the past few months anxious about what’s to come next.  The worrying hasn’t solved anything, only distracted me from having faith to believe He’s got me.  He’s got me here for a reason…  back in counseling, back in Church, back in Huntsville.  But He’s also got me.  He is protector and comforter- I need only stay on belay. 

Aaron Luke used to always make me end on a route that was a little bit too difficult; both from a grading stand point and a fatigue standpoint.  So this morning, to show off my personal growth from the past three years, I announced that I hadn’t fallen yet and needed to attempt one last route in order to do so.  He gladly obliged.

I had lots of time to think, as I require more rest and chalk during the final route, and this is what went through my mind as I made my way up:
Holds aren’t always what they appear to be…reach for them anyway. 
You don’t have to have the whole route planned out to complete it… but you do have to start.
Other people may complete the exact same route in a completely different way… that’s okay.
Rest, re-chalk, re-try… repeat as necessary.
It’s okay to fall when you know who's got you. 
In fact, it’s safe.  It’s even encouraged.  It means you attempted something boldly. 

What I learned from twenty six

Twenty six brought me (nearly) one year closer to my masters and grew my emotional resiliency in ways I am forever grateful for.

Twenty six was about holding out on the good in order for the great-

I learned friendships are best experienced in person-

I learned the peace that comes when you stop trying to change the whole world-

I learned simplicity can be as much a spiritual discipline as prayer or fasting-

Here's to the adventures of being twenty-seven!