lost and unsure i opened my hand

We celebrated Valentine's Day on Friday night with a nice dinner by the lake. It was an hour wait, and we sat on a bench outside talking about our current state and dreaming together. We discussed some of the plans we felt God calling us too and also talked about how those plans can change. Both of us are in different jobs than we imagined for ourselves. Nothing is perfect or easy, but we both feel as though God has led us to this point.

Even with that knowledge, with His whisperings to me that He is in control, I struggle with letting go. I'm afraid to be filled with excitement over where He is calling us because I am afraid of my heart breaking.

It's much like Valentine's Day. I spent years thinking of February 14th as an integral day. I thought it needed gorgeous bouquets of flowers and elaborate dinners along with expensive presents. I fell into the trap of feeling like nothing if I had no one to share the day with.

I know differently now. I feel that Valentine's Day now is not important. To me, love is important, but I don't need a specific day to make me feel loved or cared for. I need the day to day events and happenings to remind me of what it truly means to be loved.

Getting to the point has taken years. And I think it's much the same way with letting go and allowing myself to be filled with excitement. While I want to be able to fall into His arms and His plans, I'm tentative to let go of everything I know even though it's true that His way will be best.

(title from "forgive me" by missy higgins)


and i know you can't stay but i wish you would

picture found here

According to many, home is where the heart is. But what if your heart is in many different places?

I flew out of Oklahoma City on Tuesday afternoon. There was a brief layover in Dallas, and then I landed in Houston. My mom greeted me at the airport. I spent Tuesday evening with my mom and brother. We ate, drank wine, and watched home videos. On Wednesday, my brother went off to work, and my mom and I stayed home. We watched Eat Pray Love, and then, Wednesday evening was a repeat of Tuesday with dinner, wine, and home videos.

Spending time with my family is more rare than I would like. In college, I enjoyed the eight-hour drive between Houston and Oklahoma City. Just a few years later, I despise the eight-hour drive and find myself entertaining the idea of living in Texas. It's not as easy as saying "let's move." There are jobs and houses and a husband and in-laws and dogs in Oklahoma.

My heart is in Oklahoma with my husband and my dogs. We are building a life there. It's not as easy as I want. Sometimes it is so difficult that it seems as though it would be easier to forget everything and move someplace new where we could just start over. But forgetting and starting over is not a pattern we are wanting to follow.

My heart is also in Texas with my parents and my Nana. There's familiarity here. I have a few friends who I miss dearly and would love to be able to call and meet for coffee or dinner on any night of the week. The grocery stores are also better (and cheaper) than the grocery stores in Oklahoma.

But my heart is also in Michigan. It longs for the crashing waves of Lake Michigan, the clear skies, the stars, and the sunsets. When I close my eyes, I see the park near my grandparents house. I can practically smell the fresh corn waiting to be purchased straight from the farm.

During my sophomore year of college, a professor had us think about our writing home. For me, it was Michigan. But what about my other home? What about where my heart is?

I want to have roots. I want to take a deep breath and settle somewhere. I'm trying to settle into a life in Oklahoma, and while many would argue that marriage is putting down roots (and it is in many ways), I still feel myself searching for the best soil for us both to put down roots.

I don't know if there is anything that would make it easier. While I do want to leave Oklahoma and return to Texas, I know it would present a new array of challenges. And I know that some of those challenges would make me long for life in Oklahoma, just as the challenges in Oklahoma make me long for life in Texas.

As a child, I was so ready to grow up. I wanted to move from one stage of life to the next as quickly as I could. Now that I am an adult, I want to move back into previous stages of life. I want to slow down. I want time to sit and contemplate where home is. I want a chance to just breathe and focus on what I want.

But life moves quickly. I go to work and make dinner almost every day. Weekends pass far too quickly. There is so much to catch up on, and while twenty-four hours seems like a good amount of time (in theory), it is never enough. I just can't seem to keep up.

I will board a flight on Monday evening. There will be no layover in Dallas this time. My plane will touch down in Oklahoma City after 5pm. I will be back with my husband and our dogs. Maybe my heart will be there, too. We'll see.

(title from "dance so good" by wakey!wakey!)


it's never simple never easy

picture found here
It's been a quiet week. Due to blizzard conditions, both my husband and I stayed home on Tuesday and Wednesday. He went to work on Thursday and Friday along with today. I attempted to go to work on Thursday but came home before reaching the Interstate. On Friday, I made it to work but left early due to deteriorating roads and the threat of more snow.

Growing up, I longed to live north of Texas where I would be able to enjoy snow and snow days. Now, I would give anything to live south of Oklahoma where I would be safe from snow and snow days (for the most part). It's funny how perspectives change.

I am ready for the snow and ice to melt. I am ready to drive without fear. I am ready to return to my everyday life of work. I am ready for highs in the 50s and lows only in the 30s.

Still, this week of being snowed in has been nice. I've spent time watching television and listening to good music. I've worked on my novel and fallen in love with the idea of (one day) working from home as a novelist. I thought I would be bored and ready to leave the house by now, but honestly, I am content to read and write and simply enjoy the confines of my home.

I've had no other responsibilities or distractions this week. All church events were cancelled. The potential law student orientation (and practice LSAT) I planned to attend was cancelled also. I don't remember the last time I went a week without responsibilities while at home.

All of this has provided me the chance to write. To be honest, it has been years since I wrote so much consecutively. It's also the first time I have written so much without an agenda. In the past, I had classes to write for and grades to receive. Or several people to send the in progress work to and await feedback. But now I am writing for no other audience but myself. It is both liberating and terrifying.

I'm liberated because I am able to write for myself and only myself. I'm not trying to fit my words into a specific genre or to please any one person (or number of people). My writing is not dependent on how many emails I receive with thoughts. When I come to a place and find myself stuck and unsure of how to proceed, I depend on only myself instead of asking someone else to guide me.

The terror comes from the not knowing. I don't know what others will think. I can't tell if this story will speak to anyone else. Sometimes I wonder if I am wasting my time with writing, and then I remind myself that writing is never a waste of time. This novel of mine might not be published, but at least I will finish it knowing I wrote it for myself and only myself.

And the terror also comes from just how much this story means to me. Stories I've written in the past have held pieces of me, but for the most part, the stories have been only the characters. This time, though, I find myself bleeding on the pages and truly sharing my heart. It's a story of loss and change and of love. It talks about the things that change us and the things that don't. As I write, I remember my senior year of college. It was the year after months spent in China and a year of change and loss and of love. It was a year that changed me forever and will always remain with me.

Bleeding onto the pages might not be for the best. It might make rejection harder to handle. But it feels right to me. This is a story that has bounced around my head for years, and I've attempted to write it once. I even completed it once. Then I decided there was more to say, and I am in the process of re-telling the story. The characters are different, which is for the best.

As I write, other ideas come to me. I am anxious to finish this story and move onto the next. I am excited for what the future of my writing will hold.

(title from "breathe" by taylor swift)


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