it's come to this

picture found here.
The day started with a doctor's appointment. A follow-up to the day, three weeks ago, when I had a pint of blood drawn and then tested for a lengthy list of conditions that can cause an enlarged liver. Things like hepatitis and Wilson's disease.

I was slightly nervous having googled enlarged liver and headache the day before, but I also had a sense of peace. It had been three weeks. The doctor had not called in a panic asking me to come in early.

And there was nothing. Every test came back negative. No viruses. No diseases. No genetic conditions. There was a sigh of relief, and then we talked about diet and about exercise.

My liver enzymes are slightly elevated. They are just a few points over what is considered normal, so my doctor is not too alarmed. He wants to monitor it with a visit and blood work every six months. But as far as he is concerned, it is something I can change and fix. It is all in my hands now.

I've struggled with my weight for years. I try for a little while, and then I always stop trying. I spent some time taking diet pills. Other time forcing myself to not eat (or to purge what I did eat). I wanted to be skinny, but I never wanted to do all the hard work. It seemed easy for everyone else, and I wanted it to be easy for me.

There is a part of me even still that wants an easy solution. But I know the easy solution is not something I can come by. I know that this getting healthy and working towards a better me is going to take a lot of hard work.

I've said I was ready before. And I was for a moment in time. But I easily lifted my hands and gave up and stopped trying. I don't want to be that person. I want to continue to move towards my goal. I want to work towards something, achieve it, and then continue to work towards something else.

I want the number on the scale to decrease. I also want my pants and shirts to become too large resulting in a need to go shopping for new clothes. But more than that, I want to be healthy. Because weight and size of clothing is not only dependent on diet and exercise. It has to do with genetics and build type. But health? That is all me.

This is new territory for me. I know some about healthy eating thanks to a nutrition class I took in college. Still, knowledge and application are two entirely different things. I can spout off the knowledge, yes, but when I go to apply the knowledge to my everyday life, it's a bit tricker.

Portion... what is that? And this doesn't really have that many calories, right? It's only a diet coke.

Then there is snacks and the elusive fullness. I make decent choices for lunch, but by the middle of the afternoon, my stomach is empty and grumbling and I find myself eating something that completely undoes all the good lunch did.

And exercise? I want to exercise. It sounds good in theory. There have been more mornings than I can count that started with the intention of working out, and there was a period of several months where I successfully made it to the gym at least three days a week.

But something always happens. I get tired. Or sick. Or just need "a break." (It could just be plain laziness, too.) I no longer feel inspired. Or I feel like it's just not working, that there is no progress being made, and I feel like there will be no future progress.

It's all excuses. And they need to stop now.

So I am putting it all out on the line. I'm saying I need to change, and I am going to hold myself accountable. I don't know exactly how this will all work out, and I am not sure what my plan is going to be. But I am going to do something about this.

It's funny really. Everything is changing. I am being pushed out of my comfort zone and into the unknown. With my writing. With my health. With every aspect of my life. And I know it's for a reason. God is definitely up to something.

(title from "what if you" by joshua radin)


in times like these

picture found here.
I planned to stop at McDonald's this morning. An iced, vanilla coffee started to call my name as soon as I left the house. My stomach upset, and the hint of a headache (which has lingered for almost three days now) sneaking up on me.

The plan stuck with me as I navigated I-35, and I pulled off onto the exit and then into the parking lot. The line was wrapped around McDonald's. I grunted and then pulled into a parking spot.

And then I paused. I was already running late. And my eyes were not drooping.

Instead of turning off the car, I shifted into reverse and then left the parking lot. No coffee in hand.

Every now and then, I think God uses His sense of humor to speak to me in situations like this. I see it as His way of reminding to let go of my expectations, to let go of my desire for these worldly things. Coffee is fine, yes, but it's better when made at home (or replaced by a homemade chai tea latter). Picking up an iced coffee from McDonald's is all right in moderation, but when money is tight and I am praying for a way for it to be not so tight, I need to let go of the comforts I think I deserve all the time.

I go back and forth on this. I want the comforts of this life. Even though I know they are just comforts and not necessities. And sometimes my want of the comforts of the life take over, and I lose sight of the important things.

Because I do want to enjoy the simple things in life. And I do want to live a more simplistic lifestyle. I hope that my everyday story will reflect His story. Only I want all of this on my own terms, and that just isn't the way it works.

My husband and I sponsor a child in Haiti through Compassion International. It's a pledge we made early on in our marriage. Letters from our child hang on the refrigerator, and I write him through email or by putting pen to paper. A week ago, I considered discontinuing our sponsorship of him.

It would be an extra $32 in our bank account. And is this something we can really afford? Thinking back now I realize how selfish and ridiculous it would have been to end the sponsorship. Maybe if things were really tight. In the sense of there was no income entering our bank account. But right now when I want extra breathing room to make the purchases I deem important?

Thank goodness it is not an easy point and click process to end a sponsorship. Thank goodness that just days later we received a letter from the child we sponsored. And thank goodness I have a husband who would have told me I was wrong and then re-sponsored the child had I successfully ended the sponsorship.

I have this lie circulating in my head that I shouldn't have to suffer. That things should just come easily. It's a lie I battle every day as I remind myself that suffering will only make us stronger. It's a lie I battle every day as I tell myself that God has a plan and that He will use all of this for my good and His glory. And it is a lie I (try to) combat by reminding myself that God loves me enough to not just give me all the things I want. He wants me to learn how to work for things, and He wants me to understand what struggle is so that I can later on show compassion to others who struggle.

I've also bought into the lie that comfort is important. Of the utmost importance. It's a lie I think we as a country as we as a generation buy into. We want the most up to date technology. We look for the easiest way to cook, to shop, to do everything.

And comfort is not the most important thing. Vacations are important, yes. Rest is necessary. We do all deserve a break at some point, yes. But this idea that comfort will take care of everything is nothing but a lie. It sets us all up for failure and frustration when we are unable to achieve the amount of comfort we feel like we should.

For me, it has to do with vacations. I want a chance to go to the beach, to sip drinks on the beach and sleep in as late as I want. I want to jump on a plane and fly to Michigan or California at the drop of a hat. It also has to do with things. I want a new computer. I want a different couch for my living room. I want things that I already have, but I would prefer to have the better kind of thing.

So God used a long line at McDonald's to remind me that I do not need of any of these things. He used the $2 I didn't spend on an iced vanilla coffee to remind me that I need a shift in my perspective.

The question now is what do I do. First, I continue to get out of my own way. I also continue to stop making excuses. And I remind myself every morning what is important (and what is not). And then I leave the rest up to Him. Because I'm not in control of anything.

Has God ever given you a change of perspective?

(title from "hands" by jewel)


a history so deep it hurts to look

picture found here.
We headed east on Saturday. It was mid-morning by the time we were on the road - my husband and I stuffed in the backseat with his brother while my mother and father-in-law sat in the front seat. We were all dressed in a variation of gray and black, prepared to say goodbye to a 94-year-old grandfather.

He passed on Wednesday evening, surrounded by family. We had known the day was coming, but it still is a surprise when someone who has always been there is no longer present.

The trip was two hours there and then another two hours back. It was filled with laughter and talk and the things family road trips should be filled with. There was lunch at Braum's and then snacks with other family members.

The reason for our trip was not lost on any of us, but we all chose to concentrate most on spending time with family and remembering the time we spent with my husband's great-grandfather before he passed.

I knew him for only a few years, but as is the case with the rest of the family, I was immediately a part of his family. Even before our wedding day. And there is something about that kind of love and acceptance that stays with you for years and years to come. I hope and aspire to be the sort of person who welcomes people into my own family regardless of blood.

This was the third funeral I have ever been to. It is a low number, and for that, I am grateful. Funerals provide a time of reflection. Both reflection on that person's life and reflection on your own life.

One of the things brought up during this funeral was a parable, the parable of the eleventh hour.

In it, Jesus talks about how those who believe in Him will receive the same grace and generosity regardless of when they decided to believe. This is crucial to our walk with Him and crucial to life.

It's easy to judge others for their choices and to believe that we are better because of when we made our own personal decision. And it is also easy to say that it is too late. Too late to believe. Too late to correct wrongs. Too late to ask for forgiveness. Too late to live out our dreams.

But it is never too late.

This struck a chord with me. For many reasons. One of the main reasons is that I concentrate on things happening now. I want all things to line up and work out now. I want to understand my life now. I want to have a direction to move towards and then do just that without anything getting in my way. And then if something does get in my way (which it always does because that's life), I stop and think it's too late.

But it is never too late.

So what do I want to do? What are the things that I am striving for but feel it may be too late? There are many.

And what do I feel like will never happen? So many things.

But it's me standing in the way. It's me stopping those things from happening.  Which means that it is time for me to move out of my own way and me to show up. And it seems like the more I realize it the harder it is to actually move out of the way and the easier it is to stay in the way. Because as soon as the first step is taken, more will follow until I am in an all out sprint towards the things I want.

I write about this a lot because it's a process. Just like a road trip involves a series of turns, a series of exits and entrances to the interstate, and a few stops a long the way, life also involves a series of turns and a series of exits and entrances. Sometimes it is monotonous, and sometimes it is exciting. And while it is in so many ways easier to remain still, it's not better; it's so much better to take that first step and then eventually, arrive at your destination. Or, as is my case, destinations.

What is your destination today?

(title from "elements" by a fine frenzy)


counting my blessings (#51-60)

picture found here.
51. Christ is risen from the dead. We are one with Him again. Come awake, come awake. Come and rise up from the grave. Matt Maher - Christ Has Risen
52. Family road trips.
53. Rain.
54. Movie date nights at home.
55. Early bed times.
56. Water with lemon.
57. Hugs from Brandy.
58. Playing with toddlers.
59. Celebrating Easter with friends and family.
60. A Savior who loves me and died for my sins (and for everyone who believes in Him.)


a divine conspiracy (the story of us: part 7)

Our engagement began at the end of May and lasted until the middle of September. While there was no specific reason to rush marriage, we both felt that it was time to start our lives together, and knowing that life and work would eventually take over, we decided a wedding before November would be best.

This meant my husband would work two jobs and attend classes over the summer. I would work one job and plan a wedding. I also had surgery eight days before our wedding. Let's just say we are overachievers when it comes to doing as much as possible in a short period of time.

Growing up, my father joked that I should elope when that day came. And I considered it. Of course, my idea of eloping was going to Mexico or Florida. His idea of eloping was the court house and then a large party afterwards. We agreed on a small intimate wedding instead.

My husband let me have free reign over the wedding. He had two requests: 1) the invitations read Justin "The Dark" Knight and 2) a Batman grooms cake. I allowed the Batman grooms cake.

Planning a wedding is not easy. I had heard enough stories from others about what all it entails, and searching wedding websites didn't help matters either. My parents lived over 400 miles away as well, so I took to google and hoped to find an intimate location within my price range.

There were several locations within my price range, yes, but most were not places I wanted for my wedding. I'm picky, and I knew I wanted to be married outdoors and that I wanted the wedding to be personal. I wanted the chance to create, but I also wanted someone else to handle all the wedding day details.

Enter Sandy. I stumbled upon her site through google. After visiting the site numerous times and clicking through the pictures, I asked my mother-in-law to go with me. And I almost immediately fell in love.

The gardens were perfect. Sandy would handle everything. And I do mean everything: the cake, the catering, the flowers, the photography, etc. And the price was just right. Plus I had never seen anyone married in her garden before, and she had an opening for a Saturday evening when there was not a University of Oklahoma football game. (Living in Oklahoma, weddings are often planned around college football. It's just the truth.)

I printed out pictures of bouquets I wanted and also printed out pictures of the cakes I loved. I picked out the menu as well, and Sandy made all of my dreams turn into realities.

Two months before the wedding, my mother flew into town, and we began the search for a wedding dress. I had fallen in love with several dresses on-line and then immediately fell out of love with them once I saw them in person. The first dress I tried on was "the one." It needed no alterations, and I also could wear it without a veil. The lack of a veil horrified the attendant, but it was my wedding day after all.

Things were moving along well. I was excited and ready for our wedding day. We had wonderful engagement pictures taken. I made our invitations and designed bottle labels. And I worked - a lot.

But in the middle of August, things changed.

I'd been sick for a while. Quite possibly years. Pain and nausea. The inability to eat certain foods. I went to Urgent Care on a Friday afternoon, and on Monday morning, I was told to go to the Emergency Room. I had passed a gallstone through my pancreas (without knowing) over the weekend.

It was an exhausting day of IVs and ultrasounds and painkillers. The final assumption was that I needed to have my gallbladder removed, and while I wanted it done that day, it was no longer an emergency so I went home and called my doctor.

I was in mandatory training in the midst of all this, and the trip to the Emergency Room occurred a month before the wedding. The doctor said I needed surgery to remove my gallbladder, and I was provided two dates for the surgery. One was during my final week of training; the other was eight days before our wedding. I chose the date eight days before our wedding.

Not yet married, and we were walking through a period of "in sickness and in health." My husband sat in the waiting room and then cared for me at home. When he had to work, his sister or my mother-in-law spent time with me, watching television and fetching food from Jason's Deli. I was back at work the next Monday, still sore and a little nauseous, and determined to be perfectly healthy before the wedding on Saturday and our mini-honeymoon.

(title from "god gave me you" by dave barnes)

This post is part of a series. It is a snapshot of how I met (and married) my husband. To read the entire series, click here.


the things that i dream i can do

God calls out to me and says "wait." He reminds me that His timing is best. And I concede - for a moment. But the moment passes quickly, and I soon begin to pout with arms crossed over my chest. Frustrated. Tired. Tears brimming my eyes and then falling, my nose dripping. I ask "why" and then "now please." Eventually my eyes are swollen and red, my voice hoarse and I request help.

And God answers. Much like a parent tending to a child with a skinned knee. He brings the items needed to mend my brokenness and kisses the places that hurt. He wraps me in His arms and holds me. I squirm - always - and He tightens His hold.

This is a cycle that repeats itself often. Sometimes it's because of finances. Other times because I am anxious about our house. Or my writing. Or what to do with the rest of my life. The list goes on and on.

God created a worrying heart when He knit me together. He created a person who liks to have a plan and does not like to deter the plan. He did this knowingly and with thoughtful reasons. He knew all the steps I would take and when I would fall. He counts every tear I cry.

The thought alone moves me to tears. How can someone, anyone, love so completely and perfectly? How can He look at me and see a beautiful creation when I am nothing more than a snotty nose, puffy eyes, scraped knees, broken heart, and bruised arms?

I don't know. I will never know.

Right now I am anxious and impatient with my writing, with piecing together sentences and creating imaginary (or not so imaginary) worlds. I am ready to move past this process of writing and rewriting. I am ready to take the next step. But I have to wait.

Writing is hard. To me it is one of the hardest things to do. I love it with every ounce of myself, yes, but I also despise it with every ounce of myself. Compared to others, my words fall flat, and my stories seem so simple and so unimportant.

But they aren't. Nothing is unimportant.

Because if I don't write, then who will tell the stories? They are not my stories but His. Knit together with other stories being told to remind us all that life hurts and is hard but there is always hope.

And does God need me for any of this? No. But He wants me. He selected me and provided me with the desire to put pen to paper as a child and now to tap my fingers against the keyboard. He gave me a love of the written word, the ability to lose myself in a book, and the dream to create characters and stories that will somehow touch others.

So here I am. Tired and devoid of any inspiration for my current writing project. Frustrated with the most recent short story I wrote. Envious of other's voice. But God says wait. And He promises that He has a purpose for my writing and my love of the word.

Now please?

Not yet. And I will wait.

(lyrics from "one sweet love" by sara bareilles)


time makes you bolder

Can I be honest? For just a moment. Will you listen?

I've talked so much about change. About bettering myself. And about moving on. But in so many ways, it has just been talk.

Because this change? It is so much harder than anything I have ever done.

I have the desire to change. It rises up in me and takes hold of my every thought. It spreads itself into every aspect of my life and begs me to move from my old way to a new way. There are reminders everywhere that it is time to let go of the thoughts and the worries and the question. Freedom beckons me and promises to bring me new life.

And yet, I remain frozen. Sometimes it feels like my feet are in a bucket of quickly drying cement. Other times it is as though my hands are bound behind my back and there is a rope loosely tied around my ankles. And occassionally, it is me holding myself back. My hands and feet are free, but I am too afraid to take that first step.

I don't know why, though.
But maybe the why doesn't matter. I have spent hours (probably more like days) wondering why, arguing with myself (and with others), and praying to understand why. Some insight has been shed, but even more questions linger.

I can't wait around to understand why. I have to make a choice. Do I remain stuck? Or do I move forward, casting aside my questions and my fears?
I want to move forward. I think know I need to move forward. Even though it is terrifying.

The next question then is how. And the answer is: I don't know.

Over the past few months, I've grown. I've opened myself up to people. I've allowed myself to cry and to weep and to ask for help. I've started writing again. I've prayed - a lot. I've done so many things. But I still have a long way to go.

Another questions is, what do I do? I think this might answer the question of how because it will provide me with specific steps to take.
A few weeks ago, while on the phone with my mother, I talked about a quote. It goes a little something like this: "If writing a book is impossible, write a chapter. If writing a chapter is impossible, write a page. If writing a page is impossible, write a paragraph. If writing a paragraph is impossible, write a sentence. If writing even a sentence is impossible, write a word and teach yourself everything there is to know about that word and then write another, connected word and see where their connection leads." -Richard Rhodes.

I took it to apply only to writing. To the fact that I need to write at least one page a day and then maybe write more.

But my mother, wise woman that she is, talked about how this can apply to every aspect of life. I listened but also brushed the words off. Or I thought I brushed the words off; in reality, they have been rushing around in my mind for the past week.
This is my first step. I am writing a word, and I am going to teach myself everything there is to know about it. And how it relates to my life. And that word is: change.

What is your word?

(title from "landslide" by fleetwood mac)


pretty words to say

I'm exhausted today. Mentally and physically exhausted. Coffee didn't fix it, and neither did a diet coke. I don't think there is a way to fix it other than taking deep breaths and pushing past the exhaustion.

If you're feeling the same way, I hope some of these inspiring words will help.


(title from "turpentine" by brandi carlile)


time to leave those feelings behind

picture found here.
Yesterday morning, my supervisor agreed to let me off work for Wednesday. She then mentioned the possibility of taking two days off for the week. It’s not something I make a regular habit of, and it is unclear when I will be able to take more time off due to changes at the office. I jumped at the chance of two days off, looked at the current work load, and decided taking Wednesday and Thursday off would work best.

I slept until 9 this morning and then took my time to make breakfast. I don’t remember the last time I made breakfast over eating a cereal bar or a bagel. And now, I am sitting in a gazebo tapping away at the computer.

It’s funny because just last night, at Community Group, I was talking about how difficult it is to actually get up and write. One of the girls said something about how the life of a writer would be relaxing. And while I am sure there are times when it would be, I am usually so consumed by working 40 hours a week, loving on and caring for two dogs, engaging in a relationship with my husband, and everything else that life entails. There is no real room for writing so it seems.

Life is what you make it, and there are more hours available in the day. But sleep and television and doing nothing seem to take over the time I could (and should) spend writing and bettering myself.

One of the bloggers I read regularly asked a question a few days ago. It was about how you feed your writer’s soul. I answered with: vacation, music, reading, compliments, dreaming, and prayer. After wrestling with the answers, I realized I have not been feeding my writer’s soul. I have not been feeding my soul, period, like I need.

My body is fed. And rested. I can make it through the work week, and I am able to complete most of my commitments. But other than that, it is a struggle to do much else. And that is no way to live.

So today, I am sitting in a gazebo in the park. I’m halfway through a latte, and I ate a carrot cake cupcake. I’ve written a little over two pages to my novel, and the ideas are continuing to come. I have all day to do as I please and tomorrow too. It is a time when I will be able to truly feed my soul and rejuvenate myself.

The Bible talks about the Sabbath and how important Sabbath is. I’m not one to take a Sabbath. I work and work, and I sometimes over commit myself. And I become burnt out. My mind is always racing, and I am always trying to solve problems that have yet to even present themselves.

God has been doing a lot with this. He is reminding me to stop. And to slow down. To allow myself to breathe and to dream.

Tears brim my eyes as I write this all. But they are tears of happiness and of joy and of contentment. It’s hard to remember exactly when I last cried out of happiness, so I am relishing in this moment.

I moved from the gazebo in the park to a local coffee shop near my house. Seated in a turquoise booth, I drink a chai latte now. And I feel at peace – at home. This is what I was made to do, I think.

I long for a day when my life does not feel consumed by 40 hours of work. But really who doesn’t? And I long for a day when what I love will be what I do. Some day. Maybe soon.

I’ve talked so much about struggling here and how difficult life is. How hard social work can be. How we have to always work at our marriage. How much certain things drain me. All those things are true. Nothing concrete has changed, and I am sure there will be future moments of struggle and future moments of frustration.

But right now, I am in a new season. A season of feeding my soul and doing what I love. And wrestling with God about my frustrations and questions.

And for that, I am thankful.

(title from "blue skies" by noah and the whale)

counting my blessings (#41-50)

picture found here.
41. Jeremiah 29:11.
42. Would dare you, would you dare, to believe, that you still have a reason to sing? Cause the pain you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming. Josh Wilson - Before the Morning.
43. Sitting on the front porch.
44. Walking the neighborhood with my husband and our two dogs.
45. I hear you say you're alone. I hear you saying that you'll never make it. I've got to tell you you're wrong 'cause I have been down this path you're taking. You never know what faith is 'till you don't understand. Sometimes it takes the silence to finally hear His plan. Building 429 - Listen to the Sound
46. Taking two days off work.
47. Sleeping in until 9am.
48. Quiet time in the mornings.
49. Wrestling instead of struggling.
50. Birds chirping.


this is where the old is ending

picture found here.
I started this morning with a less than thankful heart. Frustrated with several different situations, I headed to church. I asked for a softened heart during worship, and God answered.

His answers do not always reveal what I hope. As much as I don't want to, I often ask for His way but in reality am asking for things to happen in the way I want them to. Instead of leaning into all the things He wants for my life, I say I will but hold onto what I want, what I feel is best for my life.

I've gone back and forth today with what I feel He is calling me toward. There are moments of clarity and moments of fogginess. I experience moments of peace and joy intermingled with moments of frustration and of anger.

Right now, I'm in the midst of frustration and sadness and uncertainty. I think I know what He is saying, but it is so hard to let go of the things I want for my life. And yet, He continues to pursue my heart, to convict me of the things that need to change. He does not relent even though I have given Him every reason to.

God has been so tangible in my life recently. And it brings me to tears. He has such a burden for me, for my life, and for the lives of those around me. Even though I am fickle and even though I think that I know best and so often cast Him aside.

I am on a journey. And He is leading me. He is showing me my weaknesses and reminding me that He can turn those weaknesses into strengths. He is reminding me of the things that break my heart and showing me that He can use all of those things for His good.

I've prayed for this. I have asked Him to become the center of my life. And I wanted it. I just didn't know how hard it would be. Or maybe I didn't know if I was ready for Him to become the center or my life and that is why I held so tightly to the things that I hoped for in my life.

I am on a journey. Writing here, documenting both the ups and the downs, is part of that journey. I just pray that God will use these words to further His kingdom and touch the lives of people.

Because that's what I want. I think it is what I have always wanted. A chance to be a vessel of change. The opportunity to improve the world around me. It just isn't happening the way I pictured or planned it.

And that is hard. It is probably the hardest thing for me. To let go of the plans I had and to offer my hands to Him to use the way He sees fit. To let go of the desire to worry incessantly and come up with at least five different solutions for every problem. To depend on my strengths and abilities and wisdom instead of constantly seeking Him. To pray for His guidance and then to truly be open to where He is guiding me.

I will stumble. And I am sure I will take several steps backwards. But I am doing my best to grab hold of where He is taking me and to not let go.

And I am terrified. Absolutely terrified. Because while He has made promises, no specifics have been offered. There is no map to guide me where to go, and while there was a short period of time when the path was well lit, I am now taking one step at a time with no clear picture of where those steps will lead.

So I pray. The prayers are not always eloquent. And sometimes I just have to cry. At times, I lash out at God and at those around me. But I continue to press on and to pray, and I hope the same for you.

I appreciate every kind word I have received in the past. Every understanding hug and every reminder of God's love. It spurs me on to know that these words are being read because I know that I have people to hold me accountable even if I do not always want to hear what they might have to say.

God is good. So good. So much better than I could ever imagine. And He loves us. I just need to remember that there is not much more to ask for - that He will always provide what I need. And I need to remember to pray and to listen and then to respond.

(title from "listen to the sound" by building 429)


feels like being underwater

picture found here.
It is not yet the middle of April, and the air conditioner is turned on. I'm dressed in a tank top and capri pants. I enjoy warmer weather but am not the biggest fan of summer. I think it's because I long for vacations in the summer, and at this point, we have no vacations planned.

If we could, we would travel. To Michigan. To Mexico. To Texas. To see family. And to spend hours by the pool, warming our skin and then cooling off in the pool. One day we will.

But still. Warmer weather brings longer walks outside. We took both dogs out this morning and navigated the cracked sidewalks. Then after some rest, my husband and I spent an hour in downtown Oklahoma City, walking and eating frozen yogurt. A simple afternoon but one that elicited conversation. Sometimes the best afternoons are the simple ones.

I'm doing my best to enjoy the simple moments. It's not always easy because I do struggle with wanting more, but I am getting there.

On the drive home, we talked about writing. I'm close to finishing the second draft of my novel, and it terrifies me. This fear is a layered one. It is fear of success, of failure, and what will come next. Because if there is success, then more is expected. And if there is failure, then a person has to start over again.

I'm holding tightly to my dreams, though, as scary as they are. I am reminding myself that I can do this. That this writing thing? It is my passion, and it is something I need to turn into a reality. I've spent too many months and years "writing a novel"; it is time to finish the novel and then move onto the next step - whatever that might be.

I keep coming back to words I've heard for years. Words about writing. And about how I have what it takes. It is time for me to believe those words. And not just as they relate to writing but as they relate to every aspect of life.

There is a trap I often fall into. It is the trap of comparison. Comparison only to the things I see. Things like other's homes, other's marriages, other's successes. And I think of how I want this or that or anything that appears better than what I have.

I'm trying to move away from the trap of comparison. But it's not an easy trap to bid farewell to. It is a trap that so easily ensnares and then takes over every possible thought and aspect it can. Similar to the clover that spreads so effortlessly in our front yard as the grass struggles to spring up.

Comparisons are only made on the surface level. They run as deep as the eye can see and then they stop. And only concentrating on those things seen on the surface does nothing but keep a person from realizing the truth: that everyone has their own struggles.

There is no writer (that I know of) who writes a book effortlessly and eloquently on the first try and then publishes it without any editing. There is no wife in a marriage without strife and who doesn't work every single day to make it the best marriage possible.

Why then is it so much harder to realize the truth rather than focus on the lies comparisons tell us?

This is a question I have asked over the past several days. I am asking God and seeking His heart for my life. I am looking into my own life and seeing the good as well as focusing on the aspects that I can change for the better. Because I do have the chance to move from where I am to where I want to be; it just might take longer than I prefer.

One way of doing this is to keep a list of my blessings. A weekly list. Some items come to mind quickly and others take their sweet time.

And another way is to finish. To finish my novel. To move from having a dream to completing a labor of love. It's time to step out and do all the things I've talked about doing. It's time to bid farewell to the fears and embrace the hopes I have.

(title from "break me" by jewel)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...