Tag Archives: journey

Lumping the Goals

Its is past mid-October. The earth keeps spinning and moving on its track at a speed I can hardly handle. Hours roll into days, weeks, months. They pass.

The last goal-specific post I wrote chronicled July’s achievements. August and September have had to fend for themselves. I wonder, if you work on the goals and don’t blog about them, was any progress made? Consider this a lumping together of August through October, even though October is not quite over. It is a good-faith post.

August found me back in the classroom for what I lovingly call My fourth year of a two-year stint. Year four has finally given me a groove, and the students and teachers I work with are the best. They make the days a joy and an adventure. Every day is full.

September found me on a flight to Seattle for the first of four sessions at The Allender Center at the Seattle School. I return in November, January, and March, which itself is a huge goal in the midst of being realized. For all who ask What will you do with your certificate when you are finished? that is an excellent question, and one I am fully considering.

Those are the two big events that I credit for the lack of time to blog about all of the smaller ones that have been happening.

I am still in the Bible daily. Jeremiah, I Timothy, Psalms, and Proverbs are where God meets me these mornings. I try to journal then and take time to be still. Steve and I pray together.

Connecting with family and the kids happens regularly. I am especially intentional about grabbing time with child four before he leaves the country at the end of November. Quality time with him looks like moments in the kitchen or around the table or in his almost-finished-but-moved-into room. We have taken walks together downtown. Celebrating his eighteenth birthday as a family at Wood Grill Buffet was a milestone.

As to the other kiddos, I have not been faithful about writing down the specifics of what we have done, but fall coffee drinks have been gotten, dog walks taken, shopping for clothes or desired objects has happened, and projects worked on together. Quality time is always a work in progress.

Steve and I still keep our Wednesday nights open for date night. We also try to grab as many walks together as possible and moments on the porch for coffee or a glass of wine. We know we need to do more and be more intentional about planning out our time. We continue to fight for what we know we need which is to be present together.

Connections with friends have looked like phone calls or coffee dates. I went to an overnight women’s retreat at my church with Angela. Impromptu connections with other friends have been sweet. Fun is still hard for me to come by and engage in, but I am working on it. This season of study is teaching me more about myself and my style of relating.

Stephen Ministry and worship team continue to be engaging. I have participated in both as much as possible and even got a bonus turn to sing on team as a substitute. That was a sweet gift. I updated the Stephen Ministry bulletin board for fall, as well.

Financially, we keep chugging along, and God keeps providing for all of our needs. Some ways are predictable like through the paychecks we receive for the work that we do. Others are more surprising and unexpected, like through the minor car accident that was not our fault but will replace the Jetta. In all cases we are humbled and blessed by our father’s provision.

Finally, writing. Moments like now, inopportune and hurried, are when it happens. I try to make time by taking it from somewhere seemingly less important and have kept up with the Red Tent submissions. August and September’s posts were published. As for my own blog, the number of new posts are fewer than I would like but are exactly what they need to be in this season.

To all who continue to faithfully read and engage my blog and life endeavors, thank you for your interest and care. You bless me greatly, and I hope you are blessed! Here’s to finishing out an amazing year!

Scenes From Seattle, part 1

Because I have used up my 1,000 words, here are some pictures.

welcomeNothing says Welcome like chocolate. And an owl lamp.

restMy cozy resting place. I slept like a baby. Or maybe like a 2 year old. Either way, it was lovely.

img_5323The laptop I barely opened in the corner I loved.

img_5324Redemption truly does come in the strangest of places.

morning walkWalking to school.

walkingGetting closer.

The Seattle SchoolMy place.

coloringSo glad I decided to forgo packing all of the books and brought the colored pencils instead.

attachmentTaking notes in blue.

groupWhat I can share about group.

img_5340The ferry that I didn’t ride but watched come and go.

RestaurantChowder.

img_5347The precious people who loved me so very well all weekend. I love them.

img_5348Now I see my children not only in baristas, servers, and valets but also in street musicians. Of course I put money in the can in exchange for the picture!

Just What I Need

Departure was difficult. Waves of sadness crashed over me when I let them. All morning an eight-year-old girl stole moments to sidle up to my desk and press herself into me, looking up with big, sad eyes.

I’m going to miss you.

I’ll miss you, too, Little One.

It’s hard for me to fathom being missed, but I believe it from the comments and conversations overheard at home and school. I choose to believe it in the midst of unbelief.

I will also miss.

Saying goodbye to my love triggers deep, deep feelings, long buried, yet tapping me on the shoulder for attention. Painful goodbyes and long distance separation belong to our story. My well-crafted walls, once easy to put up, are beginning to crack.

I purposely chose an airport away from a metropolis with lots of people and traffic. The smooth hour and forty minute drive south allows me time to think.

Starbucks’ Chile Mocha doesn’t rival Shenandoah Joe’s Aztec, but it’s not bad. I bless my husband for his encouragement to drive through Starbucks and for giving me money to try this new seasonal drink.

Self care looks like stopping to use the restroom when I have to. Baby steps. Not gonna lie. I go inside.

The airport is quiet and empty. Security is a breeze. I sit and wait.

Now I can allow my mind to fully unwind and wander. It goes right to the earbuds I forgot to borrow from my husband. I choose to use money gifted by my inlaws for snacks to buy a pair.

The music pumping into my ears throughout the flight makes every dime of that purchase worth it.

Flight one is late. My smooth plan is hitting a snag, and countless checkings of my connecting flight information is not speeding this flight up a bit. I keep checking.

Prop planes are another part of my story. Lots of puddle jumping. Still the loud rattle outside of my window is jarring.

Why does it feel like a lawn mower is pushing me up into the sky? I focus on pressing my back into the seatback and imagine I am getting a massage.

Wednesday is chapel day. Was I really just sitting in chapel with my class this morning singing Good, Good Father? It is not lost on me that the worship song Mr. C chose for this month has been another thing preparing my heart for the road ahead.

It is work to truly believe my Father’s goodness, and that He knows just what I need, even if it is uncomfortable or hard.

It’s hard to sit on a late flight and wonder where the connecting gate will be in the airport. It’s hard to think that just what I need could involve missing it.

And that would be okay.

There is a level of tension and expectancy as we crowd the aisle waiting to funnel off of the plane and wait for our carry-on bags. This is why the flight attendant firmly admonishes us that under no circumstances are we to go beyond the propellers.

I want to dash back and grab my bag and run into the airport to find my gate. Instead I wait like everyone else until the cart wheels up. All of us have places to be. Mine is gate B4. I am in concourse E.

Grateful for my daily Dewey workouts, I begin the dash. And dash it is. And focus.

You know just what I need. . .

You’re a good, good Father. . .

I am loved by you.

The words set my pace.

It takes an eternity and several moving sidewalks to traverse concourse E and try to locate B. It draws closer as other letters branch off and shops begin to appear.

Piano music fills the air as concourse B comes into view. A young man sits at a grand piano playing.

My ears hone in on the tune in disbelief. It really can’t be.

Can it?

I want to stop and fumble through my bag for my wallet to dig out some cash to drop in the tip jar if there is one. Is there a tip jar? I have no time. I must get to gate B4. I must stop in the restroom.

I offer up a prayer of blessing, instead. It’s all I can do.

I arrive at my gate just as standbys are being called.

My bag must be checked, and I surrender it at the end of the ramp before boarding. I breathe my way onto the plane.

Sinking into the window seat, I allow the tears to roll down my face.

Dear Young Man playing Good, Good, Father on the piano in the Charlotte Airport,
Thank you for the gift of worship in the chaos of travel. Through you, the Father gave me just what I needed to get to my plane on time. May the God who sees in secret reward you openly.

Before

It’s the last night before. Tomorrow begins the first leg of the journey to after.

It seems that I should have really profound posts written and scheduled, but I just don’t. I have a suitcase almost packed and a satchel almost packed and a stack of cards and thoughtful gifts left by dear ones walking this road with me.

There are memories, so many, being made with the people in this house who need me more than cyberspace needs me. So instead of writing I drive through DQ and McD’s and take Dewey on an extra-long, three squat walk with the littlest girls.

I walk our downtown streets at sunset with a son who towers over me, a bag of Windy City Mix popcorn shared between us. We talk and reminisce of how this journey began to come into focus for me, and his key role, because he had one. His excitement for me offers courage to my fainting heart. His upcoming travels around the world remind me that I can do these trips across the country.

Messages come in from children and friends on social media sites. People remember that this is the first trip, and they care.

I am shocked and overwhelmed by care.

So many people are loving, praying, encouraging.

It is so humbling.

I am so blessed.

So I hit publish on this to give you a quick glimpse into before before spending time with my favorite. He is the one I will miss the most, who is working so hard and doing so much to support me and make this year of training happen.

Did I say how blessed I am?

Nine Years

We’ll start with that next time, my counselor says, indicating that this time is up.

Pushing off with his feet, rolling in his chair to a desk in the corner, setting up next week’s appointment, I am left sitting on the couch with that statement. Beside me, my husband tries offering a reassuring presence in the form of his comforting smile and nod, but I am having none of it.

At thirty-six years of age, it took every ounce of courage to speak the place where trauma, pain, and betrayal hijacked me as a teenager. This time. My counselor is calling me deeper. Next time.

My breathing grows shallow, and blood runs cold as ice through my veins. The trick of dissociating by numbing out and viewing myself from a distance begins to take over. Noticing this, Counselor checks in and rolls from his desk to the expansive bookshelves lining the wall. Scanning them in earnest, he searches.

I am afraid to ask, though had he told me, I could have located the volume first, having become an expert at focusing on those titles and authors behind him while trying to stay grounded during sessions.

Here it is. You need to get a copy of this book to read.

He does not offer to give it to me or let me borrow it. I cannot take it home today. I have to get it for myself. Later.

Taking it into my hands, glancing at the image on the cover while simultaneously reading the title and subtitle, draws copious tears that I struggle to sniff back, but they morph into full-blown sobs, betraying my stoic facade. I cannot hide the fear and terror evoked by the simple act of holding this book.

What’s wrong? Why the tears?

Counselor’s gruff bedside manner does not mask his concern, as he gently prods my pain, following the trail I am leaving.

I don’t want to look at my story! I hate everything about my story!

This visceral response is gut-wrenchingly real. His response to my outburst is kind. He affirms something about my story having value, etc. . . I am not in a place to hear or believe him, but I know that since he has recommended To Be Told ~ God Invites You to Coauthor Your Future by Dan Allender with my husband in the room, the book will show up at our house.

Anything to help me, to fix this, my husband of fifteen years will do.

The book arrives, and I reluctantly begin reading. It feels too big and too much to think of actually writing out and sharing parts of my story to process with others, as recommended, yet I am intrigued by lines such as this, Neither your life nor mine is a series of random scenes that pile up like shoes in a closet. (To Be Told, p. 3)

I am shattered. Undone. Curious.

Nine years later. . .

It would be easier and tidier to write ten years later, but an honest time frame says nine.

Nine years have passed since that original scene of facing what was terrible, traumatic, and unspoken in my heart. I am forty-five years old, mid-forties, still processing and in process. I am in a healthier place of healing and growth. Redemption has come knocking on my door, and I have chosen to bravely open up to it, in all of its scary, strange, disruptive glory.

Growth has not been easy. It has taken much time and courage. There are still painful places in my story to visit and name. I have been living life in the meantime; a life large, messy, and full of its own trauma, trial, and error. Life stops for no one.

Nine years ago, I was married for 15 years and had seven children ranging in age from 15 to 1. Little Mae, the surprising finale to our family, was not even on my radar. Now I have half of an empty nest, with four children living at home and four living life on their own.

Nine years ago I was 36. So young. I felt so old.

Dear thirty-something struggling with your role in your story, it is not over. It is not all written. There is hope. Investigating the shoe pile-up in your closet is worth it. You do not need to struggle alone. Find someone to help you find your brave.

Nine years later, I have had time to process and to practice new skills. I have learned more words for finding my feelings and speaking my reality. I have had people sit with and support and guide and encourage me. I have had time to sit with others.

Not everyone is called to this journey a friend once told me, as I wrestled and struggled and questioned and cried, every fiber in me wanting to go back to what was.

Nine years ago, I could not have known the role that the book To Be Told and the work of its author would play in my life. I could only take it in hand, take courage to read, and keep moving forward.

Now, I am not looking back, unless it’s to help me move forward.

On My Heart

It’s raw and it’s real.

I recently searched flight after flight to Seattle in September. Trying to hold onto summer, I was simultaneously preparing for fall.

There’s something about information overload and hundreds and thousands of flights and choices of airports and airlines and times of departure and arrival. There’s something about window after window opening up on screen and all of the airport codes blurring together that makes me want to yell, STOP!

I question the blur. Is it my forty-five-year-old eyes or just looking at a computer screen for an extended length of time?

I question my heart. Is this really a good idea? Really worth it?

I know that it is. Even when everything surrounding the planning and stirring inside feels really big. No turning back, now.

Just days ago my heart was encouraged by two friends independent of, and unknown to, each other. One came to drop something by. The other came for coffee.

At the end of the day, my heart was richer, my education fund fuller, and my dining room prettier with a new way I had arranged the plants, one of which was a gift.

Just days ago, friends dropped by a stash of bread, various types, because they thought we could use it. We can. The growing kids in this house are many, and there is always room for toast.

At the end of the day, the kids were fuller, the freezer was fuller, and the bread drawer was fuller. All gifts.

I know this is the right year. The time to do this work is now. There is kindness within the raw and the real, and I don’t have to look far to find it.

Provision

I am resting in it. Confident that what has been started will be completed, this is where I talk about how God is faithfully supplying my needs and wants and making a way for me to get to Seattle four times during the upcoming school year.

I asked my friend Angela to close out the Go Fund Me account this week. After being open for a month, it reached $935, thanks to many generous friends and family members. $2,435 came in off-line in the form of gift checks, birthday money, and creative saving.

I appreciate the awareness  that the Go Fund Me account brought to my desire and also the boost that it gave to my educational savings account. I also appreciate the fact that I am able-bodied and can work to make and save money to add to the amount. I feel abundantly blessed and encouraged that so many took an interest in a longing and dream of mine and felt led to offer financial support to help make it happen.

At the same time, I know that there are many other needs in our circles and communities, and it seemed like the right time to end a formal fund-raising campaign once I knew that there would be enough to cover tuition expenses. Travel and lodging will fall into place. Those are the next steps to take.

Some of you have asked or been curious about how funding is going and how to help. If you wish to contribute, or were planning to before I closed out the account, you can still write a check directly to me. I will deposit any donations into into my education fund account. 

I hope to keep the blog updated with progress on a monthly basis. At this time I have $3,370 set aside in an account for the $4,000 tuition that will be due over the course of the year. I plan to continue to add to that with money that Steve and I budget and that I raise or earn in other ways. Travel expenses will come from that. I have contacts in Seattle willing to help with housing if dates and times line up.

To all of my blog subscribers who received the preemptive note to self that was accidentally published, this is the post you were looking for. Not this.

In God’s kind timing, however, I needed to read that post as I wavered and waffled on the VBS fence, yet again this year. I am constantly surprised by the way He works. I plan to do preschool kid-vid again.

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