Friday, January 4, 2019

Five Years Ago. and To Be Continued.

Five years ago I crossed two state lines, pulled into a town I'd only visited twice, and up to a house I'd only seen once.

Five years ago a chapter ended and a new page turned, starting a chapter titled with hope and excitement and anticipation of a brand new version of life we'd never known before.

Five years ago today, we moved to Georgia.

To a town where we knew no one, to a dot on a map I'd never even noticed before.  Far away from what was "home," far away from all of our families and friends.

But it all felt right as we started unpacking, making our new house our home, filling each room with dreams we wanted to make...

Almost exactly three years to the day we arrived in Georgia, every single dream I thought we'd built came crashing down around me, in the middle of a house and in the middle of a town that both immediately felt scary and lonely and dark and full of despair...

I can say with absolute, 100% certainty that if you would've told me five years ago today, the day I began our new life in Georgia, that my life would look like this half a decade later - I would've told you that you were absolutely insane.

Never, in one hundred million billion years did I picture my life to take the turn that it did...

Living in that same house, just my kids and me, rebuilding our lives and making new memories and new dreams while filling the emptiness with every ounce of laughter we have inside of our bellies... and also finding myself alone in that same house every other weekend, surrounded by the deafening sound of silence.

So I don't say a lot of things with certainty anymore... my trust in my dreams and in my future and in love itself is still wavering, fear still outlines the pieces of my heart that have found their way back together.  But what I am certain of?  Jesus did not come and die for me so that I could live life defeated...

It's hard, you know?  Hard going at it alone with three littles, hard being a working-full-time-single-mom, and probably hardest still being in a town, heck, in a state, where I have ZERO family.

BUT.

I am happy.

And you know, if you would've told me that five years after I pulled into my driveway for the first time, my life would take that awful turn that it did, but that I'd fight like hell and get back on my feet and find my courage-filled-way and feel JOYFUL?  I would've told you that you were even crazier than before.

I sit here, reflective on the past five years in this small Georgia town... And in complete transparency, lately I have felt tempted to leave, to move back home, back to all of my immediate family - all of the people who, to me, hold the only promised, unwavering, and unconditional love I've ever known...

But maybe I am home?  
Maybe I've arrived exactly where God intended me to be? <3
All I know now is that it's
To Be Continued...

Monday, December 31, 2018

Highlighting 2018 --

Perhaps the hardest, most time-consuming, and my most favorite blog post to do all year long...

Highlighting the ending of 365 days.

I pour through the pictures I've taken each month, choosing one (or four!) to represent each... pictures that capture what life was like at that snapshot in time, pictures that embody where I was mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually... what my world looked like and felt like and sounded like...

So now, without further ado, here is how I choose to remember each month of 2018 --

 January:
We began.  It was a month in which my trio and I embraced newness, a second chance, a fresh start, a clean slate.  An ending creating a beginning, laying a foundation on which we were bound and determined to build our new joy while stepping toward the sunshine.

February:
And when I started feeling alone and scared and overwhelmed... my brother and his wife showed up, fixing things and cooking things and cleaning things and arranging things and wrapping their arms around us in all the ways we needed.  This - this is how I remember February.

March:
Because my three little superheroes gave me the strength I needed to find my own superhero powers to be who they needed me to be, day in and day out. #thankyoucoffee #andhappyhour

April:
One of the most memorable months of the year (and of my life) included (my first!) tattoo to represent my choice to keep going, keep living, keep believing, keep hoping... during a girls' trip that restored my soul more than they'll ever know. <3


May:
Splashing into and welcoming a summer that promised to be full of lots of fun and lots of less-scheduled, unplanned days.


June:
I painted my front door yellow, and I spent more time away from my babies than I ever have in their entire lives.  I cried and prayed and hurt and worried and felt allllll the emotions... and honestly my heart ached until they were back in my arms, in front of that hope-filled, joy-promising, yellow front door.


July:
My favorite place, with my favorite people.  No other words needed.


August:
 A new school year for my first-grader, a new job for me (back in my very own third grade classroom!), a new preschool for the boys, a new feeling in my once-shattered soul for a man who completely caught me and my heart off guard...

September:
Survival.  That's how I remember September.  See: extracurricular sports.  See also:  Vegas trip with my family.  Again... survival.  But also?  SO good.
October:
The first of what will likely be many casts for my wild, life-loving caboose.  Trying to find any available minute in my nonstop days to snuggle my trio.  And falling absolutely, head-over-heels in love with my work wife.  Who truly does inspire me to make lemonade out of lemons. #seewhatididthere

November:
My most favorite month, because it holds my most favorite holiday. #thankful

December:
And finally, the month full of holiday magic.  A month during which I found time to be still, to breathe in my family, my blessings, my wild and crazy trio, and my broken yet beautiful life...

"See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19

Goodbye to a year that was full of pain and stress and times I wasn't sure how to keep taking steps forward... but a year that was also full of surprises and hope and a heart that began to feel things it never thought it would feel again... a year during which I grew in my faith and in my ability to be brave... a year during which I dug deep into my soul to learn about and accept and love myself for just exactly who I am, who God intended me to be. <3  Because maybe -- just maybe -- heartbreak and disappointment happen so that we can find our way home? --

Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas to You and Yours, from Me and Mine


 "He has made everything beautiful in its time."
Ecclesiastes 3:11
  Merry, Merry Christmas!!