Peace

This morning we were out of coffee and we have house guests so I went on an early morning coffee run.

I drove here with the windows down and the radio off. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I was alone with my thoughts.

The cool early morning breeze was invigorating on my bare arms. The sun was barely up and the city was still sleepy and just starting to come awake. The days have been hot and the cool morning air was a welcome change.

When I arrived at my favorite coffee shop, which is always busy, I was the only one there and it was quiet. The internet had gone out so there was no music – only the occasional sound of the espresso machine.

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In the quiet, sleepy morning with the warm morning sun streaming through the window, I was overwhelmed by this sense of peace. I felt like I was meeting God for a surprise coffee date.

See, we haven’t had a lot of peace in our lives lately.

In addition to having a two year old and three year old, and an overcommitted daily routine, we have two dying dogs, which is taking a big emotional toll, especially on my husband. We just spent ten days over the 4th of July in DC, where we stuffed every day full of activity. We came back and immediately jumped into hosting a 65th birthday bash for my mom and sharing our house with my sister, her husband and four kiddos. It’s fun. It’s loud and crazy and chaotic. It’s busy. We love having them here.

But there’s not a lot of space for peace.

I’m just beginning to realize the value of peace. I’m an extrovert so I’m energized by being with people. I’ve spent my whole life focusing on my relationships with people. But there’s something – some connection with God – that only happens when everything else is quiet. And it’s very, very special. And very rare in my life.

I need to change this.

I do not know how but I need to create more places for this peace in my life. I want more moments like this. I want to intentionally make space for peace – for God – in this crazy life I live.

Because it’s in these moments of peace that I see Him most clearly.

Thrift Store Treasures

photo credit: Nomadic Lass via photopin

photo credit: Nomadic Lass via photopin

I grew up in a home where very little was thrown away.

I mean we reused everything.

We saved foil … just folded it up and stuck it in a drawer. We reused ziploc bags. The same bags for years (at least it seemed like years.)  After the zipper didn’t work we just rubber banded the top. We saved bread bags and twisty ties and those little flat plastic things that hold the bread bags closed. We saved plastic containers – you know the kind …

Continue reading at:

http://prcladiesfirst.com/2014/05/29/thrift-store-treasures/

A Good Friday for Kids

 

AshWednesdayCrossGood Friday always makes me feel a little sick to my stomach.

Growing up, I wasn’t even aware that it was a thing. We didn’t get the day off school. All I knew about it was:

Two days before Easter which meant two days until candy!

It wasn’t until I was an adult, working at a Christian ministry, that I even realized there was something special about the day. When they told me I didn’t have to come to work and they’d pay me anyway, I knew the day was unique.

So now that I’ve realized the significance of today – what we’re actually remembering on Good Friday – I always feel sad on this day. It’s weird to have a holiday where you feel sad. A day of remembering. Maybe like Memorial Day for some people.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make this day meaningful for my kids. How do I help a two and three year old understand what today means? The world’s certainly not helping. I walked through the Easter aisle at the grocery store the other day and was surrounded by pastel bunnies and shelves and shelves of candy. And not one single cross or reference to Christ.

I get that they’re little and expecting that they can understand things like crucifixion and atonement is ridiculous. But I do want them to understand that today is special. That without Good Friday, Easter means nothing. All the meaning of Easter is found in Good Friday. So I want to teach them the significance of today.

And even though it really has little to do with the life-changing events a couple thousand years ago, of course on Sunday we’re doing Easter baskets for them. And while as a general rule we try to avoid sugar, we’re even doing candy.

I want them to understand that Easter is a party. A day to celebrate! And we only celebrate because today happened.

But they’re two and three. So even though I’m feeling a little bit nauseous today, thinking about all that happened not that long ago, I know my kids will get the gravity of today soon enough. Today I’m going to let them be kids.

We’re going to the zoo.

Go Read Me Over There

Guess what?

I’m a contributor on a new blog. (As if I needed something else to fit on my plate, right?)

My first post was featured yesterday and has generated some good conversation. Thankfully none of it has been about the huge picture of my face.

So anyway I just wanted to let you know … I’m still writing. And I’ll be back to posting here soon.

Of Showers and Such

Things have gotten pretty heavy around here lately, huh? I guess when I’m sharing about life stuff it’s bound to be messy.

I’ve been thinking it’s time for a lighter post. So I’ve decided to tell you about our bathroom remodel. Because really I can’t think of much that’s lighter than talking about a bathroom.

We moved into our house three and half years ago. And when we bought it, it was pretty much move-in ready. That was one of the things that was appealing to us about the house. Besides a couple small things, the changes we wanted to make were purely cosmetic.

Like paint … remember this?

However, there was one room in the house which we never really liked. The master bathroom. It’s not even worthy of the word “master.” It’s more like a small hallway with a toilet, two sinks and a shower smooshed into it.

It’s so small I couldn’t even take a picture of it because I couldn’t get far enough away.

In addition to the inconvenient size, there was a aquamarine laminate countertop. Which I made worse by, in a unexplained lapse of any decorating sense, painting the walls asparagus green. (I blame it on pregnancy brain.) There was a door to a tiny little toilet room in which you literally had to sit down in order to close the door. There was a shower with white tile, moldy grout and a totally useless seat. To top it all off, a wall-sized mirror magnified the ugliness.

Witness the atrocity..

Asparagus green paint shown in the wall-sized mirror.

Asparagus green paint shown in the wall-sized mirror.

Aquamarine countertops.

Aquamarine countertops.

Shower with a totally useless seat.

Shower with a totally useless seat.

Once we decided against moving to Portland, we figured it was time to do something about the horrid bathroom. Although we didn’t have many options in the way of moving walls or reconfiguring things space-wise, we could at least update them.

So we did.

The new shower. Love. It.

The new shower. Love. It.

We replaced the in-the-way door with an archway.

We replaced the in-the-way door with an archway.

Our new dresser-style vanity.

Our new dresser-style vanity.

I know, in the grand scheme of life, a newly remodeled bathroom isn’t really that big of a deal. But sometimes little changes make a big difference. And in some ways, this feels like a fresh start, a good parallel of what’s going on in our life.

Next up on the remodel list … our “walk-in” closet.

P.S. We know a really great general contractor if anyone needs a recommendation. He goes above and beyond in every way. He even shoveled our driveway one morning when Chris was gone.

Relearning Love

Somewhere in the four and half years, amidst buying a house, having two children, mourning my dad, and starting a new job, I forgot how to love my husband.

It actually surprised me that it took only four years. I’d heard about the “seven year itch” so I expected to have a few more years at least before we were so broken that I wanted out.

But apparently when you pack life so full of major changes, it doesn’t take as long.

And really all that happened is that I lost the ability (or desire) to focus on him – to truly care about his heart. When we were dating, it was easy. I was able to set aside my own stuff because I so wanted to care for him. It’s not just that I was putting my best foot forward. Loving him was pure joy. It made me deliriously happy to know that I had such a unique role in his life.

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But even early on in our marriage, I lost sight of that. Little hurts began to pile up and I quickly started focusing on myself. On my hurt. On what I wasn’t getting. On my own damaged feelings. And these things soon became all-consuming. The more I focused on myself, and my own junk, the less I was able to care for him. I forgot that my primary purpose as a wife was to take care of my husband’s heart.

It’s no wonder that so many marriages fall apart.

Even though we’ve both committed to never even consider the “D” word, I was alarmed with the direction our marriage was heading. We were speeding toward an emotionally dead relationship where I had my walls built sky high in an effort to protect my own hurt heart.

But God. (Isn’t that the best phrase ever?)

God puts certain people in our lives for very specific times and purposes. Many times they’re probably not even aware of their God-appointed role. He orchestrates little, seemingly random details into circumstances that, only when seen in hindsight, make perfect sense,

One Sunday we were sitting (right next to each other, yet I felt as if I were emotionally a million miles away) in the front row at church, and the guy who was speaking – someone we consider both a friend and a leader – opened up in a moment of complete vulnerability and shared about his own past struggles to love his wife.

Imagine that.

A man – a pastor, no less – brave enough to share with our entire church that he struggled to love his wife. He mentioned some counseling that they’d done and simply said “Sometimes you need help. It’s okay.” Then he went on to preach his sermon.

His words, so brief and simple, resonated deeply with me. It was like, even though he was speaking to the entire church, his words were meant just for me. As if God was saying, “Becky … I hear you. You’re not alone. What you’re feeling is normal. And there’s hope.”

So we met with the counselor. Over several weeks, she helped me reset where I had derailed. She reminded us what it means to truly focus on someone and care for their heart. She helped us identify each others’ core pain points, understand where they originated, and know how to recognize when we’d triggered one.

This stuff sounds simple, I know. But when it’s done correctly, it is life-changing. Literally.

Things are still not perfect. I have a long way to go and a lot of lifelong habits to change. But now I also have hope. I’m hopeful that we’re headed towards a beautiful, God-focused, life-giving marriage.

And I can’t wait.


If you’re interested in more about the counseling program, check out The Dunamas Center