Life · Uncategorized

A stepping stone…

This week was not ideal.

Long story short, the company I love and work for lost the pitch to keep the business in my area.

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt; that I didn’t take it really personally; that my eyes don’t hurt from crying/trying not to cry; that I don’t feel a little betrayed; that I’m not angry, disappointed, and a little scared.

Leading up to this pitch and Co-op vote, I found and lived my every day repeating this prayer:

God, I know I am impatient, so prone to worrying, to giving up, to losing hope. Help me to rest in Your promises today. In this season of waiting, renew my joy in this moment so that I do not miss Your presence in this place. Thank You for being with me and for never giving up on me. Thank You for always working for my good and for Your glory even when I can’t see. In Jesus’ name, Amen

It’s a good one. A really good one for me, as I have a bad habit of throwing myself into a worry or stress and neglecting to recognize the light and blessings all around it.

“In this season, renew my joy in this moment that I do not miss Your presence in this place”

My joy. His Presence. In this moment.

Here in this place. Here in this situation.

For my good. For His glory.

From here, I vow to focus on three things:

  1. God has a perfect plan for me; a beautiful plan far beyond my comprehension and likely so much bigger than anything I could ever dream up. I’ve been reminded of this on repeat over my last 28 years. I’ve cried over an embarrassing number of things that, looking back, were stepping stones on the way to something much more amazing. God has a plan. And I will trust Him to see it through in me. I will be open to His guidance and I will not doubt His direction for me.
  2. My people … (pause: thankful-crying) … my people are amazing. In response to my bad news yesterday (and really in response to my stress levels leading up to it), my people overwhelmed me with love, encouragement, support, “we‘ll figure it out”s, leads, comfort, prayers, and in one case, tulips and icecream.  I’ve said it a lot that I have terrible luck – and it’s true that wild and sometimes unfortunately things are often happening to me – but having the people I do in my life; people I love and who love me (and so well), easily makes me a very very… very lucky girl. Luckiest in the world, really.
  3. Perspective. Hurricanes are crashing into islands; crushing homes and changing lives. People are being diagnosed with Cancers. Others are starving. Families are watching loved ones suffer. Women are losing children. Children are losing parents.  …I lost a job/business account… How so very lucky and blessed I am that this is my “suffering.”

Thank You for always working for my good

and for Your glory even when I can’t see.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

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Life · Thoughts

To my grandmother, as she forgets…

I don’t know much about Alzheimers/Dementia – in fact, I know nothing more than how difficult it is to watch and experience alongside someone you love…

I am blessed to have close relationships with both my immediate and extended family. My parents, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and I have spent a number of memorable and amazing vacations, holidays, events, and visits together throughout my almost-28 years and I can say with complete confidence and conviction that my family, both immediate and extended, takes number one in my life: my number one blessing and my number one favorite thing.

I have two grandparents here still (and wonderful-solid memories of the 18-25 years with the two that are doing their thing in heaven now).

My grandparents, Granne and Pop / Anne and Ray, have been married for 61 years; they have 3 children, 3 married-in-children, 6 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren, and a Katie (a beloved Shih Tzu / dog-child). These facts have been my grandmother’s favorite things to tell people. Whether they be new friends, old friends, pastors, nail technicians, receptionists, waitresses, bartenders, or janitorial staff; if they’ve crossed paths with my grandmother, they know she has been married for 61 years… has 3 children, 3 married-in-children, 6 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren, and a Katie.

Growing up, I have to admit I sometimes shrunk from the long family rundown she’d do for strangers… but now my grandmother is starting to forget… and thinking on it now, on her repeatedly listing us as the first thing she wanted someone (anyone, everyone) to know about her… that love… I can’t help but want that repeat-rundown back…

Dear Granne, 

Granne, I can’t even imagine what you’re going through right now. I know you’re forgetting some things and, it seems to me at least, you’re starting to forget them faster these days. I know that the things happening in your life don’t make sense to you; it’s hard to keep track of events, people, and timelines and as a result, some of your behaviors aren’t “you” anymore. I know you fight them. I know you want to be strong; to be yourself and to be who you’ve always been for all of us. I know you’re scared, Granne. Who could blame you?

Here’s the thing though, Granne… you don’t have to be scared (and as I’ll explain, neither do we).

You married an amazing man 61-years ago; our beloved Pop, a man who, no matter how hard it gets, no matter the challenge, no matter the drama or the controversy, chooses you; who never wavers on the words, “she’s my girl” in the face of the fight.

You brought three people up in this crazy world; taught them to work hard, to care for one another, to love other people, to have faith, to be strong, to laugh at themselves, and to give back… and they married three people who do the same.

Your three (turned six) people, brought more people into the world and taught them (us!) to work hard, to care for one another, to love other people, to have faith, to be strong, to laugh at ourselves, and to give back.

You see Granne, you created and trained your own team; a team of people who were taught the qualities that a good life requires; the qualities that are especially required now. These people… your people… love you, will take care of you, look out for you, cheer you on, and fight for what’s best for you.

Here’s the other thing Granne, you also taught us to do all these things for each other. We’ll travel through life loving each other, taking care of each other, looking out for each other, cheering each other on, and fighting for what’s best for one another. 

You don’t have to be scared for you and you don’t have to be scared for us – because you gave us the gift of each other – which, I have to say, is my very favorite thing. 

As you start to forget, Granne, we don’t want you to worry; we won’t. We’ll hold on to the memories that you may not always be able to recall.

We’ll hold on to Charleston, Folly, Seabrook… your “pink house and purple car,” your shrimp and grits, your giant Christmas tree, your mac-n-cheese recipe…

We’ll hold on to the recitals, concerts, tournaments, games, graduations, and weddings you were at… the dances we’ve danced, the games we’ve played, the fun and laughs we’ve had…

We’ll hold on to your strength, your determination, your southern sass, your protective nature, your family-focus, and your ability to chug a frozen margarita in 3 seconds flat…

We’ll hold on to the memories and stories of the parties you had, the friendships you cultivated, the people you helped, the places you’ve seen, the support you’ve provided, the amazing wife/mother/grandmother you’ve been, and the endless love you continue to give… even as life changes around you.

Granne, it’s going to be different, but it’s going to be okay. We are a forever-team. You are not alone. You don’t have to be scared… we’ve got this… because we’ve always had you.

So much appreciation, respect, and love forever and ever and ever.

L

Stories

Faith at 40,000 ft.

Truth: I’ve been gone so long that I couldn’t remember what I had named this blog – couldn’t remember what email address I used, what password I chose… none of the usuals worked …I started worrying I was turning into my grandmother, who couldn’t remember her password even if her password was “password” and was written on a sticky note on her desk. (I love you Granne… I don’t think you read this but if you do… well, you’ll forget.)

So, I jumped through the “Contact us” hoops and here I am! I fought my way back in.

Life is going so disgustingly amazingly well for me lately, there’s not enough wood in the world to knock on to talk about it so I won’t. I will say, mom is always right.

A good quick story instead?

My new (too good to be true) job includes some traveling (which I looooove) and a few weeks ago, I flew to Lexington, Kentucky.

On the way back home to Richmond, I sat next to a 40ish year old man on his very first airplane. Originally, I was annoyed. He was slightly larger, I had been delayed all day, had been sitting in airport floors, and I just wanted to shut my window and read my book.

And honestly, that’s what I did for the first 30 minutes. I’m ashamed now, knowing that this man had never seen the Earth from 40,000 feet and my being a brat deprived him of that as we ascended.

As soon as this man turned to me though, I could feel his positive spirit. He told me about his family; how jealous his kids were that he was flying as no one in his family ever had; about his job and his church and how he was flying to Chicago to pick up a truck to drive back down to Mississippi. I threw my window up (a lesson in how spoiled I am and how thankful I should be) and invited him to lean over to take pictures… which he very quickly did, with more excitement than a kid on Christmas.

We hit a little air pocket and he looked over at me with a little panic on his sweet face and so I said, “No worries! Happens all the time! Haha, I think we both know we’d get to go somewhere better anyway though” (y’all know my heaven-obsession). He agreed, repeating that he was God’s man; he always knows who he belongs too, who he’s with, and where he’s going. We talked about that for just a few minutes before I went back to my book and he back to admiring the plane and the window view.

About twenty minutes later, the young man in front of us turned around and said, “excuse me, do y’all really believe all that stuff?” And before I could say a word, this sweet man beside me, on his very first flight, leaned forward and said, “Brother… let me tell you…”, locked in and didn’t so much as glance out the window again as he beautifully shared the reassurance and love found in his (our) Faith to this young man.

ALL the tears.

God is SO good, am I right?

 

Quick thoughts

Tossing and turning…

Ughhhh, I can’t sleep.

For the last two hours, I have been staring at the ceiling; racking my brain, reliving conversations and events, tearing myself apart, and challenging God; telling Him what I want when He knows what I need.

Do you ever feel like you’re fighting for your Faith? Like… I KNOW God is with me. I KNOW He has a plan for me. I KNOW He goes before me. I KNOW he will not let me down. And I KNOW He is on my side.

…but honestly and shamefully, sometimes on nights like these when I should easily and trustingly give it all up to Him and go to sleep; I don’t. Instead I lie awake hurting and doubting Him and His plan. I know it’s terrible and I know it’s a waste, because I know – and I know I know – all of the above things and that when morning rolls around I’ll feel more grounded and be back on track.

…the devil sneaks around at night. That’s what I think. Planting insecurities and doubts in the darkness. He has a hold of me tonight …he had a hold of me tonight…

Because I know my God is here.

I know He is always here.

I know He has a hand on my shoulder.

I know He is guiding my life.

I know I am loved and blessed and in good hands.

And I know that these nights end.

And that the sun will come up tomorrow.

And He will still be here.

Despite my arguing with Him for the last 2 hours, He will still be here.

Forgiving, all-knowing, all-seeing, unconditionally loving…

  

Get some sleep …I’m talking to myself but you too! Sweet dreams.

Quick thoughts

It’s dark under there.

Today I climbed under my desk. It’s always tempted me. The little corner back there. After my Unhinged post yesterday, I drafted a post about adult temper tantrums. And about how sometimes when I’m having a tough day, I have to put my hands flat on my desk and remind myself that I’m a grown up and that I can’t crawl under it to escape. It’s been beckoning me ever since because I’m on day 3 or 4 (or 8 or 9) of “tough day.”

So I did it. I just decided I had to know if it’d be as comforting as it looked.

And you know what, it kind of was. But then I realized that I’m almost 27 years old, that I have a career in my studied field, that I’m healthy, that I have a lot to offer, that I have an overwhelmingly amazing family, that I have more genuine/loyal/loving friends than I can even count, that I have the unconditional love of the Creator of Life who has personally planned a life for me and who walks me through it every second of every day… and that I’m having a relatively good hair-day.

So, I reached back up on my desk, under deskgrabbed my phone, and took this awkward little selfie to look back on as one of my low-points; sitting under my desk selfishly acting like I have more things to escape from than things to be living passionately, devotedly, aggressively, faithfully, and excitedly for. Silly me.

I’d love to effortlessly live each second of the day remembering all of this. I don’t (yet). I can go from 100% confident and trusting of my life path, to nearly-hyperventilating over things that may not even happen; paying for hurricane insurance in the desert “just in case”.

I’m working on it. Slowly but surely and with the help of lots of patient and forgiving people (who probably secretly want to strangle me) and a God who listens to me repeat myself over and over again. But “we’re” working on it.

I’m not going to let myself crawl under my desk again. Unless I need a nap. It is pretty dark under there.

Quick thoughts

Please still love me…

Good morning, good morning, good morning! I’ve had a lot of coffee this morning – which isn’t super out of the norm but today is my last day of coffee for the next 10 days.

I’m trying to really commit myself to “being better.” I want to be better at everything. Better in my faith, better with my time, better in my career, in better health, a better friend, a better daughter, a better sister … the list goes on.

One of my coworkers is an Advocare-fanatic and she’s been trying to convince me to see what happens on the 10-day-cleanse. The $70 10-day-cleanse. So. I’ve invested the money and now I have to invest the time.

I don’t know how much you know about this bad-boy but it’s not going to be easy. Among other (less important things to me), you have to give up coffee and wine (alcohol)… for 10 whole days.

So… let’s find out what kind of person I really am…

…please still love me.