I haven’t written in awhile. It’s ok. Here is what I think about that: it was winter and winter some more. Which leaves me feeling lackluster in the inspiration department. But if step back and think about life since I last wrote in February, much life has been weaved between these weeks of indoor play dates and sweeping the floor, doing the dishes and taking the dog out in the cold.
Maybe some of the best life comes in the just living and mulling things over. I can’t always articulate in the moment what I am experiencing but time seems to help with that and although I have always felt at home in Ann Arbor, this place has only been our home for 11 months. That said, these are some of the important things from the past two months.
Some of our very best friends adopted a son. I am going to share their story soon as I spent some time writing about it the week baby J arrived. It has been a profound time for them but also for Ryan & I as their friends.
I spoke at our church on brokenness and it surprised me how affected I was by it and how many conversations began with others in our community as a result.
We decided to look at houses to buy, then to rent which is a whole post on its own. The summary is that life in Ann Arbor is expensive and we had to choose what was most important to us. Nearness to downtown, fenced in yard, access to public transportation, space. In that order.
I cannot wait to get back out there for morning walks to get coffee & to try out the new parks with Hannah. Speaking of Hannah, within the past few weeks she has become a full fledged two year old in my mind. Although her birthday is still a few weeks away, our girl has arrived.
I have spent much time deepening friendships particularly in the past few months and trying to sort out how I spend my time. I think that might be a continual tug I feel in my life now that we live further away from some of the dearest people in my life. I am coming to terms with what that means and how it plays out but you better believe that the weekend Katie came and we drove around drinking diet cokes like we used to was very good for my soul.
I started working one day a week, something I have been thinking about since the day I took my maternity leave. I wasn’t sure what, where or when and then it just happened. Isn’t it funny in life how these things happen?
This is where I am left with my reflections on continuing to write myself:
I want to add to the beauty, to not just create noise and to make sure the things I share have value.
That being said; maybe sometimes the value is found not in saying something profound but in connecting with others in our experiences and lives. So write on I will.Read More
We don’t have a TV. There, I said it. Most of my friends who have been around for a while know this about me (us) and to be honest, it is still surprising to me that we haven’t had one for almost five years. I don’t think it makes us more spiritual or full of self-control, it is just a choice we made at some point and until now it has stuck.
If I think back about it, it happened less on purpose and more out of an experiment. We were three years into our marriage and due to the success and demands of running a small business, Ryan was working a crazy amount of hours. We realized that we were having less meaningful conversations because we were using TV as a default when he got home from work. The only show we really loved to watch was LOST and we always watched it with our friends Jon & Joy so we brought our nice TV to their house and it stayed there because we wanted them to have it.
Here we are, five years later, on the other side of that equation and we are on the verge of having TV again, without really needing to think about it. Some friends generously gave us theirs to use for movies & Major League baseball games once the season is underway. But the question is, do I have enough self-control to use it just for that?
This isn’t a moral post about how TV is bad. This is a post about how having a TV is difficult for me. How it sucks me in and spits me out with less time in the day and not much gained if I am not careful.
I used to watch TV all of the time. Growing up my brother and I would stay up late, watching our shows after hanging out with friends while eating bowls of ice cream. Maybe that last part was just me. Either way, I love that shared experience with my brother and it is less about TV and more about time together. In this season of my life I still watch my shows on hulu & go to the gym to watch the Today show while I work out. Sometimes that is the only reason I go to the gym in fact.
It’s funny when a decision you haven’t considered for years comes back around again. I am making some observations before I pick up the remote, to figure out how having a TV in our home again might affect me. Here are the things I have noticed without one:
First and foremost, I read more than I ever would. I love reading but it is easier not to and when I fill my time with other things, I leave less space to read.
Second, it forces conversation. There are many times where I want to watch shows, have movie nights and just not have to talk or think. TV would allow me that right, where without it, I have to put on tea and make conversation. It is one of those tensions that is a positive thing but sometimes disappointing as well. On the other hand I think movie nights are fun and having a TV gives me another reason to host friends. I like that.
Third, as a mom it creates more quiet not having a TV. I find more than enough distractions online and regularly have music going in our home so that we have background noise. I’m afraid I would find myself camped out more often than I like in front of shows I love if I let myself go there.
I don’t know that there are many more concrete observations to be made. I can’t stress enough that this is about me and not about you. I am not writing to point figures or to shame anyone. If you love Sesame Street in the morning and CNN at night, by all means, proceed happily and without judgement from me.
Writing has a way of helping me clarify my thoughts and today is no exception. The TV can stay but like everything, if it is taking away from other good things, it has to go.Read More
I have spent most of the week inside. In fact all of the week with the exception of one trip to the library and a few mornings where I snuck off to the gym while everyone else was still sleeping.
Ironic after last week’s post, huh?
I am trying to do what is best for my little one while she is sick (again) with a cold and a cough. It is not hard to do when she seems so miserable but at the same time, I always realize my own desires to get out and do things when we can’t.
I’m not a perfect mom and I don’t really want to be. Mostly because that is a whole lot to live up to but also because that isn’t the goal. I’m trying to be the best I can be but I fall short. Often.
My friend Morgen came over this week with food, something she does a lot, and we spent some time talking about areas of our lives where we feel like we are constantly being stretched and grown. The same areas we often struggle in.
The conclusions we came to were pretty simple. 1) we may always feel a pull in some areas of our lives 2)we pretty quickly reach the end of our abilities and strength without Christ.
It’s freeing, isn’t it? Knowing I don’t have to do it all. I just wanted to share that encouragement, in a week that has been somewhat hard for me, being cooped up and longing for interaction with the outside world.
I also read a few good things this week that I wanted to share:
This woman’s story about her goal to have 500 people around her table in 2012 blew me away. So inspiring and something to consider. All big things start somewhere.
I also loved Katie’s thoughts on her first month of participating in Jen Hatmaker’s 7 challenge.
January always feels like a holding tank; the celebrations of the holidays have wound down but you can’t start thinking about spring yet. It is a season of in-between. Not good for those of us who always like to have something to look forward to.
This is the place where resolutions are either implemented or forgotten and time feels a little stuck some days, while I am waiting for sunshine and warmer weather. You too? Even this set up doesn’t look too bad right now:
I didn’t notice it so much when I was working in an office full time because clients have needs year round & meetings take place whether it is 10 degrees or 100 degrees. The show must go on. But now that this is my second winter at home, I am trying to find ways to keep us entertained and happy without visiting Target everyday and spending all of my money at Starbucks.
I always like to have something to look forward to and joked with Ryan the other day that maybe an unexpected trip to Florida would fall into our laps like it did last January. It hasn’t happened yet so I am instead trying to find sunshine in smaller ways. I have to or I may not survive.
It isn’t always easy but here is what I have found works. Pancake breakfast with friends. Working out. Writing cards, something that I say matters but don’t always do as often as I like. Reading new books from the library to keep me company on quiet afternoons. Getting out, even just to get the mail.
Even though our pace has been slower during the day, our nights and weekends are filled with conversations, planning and attending events and deepening the friendships we are building here. As a result, my mind has been full of thoughts on relationships, growth, and motherhood. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself in each of these areas so I am taking some time to reflect, ask questions of others in this same season and giving myself grace to try things. Like time out. And implementing better eating habits for Hannah. A child can not live on fruit and cheese alone.
Sometimes when we feel stuck, the best thing to do is take a first step. A step out to do something fun. A step to write about the things we are processing or even a step back, to rest. What small steps are you taking today?
I love weekends but man am I ready for Monday.
I just posted this on facebook:
in the last 72 hours: furnace died, slept in 2 hotels in the last three nights, spent 9 hours in the car between friday & saturday, swam our hearts out in the kiddie pool at great wolf lodge, heard an awesome message this morning, spent time with two dear friends and met with a potential realtor. not what I would call a boring weekend.
As I re-read it, I found myself being ready for the normal pace of our life. Weekends like this have felt a bit too typical as of late and I’m ready to hunker down for the next few months and do what we do best.
Like feed Toby:
And play dress up:
As with everything in life, balance is key. Too much of even a good thing is still too much. Too many cookies, late nights, traveling and change in our everyday pace has me craving balance. I’m hoping this week looks a whole lot like this:
Hope you had a good weekend and that the new year is treating you well!Read More
I have decided that this is the year of being rather than doing. Rather than making a list of the things I want to do this year, I am going to just keep living and taking steps to move forward.
I loved crafting before pintrest, writing before blogging and taking pictures was special even way back when I had to wait to get my film developed to see them. I can’t put my figure on one area of my life that I want to hone in on, I just want to keep taking steps in the right direction.
I have made enough large and sweeping commitments to know that all changes take one small step at a time. To run a marathon, you have to get out of bed every day and log some miles. To have good friends you have to listen, trust and make an effort to connect. For a fulfilling marriage, you have to be willing to love when it is hard and support your spouse as you each grow.
Nope, I don’t have any resolutions at all but what I do have is a large dose of hope.
My hope is that this year each of our lives will be so full that we can’t document all of the things that we see God do. I want that to be true for the friends we have been praying for a child with as they wait. For hope to show itself in relationships that are broken and need mending. For the dreams that take huge risks to show themselves as tangible. Each of these things require hope and a willingness to take steps, even if they seem small.
What are you hoping for?Read More