lifestyle

Ordinary Day

February 21, 2017

“After all, I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything
splendid or wonderful or exciting happens. It’s just those that bring simple little pleasures,
following one another softly like pearls slipping off a string.”
“Anne” // L.M. Montgomery // Anne of Avonlea

    These ordinary days. I don’t see them as pearls often enough, with a beauty that is worth taking notice of every waking moment.
The pizzazz days, the excitement days, the anticipated arrival days; these are the days which get me to explode out of my bed with energy the morning of. Which is funny to think about because I’m a night owl, and energized mornings are not my thing. I’m proud of my night owl-ness and love sticking by it, but curiously I’ve noticed no matter how early the next day, if it’s an exciting one, you bet your boots I’ll be there with bells on. I can be early bird, but I gulp when I realize I’m a convenient early bird.

Today is worth getting up for.”  I excuse myself on one of these mornings.

This mentality of mine, it hit me like a brick. I view every day through this lens. This so easily is the ruler I measure the day with. A question mark waltzed it’s way into my brain at this point. . .

Isn’t every day worth getting up for, even the ordinary?  

Regardless of the “apparent” worth I label and smack on it before my feet skim the floor, is not every single day, vibrant or muted, worth it?
In my limited little clump of fluff, called my brain, I view people as an inconvenience instead of an opportunity. A busy day as just another one to get through instead of one to hug the breath out of. Wishing a normal day away just so I can get to the next most exciting one. Crossing that square off on my Rifle Paper Company calendar, without giving it a second’s reflection.

Aside from the true cliche that “Life is a gift” I need to grasp something more.

Every day doesn’t always look like a gift from the outside. It often comes in the package of driving the same trek to work for what seems like the millionth time that week, it looks like pressing or missed deadlines, scheduling conflicts, misunderstood conversations, heartfelt questions being unanswered, an ache in your beating heart to hug the neck of someone long distance. It’s unlaundered jeans and t-shirts, unswept floors, unkept landscaping (courtesy of February) that still isn’t checked off the to-do list from 2 months ago.

These are our ordinary lives. We stamp them as always run-of-the mill, unnoticeable in the grand scheme of things. Our ordinary day is subconsciously viewed like an oyster shell; sometimes displaying some beauty, most of the time nothing special.
But we are missing something amazing by flipping on this auto pilot switch. We aren’t willing to search for the hidden rarity in the ordinary.

The pearl in the oyster.

The special minute in the ordinary day. The exciting discovery after willingly clasping the humdrum.

    So, can we view our ordinary oyster shell lives still as a gift? A surprise of a day hidden inside life’s sometimes crusty outside?

Worth wanting to get up for, not snoozing our alarm clocks for.

Character Sketch, lifestyle

| The Main Street Mail Lady |

February 2, 2017

“Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

Mother Theresa

     She comes in every morning at 10:30ish a.m. I’ve come to recognize the unique “ding” of the door as she enters; quick and cheery. Her indigo mail bag weighted down and tossed over her shoulder, her canvas jacket of the same color trimmed with only the USPS patch. If you catch her on a day that’s nippy, you’ll get to see a woolen toboggan on top her head, pulled down almost to her eyebrows.

But that toboggan doesn’t cover her eyes. Her squinty smiling eyes that never once have I seen with a fog of sadness dimming the sparkle.

She always smiles with a wide grin when she enters, with a “Good morning!” in her endearing Chinese accent. Sometimes you’ll get the treat of hearing her chuckle as she mentions the weather or at my comments on how heavy her bag must be.

Her job is a simple one; delivering mail to each business up and down main street. A mundane one; she does it every single day, rain or shine. One that rarely is taken notice of; how often do you think to thank the person who delivers your mail everyday?

  All these would be grounds to complain, but that doesn’t stop her cheerfulness in it’s tracks. She does her job with peppy excellence, regardless how her day is going she makes it her mission to brighten others, not only with her packages but also her attitude!

I can’t help but smile every time she leaves the shop! In the 30 seconds she’s inside it’s like the clouds break and her sunniness exudes, even long after she leaves there are traces of it’s beams.

It’s one of the highlights of my day, greeting her and getting to be on the receiving end of such a winsome personality!

Makes me realize, do I take as much joy in my work as she? Do I see purpose even in the seemingly small, the mundane and the unchanging?

I can learn so much from her example, this simply city mail lady, who does small things with great love.

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will
prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach
in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, 
among whom you appear
as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ
I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain or toil in vain.
But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service
of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.
You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.”
– P h i l l i p i a n s  2 : 14-16

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heart writing

Dear Nineteen me. . .

January 10, 2017

“… stepping over the divide between childhood and all that lays beyond.”

| jo march. little women |

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     Dear nineteen me,
Today, you are one sleep away from turning the page to twenty.

Yes, I’m talking to you.

You, the little girl who itched at the thought of when this day would come. The girl who had all sorts of dreams in a wacky imagination of what would happen before today arrived.  The girl who thought that arriving at twenty would be full of all-grown-up and all-put-together feels. Oh silly you. You feel anything but this.

Nineteen. The year you were learning to trust, choosing to rest, being surprised every day with the unexpected and embracing it.  It’s been the bookend to a childhood you wouldn’t (and couldn’t) have traded for a million diamonds or anything just as valuable. You weren’t easy. In fact, there were many times when you believed you wouldn’t live a harder year. But it’s amazing how the most difficult years can also blossom into the most beautiful, the mundane can switch tracks to the adventurous.
Because that’s what you’ve been.

Honestly, you linger to say goodbye. You got one chance at living this last teenage year, and you know there were so many opportunities you didn’t take, many more hugs you should’ve given, more conversations you wanted to have, more smiles and laughs you could’ve unleashed, and more lessons you wish you had learned and embraced better.
But you, nineteen, were golden. And silvered. And bronzed.

Even if you really really could, you wouldn’t go back and live it over again, because * “I don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” You’re called to a new year, to move on. To look ahead, not just looking back. You’re grateful to the Lord for such a year as this.

You skip ahead with excitement to the twenty-year-old you. You don’t know anything about it, you’re a newbie. You’ll have new stories to be acquainted with, and crazy moments of lessons you’ll wade through and come out looking anything but beautiful. But you are more than up for this challenge.
Because you’re here by His grace, you know God has new plans as this volume of childhood and teenage-hood closes and a new and unknown one unfolds.

Regardless how you’ve changed from last year to this, or how you change from this year to next, one thing is cemented, engraved, stamped and sealed on your heart. . .

 “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, and today and forever.”

H e b r e w s 13: 8

Most sincerely,

Almost twenty me

 

lifestyle

Later, Not Goodbye // Clarksville, TN

June 22, 2016

“It’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you later.”

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Three years ago a little family (then of only 3) made their way to Clarksville, TN to make it their home via the military. Knowingly they came, we met, and became kindred spirits with the knowledge that three years was also how long they planned to stay before skipping on!
So, year one and two snuck by on us all. We became close, we watched this little family grow with the addition of another kiddo, we watched them grow stronger as dad shipped out for a nine month deployment and mama and boys continued faithfully at home, we watched with joy their reunion as the leaf of year three turned over. That’s when the realization hit us.

Wait, they wouldn’t be here forever?!

As this little family moves on from our embrace to the many other amazing adventures I know the Lord has in store for them, I am just overwhelmed at the memories we’ve shared, the laughs that have shaken us to tears, the bond of friendship that has grown ten-fold stronger because it is united in Christ.
This is something that even an ocean can’t separate.
So, we send the dear H. family off with embraces that long for them to stay, but also with urging hands nudging them on to the place, people and hearts the Lord has for them to touch next!
.   .   .   .   .
Of course sending such a family off requires one last hoorah of memory bank filling, so my sisters and I leaped at the chance when (finally!) a free calendar square made itself known!
The Saturday morning started with cinnamon rolls. Can you get much better?
I think know not.

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As we finished off the tasty pastries and wiped our upper lips we discussed plans for the day, the unanimous decision being to hit the local farmer’s market! While mama got ready, some play time in the most bright and cheerful play room was in order!
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Needless to say, these little guys know how to play! From dress up to Duplo skyscrapers to hilarious quotes of their own (“You’re goin’ in the trash can tomorrow!”) with the addition of looking stinking cute in the process! They reminded me of the little Lost Boys from Peter Pan, which upon my asking them if they had heard or watched Peter Pan, their reply was “Who’s that?”

We also talked all things Toy Story and Finding Nemo, which of course included watching the upcoming sequel teasers of both!
But as always, play time can’t last all day, no matter what Peter Pan may say.
Jammies were exchanged for shorts and t-shirts, blonde hair was combed, and we headed into the real life of the day!

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“I love to walk a city, whether I’ve been there once or a thousand times before. It’s amazing what sort of inspiration you’ll find when you steal a second glance .”
| erin hiemstra |

     How little I knew of Clarksville ’til we took the time to see it! I had been downtown briefly a couple years before, and driving it once every week, I thought I knew it well! Only until we turned another corner downtown did I see a whole new little world of charm! Makes we wonder what other cities I so quickly check off my list as “explored”.

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The thirst quencher of choice was some one-of-a-kind homemade lemonade that totally hit the spot!
I could see local farmer’s markets being a new favorite Saturday activity, having been to very few myself I forgot how exciting they are!
Seeing a glimpse of the diversity of talents and expertise these people share, combined with tempting smells, a fresh breeze through the aisle of tents, the beat of vibrant music from some local musicians, and just watching new faces pass by.

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2016-06-15_01062016-06-15_0097     Of course, it goes without mentioning that outings like these always call for a token/souvenir to remember them by! And as the mama in this sweet family being the extraordinaire paint brush handler that she is, it seemed all too spot on to head to the little pottery studio situated on Franklin Street, called Horse Feathers.
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The personalities of these people. I have loved watching these little guys grow up and getting a sneak peek at their unique quirks that makes them who they are. And also watching their sweet mama and dad nurture those quirks while walking and leading them along the path.

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Our creativity fix satisfied, we headed back out the antique aqua doors and back toward the car, taking in the sights slowly as we did. Seriously, this downtown area has me itching to come back for a more in-depth snooping!

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1 universe.

9 planets.
204 countries.
809 islands.
7 seas.
And I had the privilege of meeting you.

You’ve touched our hearts in ways that can’t be put into words, we are so thankful that God put Clarksville on your map for a season! See ya later sweet friends, we know new adventures are calling your name, but we’re totally keeping those old ones under lock and key!