What comes next…

eBJIgrh3TCeHf7unLQ5e_sailing-5I keep thinking, I need to write a blog post

Obviously thinking about that hasn’t done me a lot of good. It isn’t that nothing is going on. A lot is going on. Packing, moving, house stuff, horribly awful family drama, sophomore finals, high school meltdowns, family outings, date nights, new podcast episodes, and the list goes on… Mostly though, I’m thinking about what comes next? How to get from where I stand, to where I’m meant to be. Yesterday we had the privilege of hearing an amazing sermon that spoke so deeply to me about our expectations of God and our purpose in life. It all fit so neatly into this inner struggle I’m having with my What Comes Next? Dilemma…

And my inner battle reminds me just how human I am.

I have this idea. This vision, if you will, of what I want. It’s my dream, I guess. I have no earthly idea how to get from my place of point A.) to it’s fruition of point B.) NONE. If it were, say, Point Z.) that would make more sense because there would be clearly defined steps to take… But there aren’t, and so I get overwhelmed and I choose the completely pathetic action of doing nothing. I might pray for it to happen, but don’t expect it to. I might wish for it to be, but don’t believe it could happen to me. I don’t work for it, because I don’t want to be disappointed I guess. I answer every question with a “how?” Thus being the evidence of my humanity.

It’s very much like, I was saying to a friend this morning, standing in New York City and needing desperately to get to London but not having the use of a plane or boat. How? What comes next?

God.

I guess that’s the only answer, God.

Last week as I sat listening to verbal abuse on the phone and realizing how easily it is for others to hurt us, and how sometimes there is that one person who has been hurting us our whole lives and this time feels like the grand finale of all wounds- What Comes Next? God.

It’s the only answer that makes sense. Today (and everyday) I’m going to trust and expect God to get me out of this awful place someone else’s misery put my family in. Right now (and every minute) I’m going to trust and expect God to (metaphorically) get me to London.

I guess, essentially, expecting is what comes next.

Savor…

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My word in 2014 was to simplify, and I did… Until life got really complicated. Even then though, I still attempted to simplify. This year, my word is Savor.

It’s easy to lose sight of the act of simply savoring, whether it is the taste, a moment… So many bad things happened last year to the lives which somehow orbit mine that I became increasingly more and more aware of my need to be present and savor these minutes I do have.

Two years ago my word was Intentional, and I guess Savor is similar, but to me it’s deeper. More raw, and personal. It takes the intentional act of being and challenges me to stand there and feel it for a while, taste the layers and contemplate its textures…

Honestly, it sounds terrifying and I already, on day one, fear I’ll fail. That’s the beauty of the word of the year, it is organic and continual. I will fall short, and then I will try harder.

What is your plan for the year?

But I did love…

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I’ve talked about how much this year and I didn’t get along. I also know, sadly, that I’m not alone on this… (We talk a small amount about this year coming to a close and the things that we loved on this week’s episode of the podcast as well.) That being said, I’m not one to leave things on a sour note and I’d like to say goodbye to Two-Thousand-Fourteen by thanking him for a small list of the things I loved…

~ My daughter Amanda’s marriage to her husband J. This was by far the highlight of our year. He and his awesome, rough & tumble boys make our family so much better!

~ Our youngest daughter Gen’s baptism, in April. It was a beautiful sunset, in a cold river, and just a special moment shared with some of our favorite people on earth.

~ My husband’s 40th surprise party. It was fantastic fun! So good to have the best people on the planet (minus just a few who couldn’t make it) piled into one house.

~ Falling in strong like with my Fitbit, and having several friends (and my husband) follow suit. It’s a cool little thing and I love it!

~ A surprise, last-minute afternoon trip to New York City for lunch and a visit to see the 30 Rock tree. I love knocking things off my bucket list.

~ The miracle of our dear family friend Chris, as he experienced a recovery when it seemed like he wouldn’t, just a few weeks ago.

~ My BFF coming to visit in October.

~ That I have a partner to go through these hard times of parenting and house hunting with. He makes it all worthwhile…

~ His Zombie Run this summer. While I didn’t participate, it was VERY fun to watch and hear all about it!

~ My health improving after surgery and a very difficult recovery. I look forward to next year being even better!

~ Some really great music and films this year… Looking forward to so much more of that, for sure, in 2015!

 

 

What I learned in 2014…

IMG_0377As we pull up to the end of what has become one of the worst, (if not THE WORST) years in my 38 years of life, I thought I’d take a moment to share the lessons I’ve learned over these twelve months. I’ll be linking up over at Emily P. Freeman’s blog Chatting at the Sky.

– Being at your daughter’s wedding is a roller coaster of emotions that I don’t think any mother can really be prepared for. {at least this one wasn’t}

– I’m pretty ok with being a grandma at 38 to my daughter’s awesome new sons.

– Just because a large majority of people believe something is the easy way out does not make it so.

– Wearing a swimming suit, in a pool, that is now several sizes too big for you is inadvisable. (VERY, VERY inadvisable.)

– also inadvisable, when you have finicky hair like mine, is changing shampoos when you have one you really love. Big, BIG mistake…

– That my people are my everything, and when something scary, tragic, devastating or sad happens to one of them it may as well happen to me.

– A champagne massage is possibly how I want to celebrate every single milestone ever. Heaven.

– I suddenly hate cheese. And anything that has recently associated with cheese. And yogurt…

– That I have a STRONG dislike of granite countertops.

– That I will probably never be the daughter my mother wants me to be, that she will hate everything I enjoy and there is nothing I can do to control that.

– Likewise, I will likely never the person my kids want me to be. I’m trying to be ok with this too…

– no amount of passion, love or effort guarantees results/success.

– chasing people is only fun and affective when you’re under the age of 9, and on a playground.

– Being a writer is hard. Way harder than I perceived in 2013 and DEFINITELY more so than 2012.

– Podcasting is awesome.

– Churches in the area we live in now are seriously different from the other 8 states I’ve lived, and not different in a good way. It’s a major disappointment that our family is trying to reconcile with.

– I’ve grown to dislike moving, but worse is this 5 month purgatory of moving to who-knows-where…

– Friends can say some mean, crappy and insensitive things. Some friends say they’ll be there and never show up at all, (see: Chasing people above) but people are human and flawed. That’s ok. Step back, reevaluate. Some relationships are worth sticking it out, some are worth cutting them go…

– game nights are the best. Like mini-vacations, leaving your worries behind for a bit.

– I like less tv than ever. Sitting there too long drives me crazy.

– Newark New Jersey is like a completely different world than NYC, despite their close proximity.

– eloquently penned (& pinned) quotes and sayings on Pinterest are not always based in truth or healthy, even when if they may stir your heart to read.

– Some people live really nasty, and are completely unaware. We’ve walked through so many homes with our realtor that were absolute disgusting…

– lastly, I don’t need a fancy house or fancy stuff. I just want a home that is warm, peaceful and has a yard for my dogs, room enough for the bed I share with my husband and a room big enough for our dining room table to hold all our family…

home sweet home…

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We imagined a rural Wisconsin Christmas scene at our older daughter Amanda’s home as a holiday landscaped with snow and all of those country, winterish things which make Christmas feel like Christmas. Ironically, while our Idaho home is once again plagued with horrible roads and more inclement weather, the midwest remained sunny (minus enough morning rain to create mud), blue skied and very un-Christmassy.

Underneath the surface though, we drivers weren’t complaining much.

I’ve never been much of a waiter. It isn’t that I’m incapable of being patient, it’s more that I am wired to be proactive. Maybe it’s learned to emotionally rely on myself earlier than I should have, I don’t know. When something needs to happen, my instinct (and trust me when I say, it’s a fighting instinct) is to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

In July we took the leap to buy a house and move my mom here, from New Mexico, to live with us. She isn’t in the best health and as time passes, gets less and less capable of living alone. We have good credit, good income and good employment. Though we were VERY hesitant to buy a home (EVER) after we lost one in ’07 when the economy tanked in Michigan, we moved forward with this plan because it’s necessary and frankly it’s the right thing to do.

When Chw and I first married, back in 1994, we were unbelievably broke and incredibly naive. We had grown up in very opposite worlds and neither of us had been taught much about the real world or how to be a successful adult in it. We knew nothing about paying bills, managing money, budgeting, maintaining a household, etc. That being said, we have never gone without steady income, never been on government assistance (except for a short period on WIC), never been evicted, never had a utility turned off… These are things we are really proud of. This does not make us better than anyone else. Had one tiny fragment of a detail been different and any one of those things could’ve been another story. It wasn’t easy, and for a long time every single one of those things was a “barely” sort of thing…

When we got married, one thing we VOWED together, above anything else was that we would always open our home if someone needed it. We were unanimous in this, even though it was vowed out of a youthful naivety and passion without much common sense we realize now. That being said, we’ve held true to that. Over the past 20 years we have shared our home with 21 others. We never went looking for them, and we’ve never said “no”. So, of course, when the conversation regarding my mother came up, the decision was made. We were living in a 3 story brownstone and my disabled mother could never even visit us here (if her health were better) so we knew we’d have to move. We never imagined it would become the going-on-six-month nightmare it has been.

A couple of weeks ago we found our 3rd house opportunity. It was perfect (the perfect houses that suit my mom’s needs are very rare) but the owners aren’t willing to sell with our contingencies. That evening, after we were feeling hopeless with that disappointment, my mother fell at her home and lay on her porch for two hours in the cold. The market here hasn’t fully recovered yet and it’s grim. Had we known before we begun this journey that we’ve already lost so much money in, we could have begun it differently. Now it feels very much like the sand in our hour-glass is running out and ever corner we turn is a dead-end. Our realtor is a saint, but between you and me, we are tired and these months and months of stress have taken ugly tolls in our lives.

And then, we spent Christmas in Wisconsin. Both of our daughters together, there with Amanda’s family, and it was lovely. For blips of time we didn’t have to think about any of it. There was swimming, roller skating, gifts, ice cream, little boy laughter and hugs. It was blissful…

Walking in the door of our temporary home yesterday felt like a ten-ton weight crushed us. Tears filled me and I realized I just can’t go through this much longer. I’ve tried to stay pretty quiet here, because this nightmare has consumed everything and I didn’t want to rant about it. If you are a finger crosser, prayer, wisher, dreamer, hoper or positive energy sharer- I’ll take what you are willing to share…