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}

heart writing

366 Pages

January 1, 2016

 

Page 1 of 366.2015-12-28_0001

     As a new year dawns and begins to leave 2015 in the rearview mirror I find myself reflecting a good deal. Reflecting with joy, with a hint of sadness, saying goodbye to a year that held so, so much!
The pages are bursting out of the covers of 2015.

How does one (even a wordsmith) put into words the depth of thought, the fleeting moments of action, the unique personality of faces, and precious flurry of uncountable minutes that made up this year? One doesn’t, plainly put.
But to say it in short, I have been blessed. B l e s s e d.

Blessed to have had 365 days that I was able to stand, to breathe, to just live. Blessed that even in the moments when I just knew I couldn’t take another step, couldn’t handle another moment of something hard for fear of snapping in two under the weight. . . the Lord saw me through; gave me the breath to inhale/exhale and take another step.
But even more did He give me the needed relief of someone or something that cracked a smile, made the way of escape for a laugh, breaking the clouds for sunshine. Blessed also that He gave me so many moments of sunshine without clouds. 2 0 1 5. It’s been a year of, well, transition. The road forked, the road which was laid up to this point with the pavers of younger years, learning, forming a solid foundation, planting of seeds. This fork in the road is really just an extension of the old, continuing on; new pavers being laid each day.

The mortar being grace.

I love celebrating New Years. I always have. It’s more than just the celebration itself though, it acts as a kind of Thanksgiving Day for me. It’s a looking at the big picture of the entire year, remembering moments that I messed up, words that should have gone unsaid, actions that should’ve been taken, resolutions that didn’t quite happen. . . but oh, not stopping there. We would despair if we put a period right here. But no, there is GRACE! God’s grace in our lives, this is the exclamation point!

If we look close, we will see God’s fingerprints over the entire year as well. The moments he gave us assurance and victory, the opportunity and confidence to say a word that needed to be said, the ability to act when by ourselves we would have laid dormant, and maybe a resolution that wasn’t on our “list” but that He convicted us of maybe mid-year and chiseled away shaping us even until now.
So we do look back on the dimming year not with despair or frustration of the “should have’s” but with the eyes of thankfulness for the mercy of the Lord that was the only thing upholding us. Give thanks for this and buckle up equipped with faith for the new year peeking it’s head. We make resolutions, book lists, goals, qualities to work on, ideas to develop, but give ourselves grace. Make it a bullet point now that we will fail, we will stumble, but that the Lord is bigger than even those shortcomings.

Live with the daily reminder of His grace in our life story which he is weaving into a beautiful, unique pattern, comparable to no one else.

We may only see the back side of it, knots and tangles of 2015 that really just don’t make sense, 2016 will have those knots and tangles too. But He is at work, trust and also glorify Him.
Saying “hello” to a new year brings so much excitement, a feeling of mystery not knowing what each new day will bring. As I stride into this new year, it’s definitely with this enthusiasm in tow, ready to take on each day with the Lord directing my steps! I have come to notice these years are stepping stone years for me. Each day may just be a little step, a little lesson, and little progress, nothing all that grand looking back when they have become a week.
But in the span of a year, how much progression then? He uses even the small & unnoticeable moments as building blocks even just as He can use me, weak vessel that I am. I want to keep this as a doorpost, written on the tablet of my heart even when the excitement of the new year beginning fades and the normality of life sets in.

2016. This year there are 366 days to fill, it’s a gift. Do you see it? It’s a beautiful and wonderful opportunity before you, what will you do with it? Let us live it to it’s fullest, for Him!

W E L C O M E  2 0 1 6!!!

 

travel

Thanksgiving in N. Carolina

December 1, 2015

2015-11-30_0005

There’s just something about spending Thanksgiving in North Carolina.
It’s an excitement that’s enveloped me since I was a kiddo, remembering that serious itch of travel excitement at the thought of going to “Uncle Mark & Aunt Vickie’s house” to celebrate one of the best holidays! That feeling returned this year as we packed our duffle bags for the seven hour trip, I can’t put my finger on exactly why it did and still does have a happy-dance-feeling for me, but I think it has something to do with thought of dear friends and family on the other side of those mountains! North Carolina beauty too has always been a spoonful of the happiness, similar to home but different enough that beckons an exploration!
So, it was with very happy hearts that we began our journey at 5:30am Thanksgiving morning!
For once it wasn’t hard for this certain night owl to awake, the cause because excitement awaited outside of the covers.
I had to laugh at myself as we headed out of Nashville realizing how very few times I have gazed at the beauty of a sunrise, all that beauty that comes up and I normally miss it due to snoring (I speak figuratively of course).  It was a grand to experience it again, and maaaay have tempted me to greet more of them!

2015-11-30_0004

May I just say spending Thanksgiving with friends is one of the happiest things to experience? Honestly words just can’t describe the absolute gratefulness I felt as we all set around the table laughing, talking, eating, sharing and just enjoying being together! I was reminded yet again what blessings the Lord has given us, what gifts he plants in our everyday lives that appear so ordinary but when seen in greater light, are everything but that. This is what Thanksgiving is about, reflecting on those things and and not just reflecting but glorifying the Lord from whom all blessings flow!
24 hours isn’t long enough when spending it with dear friends, but somehow we managed to fill every minute to the brim with memories! So thankful for this amazing time!

2015-11-30_0006

This trip seemed the king of short & sweet, after hugging good-byes to friends, we headed towards the embrace of family two hours away for another 24 hour stop! It had been over a year since all family on Dad’s side had been reunited (since my grandmother’s passing on a year ago August) so it was with much laughter and joy that we all touched base! (we all had a good laugh about the rounds and rounds of hugs, with 19 people it can take a while!)
Playing numerous games, catching up on each other’s lives, reminiscing old memories and mishaps, retaking the family photos and being amazed at the change that’s taken place. . . special beyond end!

2015-11-30_0019

Good-byes. They’re hard. I much prefer hello’s. But it’s a realization and reminder that good times and get-togethers can’t be a steady diet, or they wouldn’t be unique and exciting, they would become ordinary.
That is the true beauty of wonderful relationships with family and friends, it’s that you can come together (even if it’s only for a couple dozen hours) have a blast, have a hard time saying goodbye, but move on and look forward to the next reunion!
Even though the visits were quick, they were wonderful! Jam packed with more memories for the banks and gave me much to reflect on with thankfulness on the way to our last stop.
2015-11-30_0007

As the season of Thanksgiving unfolds and meshes into the glorious season of joy and giving, our last stop was Asheville and then on to Clyde, North Carolina for our favorite christmas tree farm! As a mental note, if you find a hole-in-the-wall place kinda by accident and end up loving it. . . please make sure to document it well! Such was not the case with this little farm we stopped at last Thanksgiving. When trip planning came around this year we had a humdinger of a time trying to find this place, eventually, when we had almost given up, google maps came to the rescue. It’s now well documented in a numerous safe places; address, location, and phone number, plus a business card in everyone’s wallets.

2015-11-30_0011

After much discussion as to which tree was “the one” we finally all agreed and got it loaded up. Hands smelling of fresh fraiser fir, I snapped a few photos of just the glory of North Carolina pre/winter beauty.

2015-11-30_0012

2015-11-30_0010

2015-11-30_0013

2015-11-30_0014

2015-11-30_0015


2015-11-30_0016

Our trek home was a soggy one, our windshield wipers didn’t rest the whole way back and our tree got enough water to last it a good long while! My family all reflected on how quiet I was on the way home. . . I laughed, not realizing I hadn’t said more than a few sentences put together every hour or so.
Home-going usually produces such an outcome for me, I love thinking about the time spent, the memories collected, and especially this trip, just reflecting with thankfulness.

2015-11-30_0017

Thanksgiving. It’s more than just a day, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a way of living each and everyday with praise to the Lord and recognition of His goodness. From thanksgiving stems an indescribable joy!
Let us keep this spirit of thanksgiving ever present and near us as we move into the beautiful season of joy and giving that characterizes December!
It was a wonderful way to spend such a beautiful holiday, I am left with the faithful remembrance of the time and smile whenever I think of the memories!
Aren’t times like this the best?

>>> a b b y

jotter's journal

Jotter’s Journal // november

November 6, 2015

Jotter's Journal // november

I seriously realize with all due consciousness that I haven’t been here in a while. Actually, that would be an understatement in itself, but I can’t think of a better answer other than the normal clichè, “Life’s been good & busy.”

But I’m not going to be one who fills posts with apologies excusing my not being here, instead here I am again, absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

November has gotten off to a rollicking start, though I think I left my brain back in May somewhere, but I’m doing my best to catch it up to speed!

//Out-of-doors. . .
November in Tennessee doesn’t necessarily mean barefoot days are over! On the stroll to the mailbox this afternoon I traipsed through a carpet of leaves on the front walk, leaves that but two days ago were all neatly raked. Oh well, so much for that! All it took was one rain and a bit of wind. Looks like more raking is in order!

//Busy working on. . .
Each day is different but, for right now I think I’m in the skill-building/study-and learn-all-you-can season! I’m working my way through numerous books (finally making some headway on that ever growing list!) and the Lord has also blessed my etsy shop which has kept me on my toes filling orders!
Fun fact: People actually buy Christmas gifts the last week in October! (don’t laugh, it’s true.)

//Currently reading. . .
The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall & Debbie Jones

//Favorite book recently read. . .
Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot
Jim and Elisabeth Elliot’s story is so sweet and shows just the amazing-ness of the sovereign hand of God in their lives! Their testimony of how they trusted the Lord, even in regards to their relationship, was an enjoyable read. And plus, Elisabeth Elliot was such a grand writer, in case you didn’t know.

//At the desk. . .
My newest skill I’ve been burying my head in is book-binding! I’ve made several journals now and am LOVING the process! The smells, the textures, the finished project. . . ah, you get the idea! I’m having fun!

//Beyond the desk. . .
Cross country season being over for the younger siblings, we still get to watch them race every now and then at an occasional race around TN, and lately a trip to the pumpkin patch was a fun family excursion. Family time is precious.

//In the evening. . .
Late nights talking with family, early nights in which I head to bed and read, some nights when work carries over until it’s time to hit the hay; a little sampling of each, makes my night-owl-at-heart-ness happy!

//Reflecting on. . .
The contrast of my selfish and stubborn tendencies to the Lord’s self-sacrifical and ever good ones. Learning how to die to myself and surrender my own will daily, taking every thought captive and looking to His grace every day for strength.
Amazed at the Lord’s goodness.

//Through Scripture. . .
I’ve really enjoyed going through a scripture study by She Reads Truth called Women in the Word (Old Testament) which walks you through a 5-week study of the women in the Old Testament through various passages, each day focusing on a different woman. It’s been encouraging and convicting and sheds light on so many areas.

//Happy about. . .
/Celebrating this month about being truly thankful, it’s one of my favorite things about this time of year.
/New plans and ideas regarding this blog (I know this is getting old, but I’m a change lover, new ideas are just a part of my brain!) 😀
/Just life, each and every day, the opportunities!
/Getting more chocolate from Trader Joe’s soon, I’ve been too long without it!

//Inspiring quote. . .
“Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living.”
>>jim elliot

I’ll be back soon, I promise! In the mean time, enjoy every moment of this glorious season of November! (I have a feeling it will be a fast one!)

>>>a b b y