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

 

E x p l o r e, 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!

lifestyle

Sunshine After Rain

May 20, 2016

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     I’ve been wondering if this rainforest-like-wetness we’ve been experiencing in our area will maybe just take a “rain check” soon!
*chuckles* So. Much. Wata.
But funny, how I never truly notice or appreciate a beam of sunshine until it breaks through after raindrops.
Isn’t it the same in some of our life stories? The sunshine moments gleam even brighter after the cloudy ones shift on for a time.
“The struggle is part of the story”; the rain and sunshine alike, each a beautiful part of the plan.

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     I have felt, over the past few months, kinda like cereal that has sat a bit too long in a toddler’s bowl of milk.  A bit soggy.
Drenched with life raindrops, I am now ready for some sun.  But being “soggy” in this way, it’s taught me trust, trust only in the Lord.
Experiencing the raindrops, the uncertain ones that would whisk in without notice, it’s reminded me of God’s faithfulness that always shines bright, regardless how overcast the day.
He uses those overcast days, the rainy ones, the stormy ones. . . to grow us.
To help us glorify Him in the moment, but also even more when He rolls in the sun!
We can be utterly amazed at Him in these sunshine opportunities, most times the aftermath of a drenching; by His grace I can say I am,
even when I wondered if I ever could.

Praise Him in the sunshine, praise Him in the rain. He sustains. He is faithful. He is enough.
| Psalm 40 |

lifestyle

Change in the Air

April 26, 2016

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes,
but when you look back everything is different?”
| C.S. Lewis |

3-29-16 #2

      Breeze shift it looks like!
Change is happening everywhere in our lives these days.
In the world outside the kitchen window each morning I look out with a smile because it’s different than I left it some hours before.
One more tulip has shyly opened, the driveway is framed in by more green,
the breeze that comes through the screened window is definitely one that says “Summer!”.
In those around me too, change looks to be sprouting.
Each day may seem to fly by unchanged as we carry on with routines, schedules, appointments, jobs, here-and-going; but all the while I look curiously into each face knowing we are on the brink of change.

A brother looking at college possibilities for next year, an almost eleven year old who wakes up only having grown closer to my eye level with a more mature comment & desire to be included with the “big guys”, grandparents that age and knowing that the days we have enjoyed up to this point will be slightly different, reminded to embrace them even more thankfully.
As for me, well, I thrive on that word; change.
The everyday sameness can sometimes leave me with an itch I can’t reckon with or explain.
But it’s definitely bitter-sweetness I taste as we roll up on this changing life season, the excitement is about to burst beyond containing but a hint of lingering too as I realize. . . we won’t ever be the same as we are now.

My brain seriously is a maze every day. I’m working through tons and heaps, in pretty much every different area of life! Too many ideas, too many ambitions, the trying to buckle down and unitask on one and learn it well. The balancing of time with service, work, learning, & fun.
I want to change & grow, to thrive; oh, I don’t want to remain stagnant.
But how does someone start the ball of desired change rolling?
Right now, my only answer to the question is seeking the Lord in every moment.
And I mean every.

Even when my head feels like it’s swelling with dozens of questions that I don’t have answers to, I know that He is the answer. The areas of my life that make no sense right now, my Lord is at work beneath the surface. Someday I may have the answer, and then again I may not.
Regardless, I know He’s using them as the means of reforming this lump of clay that desperately needs it every day.

     The Lord is daily shaping, molding, and pruning. I can tell, it’s definitely not always comfy.
We grow discouraged when we long to change, grow, blossom and more accurately reflect His image. Then, in the hour, it looks only like we are still just the same lump of clay, the unchanged gnarly branch.
But He sees different.
He knows the transformation that He is bringing about day by day, small each day but grand in the big picture.

     In these days of change when we can’t quite understand what He’s doing, I think after a series of tomorrows we will be able to look back and see the same amazing change that He was orchestrating all along. And it will be a looking back of joy & thankfulness because even though we may never fully understand every puzzle piece, we will see how those extremely weird & odd pieces which we thought were worthless . . . He had a great plan for.

Busy weeks are in the rearview mirror but also on the road ahead! Excited and ready for them while at the same time learning patience in the middle of lots of happening & desired change.
{2 Corinthians 4:16-18}