Life · Thoughts

…Gentleness and Self-control.

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last wrote; I also can’t believe that I’m not coming with a funny / embarrassing story for my first post back in so long (there have certainly been many).

Instead, I come as an attempt at self-soothing, as lately I find myself walking around with anger and frustration in my heart that I can’t even pinpoint.

All the amazing blessings in my life (and trust me, they’re abundant) are being lost in this emotion; a black hole in the pit of my stomach that swallows them up. That sounds dramatic, but I’m afraid that’s just honest. I’ve felt like I couldn’t even take a full deep breath lately.

This morning I remembered a video I watched recently where Priscilla Shirer dives into the fact that the Devil is not only real, but is actively at work tempting us, planting frustrations in us, placing doubt in us, stirring up our emotions, toying with our relationships …scheming against us. She paraphrases the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6 by saying “Come on y’all, pull back the curtain and let the enemy know ‘we’ve got our eyes on you.'”

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” – Ephesians 6:10-11

…The Devil and I had a talk this morning. Or rather, I insisted the Devil listen to me. I will not be toyed with any longer. I will not have the strings of my emotions pulled. I will not allow myself to feel overly angry with the people I love. I will not let my frustrations at work overshadow the joys of my life. I’m done with the Devil, the enemies, the negativity, the self-doubt, and uncontrolable emotions.

Not only am I exhausted by it all and at the end of my rope, but I am God’s child. I am a women of God. I am a reflection of God for the people around me.

Now let’s be real. Those are some bold statements and while I am all of these things, I’m also “only human” (one with God by my side, but still). So, where do I start?

While Priscilla Shirer’s sermon goes on to talk about Ephesian’s reference to the 6 Pieces of Armor, I’ve decided to start with the Fruits of the Spirit.

When I feel frustrated, emotional, angry, unreasonable… I’ve vowed to slow down, to take a deep breath, to remind myself of the qualities I want/have; the qualities that God claims; the qualities that I can use to fight the Devil’s interferences in my life…

“But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23

When a client has me stressed and is being unreasonable…

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

When I feel disappointed with decisions/actions made by others…

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

When I start picking apart my relationships…

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

When I start picking apart myself…

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

 

I am committed to being stronger in the fight. The curtain is pulled back and “I’ve got my eye on you.”

 

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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 · Uncategorized

We’ve been best friends forever darling… that’s what’s up

I don’t have much to say today… I have a crazy (hilarious in retrospect) story to report next week but it’s Friday and I just can’t today.

So…

I know I’m super behind the hype, but I only recently jumped on Lennon and Maisy’s YouTube Page, and let me tell you – I am now obsessively hooked. Holy smokes! They’re so talented and adorable (Lennon’s only a few years younger than me so I don’t know that it’s really appropriate for me to refer to her as “adorable” but nevertheless…). I love the way they look at each other, such sweet sibling love.

This has become my new favorite, as I’ve watched it like 10 times this week. Check it out and have an awesome Valentine’s Weekend.

Quick thoughts · Thoughts

We’ll call this one hypothetical…

So, I’m sitting at my desk laughing out loud at the evil brilliance that daily sits in my head but never escapes the confines of my imagination.

We’ll call this entire thing hypothetical…

Let’s say, hypothetically, you had been dating someone. And because of the time spent together, you had logged his devices into your Pandora account… because you have the paid account and so you don’t have to listen to any commercials, and duh, that’s just a dating courtesy.

Let’s say, again hypothetically, that dating said-person didn’t end super well. Or rather, it just never really got the ending / reworking of the relationship that it deserved (deserves*)… which feels worse than “didn’t end super well” …or, you know, it would feel worse, if this wasn’t all hypothetical…

Ahem.

Let’s say that now, with a little hurt still sittin’ in your heart, when you log in to your Pandora account, occasionally there’s a new station added to your list. Let’s go so far as to say that even though it stings a little, you end up liking the stupid station. Which is just, ugh… but you like it, damnit… you like it.

You don’t want to be petty and change your password and c’mon, you’re gaining some good new stations. Plus, you know that you’ll be friends again before too long and this will all be kind of funny…

Let’s say though, that you haven’t really gotten to speak your mind on it all… that the topic has been avoided…

Hypothetically.

WHAT IF you were to change all the stations to ones whose titles would speak your mind for you…

It wouldn’t be about the songs themselves… but about what this person saw when they clicked back into the app… Your own little force-you-to-read-me letter…

Ha. Haha. Ha.

If you were to do that, which you wouldn’t because you’re an adult and you really do have faith that the friendship will come back around, but if you were… wouldn’t it be funny…

(If your patience for my post is running thin, scroll down through this list, it’s worth it, I promise.)

  • There’s always that F/Forget You, Cee Lo song… which is just a little too intense, but the idea of it being on the list… pretty brilliant.
  • Same with that I Hate Everything About You, Three Days Grace song, not really applicable — to this hypothetical situation — but again, pretty funny.
  • I Heard It Through the Grape Vine, Marvin Gay
  • Rumor Has It, Adele
  • Burn, Usher
  • Cold As You, Taylor Swift
  • Hell On The Heart, Eric Church
  • You Give Love a Bad Name, Bon Jovi
  • Like a Wrecking Ball, Eric Church
  • You Must Be Out Of Your Mind, Magnetic Fields
  • Best Days of Your Life, Kellie Pickler
  • I Hate Myself For Loving You, Joan Jett
  • Whiskey and You, Chris Stapleton
  • You’re So Vain, Carly Simon
  • Go Your Own Way, Fleetwood Mac
  • Highway to Hell, ACDC
  • What Goes Around Comes Around, Justin Timberlake
  • Here’s a Quarter – Call Someone Who Cares, Travis Tritt
  • Gives You Hell, American Rejects
  • You’ll Think of Me, Keith Urban
  • Me, Myself, and I, Beyonce
  • I Don’t Care Anymore, Phil Collins
  • Better Man, Pearl Jam
  • Do My Thang, Miley Cirus
  • Peaceful Easy Feelin, The Eagles
  • Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, Bob Dylan
  • Irreplaceable, Beyonce
  • I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
  • Bye Bye Bye, The Backstreet Boys

Reading between the lines, one might get a little message like…

  • F/Forget YouI Hate Everything About You and you know what, I Heard It Through the Grape Vine that you’re seeing someone now and actually, Rumor Has It you were probably messin’ around anyways. But after everything we’ve been through? Ugh, Burn. I didn’t think someone could be as Cold As You. This has all been such Hell On The Heart and in turn, You Give Love a Bad Name. I feel like I got hit by, I don’t know, Like a Wrecking Ball but you know what? You Must Be Out Of Your Mind because those days with me were probably the Best Days of Your Life. As it turns out, you didn’t deserve them and for that, I Hate Myself For Loving You. Okay to be fair, I hate myself for loving Whiskey and You. But back to the point, You’re So Vain, I hope you just Go Your Own Way; maybe jump on the Highway to Hell. Remember that What Goes Around Comes Around but when it does Here’s a Quarter – Call Someone Who CaresI hope the next girl you date really Gives You Hell and I know that when she does, You’ll Think of Me but it’ll be too late because I’m looking out for Me, Myself, and I now and honestly I Don’t Care Anymore. I found me a Better Man and I’m just gunna Do My Thang from now on; that always gives me a Peaceful Easy Feelin. So really, Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright. I know I’m Irreplaceable and that I Will Survive so Bye bye bye.

bey-1

I’m just sayin’… that’d make for one hell of a “subtle” letter-style station list.

 

Quick thoughts · Uncategorized

Returning love…

I have about 8 posts sitting in my drafts box. Blogging is harder than I expected – there are some topics that seem to just pour out and others that I can’t seem to even remember words exist for.

Not too long ago, I wrote about how people had been unknowingly filling me up when I was feeling kind of low on fuel.

Well, as I’m sure you could guess after this post, and this post… I let myself get all empty and pathetic again. But again, my friends and family – some knowingly, some unknowingly – filled me right back up. I don’t deserve them; their dedication to me and my happiness, their patience with me when I’m being unreasonable, or their willingness to invest time and effort into putting me back together. But I love them more than words even exist for and I hope they know it through both my words and my actions.

Last time this happened, I posted some quotes from other people. I’ve always loved quotes; people’s different perspectives, feelings, and thoughts. I love it when they hit me like they’re my own.

So, in the name of returning love into the world, here are some of my recent favs (thank you Pinterest)…

Life · Uncategorized

Another cheesy “Dear Future Husband” post…

Dear Future Husband,

Here’s a few things that you should know… if you’re going to be my one and only all my liiiife(just kidding).

Really though… I miss you. Is that strange? To miss someone you haven’t met yet? It probably is but I do. I wish I could explain it.

I don’t really know where to start in writing this to you – only because there are so many things I want to say, so many things that have happened, so many things that make me who I am, so many things I want to share with you. Really I want to be with you now. I want to hear your laugh (warning, I’m pretty hilarious). I want to feel at home simply because you’re around.

Right now, specifically, I want to be comforted by you.

What about that, is that strange? Haha, wanting to be comforted by your future person?

You should know that I write this to you a little heartbroken again -okay, like pathetic can’t eat, can’t sleep, sick-feeling as soon as I open my eyes,  “little” heartbroken. I’ll bounce back, of course, but dating is so hard, isn’t it? Do you hate it as much as I do? I hate it, hate it. I’ll never understand why it can’t be easier… more honest, more reliable, more genuine, more intentional, more selfless. I’d love that; I like you – you like me, let’s watch TV and bake cookies or something equally lame and sweet and be in complete fearless bliss.

I’ve “wasted” time (the future me who knows you will say, “it wasn’t a waste, I understand now!”) dating guys who haven’t been nice to me, who have led me on and let me down. I’ve dated guys who have made me question if I’ll ever find you, if you’ll ever find me, if you even exist at all.

I’ve done a pathetic and embarrassing amount of crying through it all (you’ll learn I’m a crier)… and agonizing and worrying and stressing and doubting… I’ve been impatient and I haven’t trusted God the way that I should. Honestly, I guess I haven’t trusted you the way that I should and for that, I’m sorry.

At the end of every “relationship”/dating disaster, I’ve begged God for you. “Where is he? Why do I have to wait so long? Why does my wait hurt so bad? Send him to me! Make this stop!”

At which point, I’m sure God laughs at me; knowing exactly who you are, and where you are, and what you’re doing, and at what point our life paths meet, and why they haven’t yet.

I know He’s working on you like He’s working on me. And if you’re anything like me… well, I just know He’s had His work cut out for Him with me…

I’ve given Him hell, kicking and screaming, to learn important lessons. Slowly but surely though, with a lot of backup from a lot of amazing people, I’m learning them. I imagine that by the time we meet, they’ll be a solid part of who I am and I guess they’ll be a part of the reason we work. And I get that.

I’m learning how to be more resilient. I’ve been kind of a wimp leading up to this point.

I’m learning not to take anything for granted.

I’m learning how to really appreciate other people; their time, love,  dedication, needs, and spirit.

I’m learning how fast time goes by, and to embrace the people and things in it before it’s too late.

I’m learning that family is what really lasts.

I’m learning that there are some things that you just have to let go of. And that that’s okay.

I’m learning how to put my self-worth in real things instead of tangible ones.

I’m learning not to put my happiness at a finish line.

I’m learning that I like a little space – but I like to have a little reassurance in it.

I’m learning that I’m a hand-holder. Sorry.

I’m learning how to be patient. Okay, honestly I don’t know if I’m actively learning this one or being forced to learn it but I’m learning it. Very reluctantly.

I know that there is value in my wait, in your wait.  I know that God has planned you for me and me for you and that He has us on specific, intentional paths that will one day join. I like to think that you wonder about me and that day like I do sometimes.

In these tough parts, when I’m craving your presence, I remember that you’re out there… doing your thing, becoming who you’re supposed to be, working your way towards me. I’m comforted by the idea that when I meet you, all the feelings I thought I had for others won’t even compare and that I’ll appreciate you even more for it… and that that whole, “everything happens for a reason” thing will prove itself true.

I hope that during your tough days, it crosses your mind that I pray for you. I pray that you’re happy. I pray that you’re healthy. I pray that you’re surrounded by good people. I pray that you’re enjoying your life. I pray that you’re proud of who you are. I pray that you’re strong and resilient. I pray that you pray. I pray that you know you’re not alone. I pray that you have faith and confidence in who I’ll be to you one day. And I pray that you can fix things… because I can’t fix anything and I’m always breaking stuff!

I don’t write any of this to nag you or rush you or worry you. I guess all I’m trying to say is that I’m excited to meet you. I can’t wait to tell you how amazing you are. I can’t wait to make dinner with you (because you know, I only learned how to cook in my last couple of years) and buy you Christmas gifts (I love Christmas) and fight with you (sorry, I’ve never really fought with anyone so it might as well be someone I know is going to stick around) and meet your family (oh my gosh, you’ll love my family, they’re the best)… I can’t wait to laugh with you, and cry with you, and learn with you, and grow with you… I can’t wait to finally know you and to turn to God and say, “Okay, okay, I get it! This is why I had to wait a while, I’m sorry I gave You such a terrible hard time. It was so worth it.” And I know it will be.

Yours,

L

(ps. I think it’s adorable when grooms cry. Just sayin.)