Spring Sunshine. [186-218]

It was another good week in this beautiful life. Love and peace to you.

186. line dancing at the airport at night. 187. m&m mcflurry. 188. impromptu visits with friends. 189. slowly getting over certain people choosing not to be in my life anymore. 190. first car show of the season. 191. watching planes take off. 192. regularly running into people I know. 193. creating connections. 194. coupons for free food. 195. classic corvettes. 196. much-needed message at church. 197. orange fish swimming peacefully in a pond. 198. wind chimes. 199. a calm, eighty-degree day. 200. feet in a kiddie pool filled with cold water. 201. watching my husband have a blast riding around on an ATV. 202. taking photos with chickens. 203. sweet dog showing up at our house. 204. knowledge. 205. being able to learn more about issues in society. 206. beautiful sunrises during my morning drive to work. 207. fluffy kitten snoozing on my chest. 208. standing in the middle of a field at night with the nearly full moon shining down. 209. manual labor. 210. laying in bed at the end of a long day. 211. seeing my coworkers get recognition for their work. 212. other people crying happy tears makes me cry happy tears. 213. the smell of fresh-cut grass. 214. wearing shorts outside! 215. looking at all the green coming out in my beautiful wooded backyard. 216. breakfast for dinner. 217. restful sleep. 218. rain coming to quench thirsty plants.

Today was a good day.

Today was just a really good day.

It was not a spectacular day because of anything particularly amazing. To some, it would seem to be a relatively normal day. But it was the kind of normal that makes my soul happy. The kind of day I needed after the mentally exhausting weekend I had. The kind of ‘normal’ day I needed to motivate myself and push forward.

For the last year, I had a particularly good thing. It was a good thing that happened somewhat suddenly, but grew and brought me much joy. I changed a little bit because of it. I made decisions because of it. I sort of ignored other things because I wanted to invest in it. But it was still a good thing, which brought me to other good things. Then the good thing kind of faded and suddenly, right before the weekend, it disappeared. I spent the weekend mourning the lost of this good thing and analyzing myself, wondering what in the world happened. I was sad, angry, hurt, confused, and yet, full of love. I was not entirely graceful, which I regret, but in this, I have also learned more about myself. I filled the weekend hours with reflection, prayer, rest, wine, sitting in the sunshine (what a warm weekend it was!) and quality time (my love language) with some of the people that fill my heart up.

I also heard two great messages in church: one that covered a little bit about not conforming to other people but daring to be different (with a mention of one of my favorite bible verses: “Do not conform, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” -Romans 12:2), and another one that discussed friendship/relationships and covered the Five Love Languages – which I had been thinking about not too long ago. How fitting! I had to laugh and marvel at the timing of these messages.

By the time Sunday evening rolled around, I ended the weekend realizing that having the good thing gone was actually….. a good thing!

Now I am free to pursue interests and passions and people that I had been unintentionally pushing aside. I am free to devote more time and energy to everyone and anything, instead of tunneling in on a smaller part that wasn’t moving forward. I am free to be me, not conforming to who I thought I was supposed to be (how in the world did I let that almost happen!?), but continuing to grow and mature into whoever God is shaping me to be…. without holding things back. I did not see how this good thing was holding me back, but now I do. It was good for a time. But this is good too, and what I need. I am different.

I am free.

So, sometimes…. it’s a good thing when a good thing is gone.

I’m kind of thankful. Funny how that works. Funny how God works.


Back to today.

The most important part of my day, I believe, was one thing I had been neglecting on and off for months: mornings with God. I used to spend my mornings reading scripture, journaling, and praying. Doing this was, for me, the best way to set the tone for the rest of the day. Lately, I let it slide. As a result, I’ve been drained, and this lack of morning time was leaking into other aspects of my life. This morning before work, I was able to sit with a slow cup of coffee (no more creamer – see you later, dairy!), soak up some verses, try to pay attention to what God was showing me, and reflect/write what was on my mind. What a recharge! I am excited to start every morning like this again!

The drive to work was peaceful. I walked in the school building feeling calm and ready. Work was work. However, as I was standing outside, watching the students run around the playground in the warm, early March air, I realized that I had nothing to complain about with this job, nor have I ever really had anything to complain about. Most days, even if I’m exhausted, I actually look forward to being at work. All those snow days we had? Half of those days, I was upset not to be at work! Although I am not doing exactly what I had hoped to do when I acquired my degree a few years back, I am very blessed to be where I am. I always have been blessed, actually, wherever I’ve been. Along with that, the student I work with was in a good mood today, my co-workers are fantastic, and one of the departments set up a stress-relief day with complimentary massages (in which I found out that my back/body is good and relaxed) and a hot chocolate bar! Pretty awesome, huh? It was a very nice day at work, indeed. Even the rain that arrived this afternoon delighted me.

I’m sitting here at home now now with a fantastic Japanese-inspired dish I threw together: Soba noodles, tofu, mushroom, carrots, spinach, and green onions sauteed in sesame and chili oils. While eating my dinner, I realized that, with the possible exception of the hot chocolate I had at work today, all my meals and snacks today were vegan…. which also contributes to my high energy level and good feelings. I’m excited to be making good food choices again. Juicing, I missed you so much.

The rain just finished pouring a beautiful rhythm on the roof, bringing hopes of a lovely spring to come. Heavy clouds are blowing across the sky while shades of pale pink and purple from the sunset peek over the puffy edges. There’s a good storm coming in – I love myself a good storm. After I publish this, I’m hoping to finish the book I’m reading (Unstoppable by Christine Caine) and watch a little bit of Fixer Upper. Chip & Joanna Gaines are adorable; so are their houses. You can never have enough shiplap, right? Maybe I’ll throw in a little bit of yoga. Or maybe not.

Again, not a particularly marvelous day, but just what I needed.

Everything will be alright.

Peace be with you.

Goodbye, 2015!

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Well. This was our hardest year ever. This was my hardest year ever.

It was not an incredibly difficult year by comparison to people’s lives, but in my own little life, this was the hardest year for me. Of course, it was filled with many good things, but oh my dear, how much I stressed and cried and wondered, “what next?”

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January started off slow with cold. We were constantly running out of gas/heat but getting by with layers and gas conservation as best as we could. (On the plus side, we learned how to deal with cold…. now, if I walk into a home that is more than seventy degrees, it’s way too warm!) I also felt less like myself as we were constantly worrying and stressed, walking on eggshells around the people we were living with and wondering if we made the right decision. Needless to say, it wasn’t the magical adventure we thought it would be — although we were learning a lot! Late February brought us unexpectedly to a studio apartment in town, in the midst of two snow storms. The first storm stirred up (or possibly released) some unexpected conflict and we made the quick decision to move from the land we were on. Since there was snow on the ground, we couldn’t move the RV to the park nearby, as had been my backup plan. So, by the second storm, we were warm in a spacious studio apartment in town. It was supposed to be a teporarary situation for the sake of all involved before we moved back into the RV. We didn’t know that a week later the person we had grown to trust and look up to would accuse me of lies, selfishness, and ungratefulness, just to name a few. It shocked me, and continued to as I uncovered more information. And thus, our plans were turned upside down. There was no way we could go back to that. (I tried to keep this kind of quiet this year, but today, I don’t care anymore. I know the truth.) I spent the next few months grappling with the thought that we gave up all the security we had for a new life out here, full of uncertainty… to have it all collapse. Or so we thought.

IMG_0898Late March brought sunshine and warmth — more warmth than we’ve had in the previous months. I also attempted a Whole30 challenge and learned more about how my body reacts to food. After the snow melted, my husband and I were able to retrieve and move our RV to another location for safekeeping. The studio apartment we were in had no windows and became a bit stifling and depressing. Eager to be outdoors with a purpose, we became hooked to geocaching again in April. That month, we also realized that we would have to give up our dream to keep living in the RV and build a tiny house. We put the RV up for sale, and explored our options. Stay? Go? We decided to stay and look for a place to put down roots. My husband and I have always been able to take care of ourselves and weren’t ready to let one person ruin what we had dreamed and worked for when the RV dream died.

In May, I led my first hula hoop workshop, which was fun. In June, I turned twenty-nine and my dreadlocks turned two years old. I also explored a little more of the beautiful state of Kentucky with my husband as we geocached constantly. My husband also accepted a new job closer to home that left his weekends available again! So happy for that. And the saddest thing we had to do? We said goodbye to our RV as it went to a new owner.

IMG_2919 (1)In July, we celebrated the fourth with a wonderful group of people that we now call best friends. The rest of the month was packed with weddings, including a long weekend in beautiful Colorado! We also started house-hunting. In August, I said farewell to my babies at the daycare as I accepted a new position in the school district. I miss my sweet babies and visit when I can; however, I’m happy to be back in a school. My husband also brought in a fluffy black kitten off the street, which we adopted and named Luna Mae.

IMG_3959 (1)September moved us into our house and we spent the month getting situated. October is my favorite month — but this year, it seemed to be quite a month! We enjoyed a day at the Ohio Ren Faire with some dear friends from college, celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary, and delighted in autumn. Towards the end of the month, we closed on our house! Two days later, my husband drove over some gravel on a curvy road and hit a tree. It was a scary night for us, moreso for him. Our church community gave us so much support, they are amazing. We are blessed. Less than a week later, I replaced my car with a new one. Towards the end of the month, we also found out some information regarding our health that impacted some of our future plans. It was then that I nearly broke down, mentally exhausted and wondering plans God could possibly have for us.

IMG_5722November was calm as I meditated on all of that. The month was filled with plenty of prayer and bible-reading. We also met and welcomed my husband’s godson. Thanksgiving was spent with a dear family that we have somewhat adopted here in Kentucky. December was possibly our best month of the year. All the chaos seemed to settle, we became comfortable in our house, and we were able to enjoy a quick holiday in Chicago with our families. Now we are here, ready to welcome in 2016. I’m ready to let go of the past and push forward.

The first half of the year I struggled with trying to forgive. Most days I am fine, but some days the anger and hurt overtake me as I try to understand why I’m being blamed. It’s a new situation for me. I’ll never know why; but I can walk away from it. The second half of the year, I dealt with a huge change in plans and the questions of purpose and value. I cannot sit still. I need to learn and grow. I need to make the changes I want to see in my life.

My husband and I grew in our church community and our faith. We also grew closer to each other as we navigated each obstacle thrown our way this year. We said goodbye to one dream with a broken heart but welcomed another dream sooner than expected. We explored, we fought, we laughed, we bonded. Although where we are right now isn’t where I thought it would be, it is so much better. God really does have plans for us that we cannot see. And I am so proud of what Kyle and I have accomplished together, through hard work and the help of friends and families.

I cried a lot this year. But I did laugh, I did find joy, and I did love. And oh, there were plenty of snuggly evenings with my three fur babies! Plenty of good weaved in with the not-so-good, and for that, I am so grateful. And I am so grateful for a God that is good. Above all, He is the strength that carries me.

2015 was quite a year.

I’m ready for you, 2016.