Brave While Waiting

This isn’t the post that I wanted to write.  This is the post I feel as though I have to write. I wanted to wait until everything was wrapped up in a neat little glittery bow.  So far, such a moment hasn’t happened.

I was reading Let’s All Be Brave by Annie Downs.  Some of her words really resonated with me.  Now, I regularly connect with my beloved books, but this was extraordinary.  God was using the book to speak to me.   Have you ever felt his tender mercy just tug at your heart strings?

 

The waiting is almost over.

 

I didn’t need to ask about which thing from my list of prayers and desires that I was specifically being encouraged about. It could be anything.  It could be all the things.  It could be some of the things.  Relentless hope will do that to you.

Yet, as I write out these words, from my point of view, it is still the messy middle.  I get so tired of being in the middle.  I keep wondering when I am going to see these big changes in my life.  Maybe it is not the big changes that I should be looking for, but the thousands of little changes that are paving the way.

I wonder how others perceive me.  I wonder if they can sense my frustration and angst. I wonder if they look at me and think about how silly I am to keep on looking for the future with hope when nothing changes.  I wonder if they think me odd for not trying another way.

I know what has been promised to me.  I know there is a reason why life has taken me on this specific path.  I know that I cannot rush God’s timing, no matter how much I plead.  I read over and over in the Bible about people who got tired of waiting for God.  It never turns out well for them.  I do not want to be like them.

Until I get a very specific word to lay a dream aside (or it comes true, obviously), I am going to keep on believing.  I am going to keep on hoping. 

I’ve been called worse things than silly.  I have been judged and pitied before. It would mean the world to me if you could be a part of my tribe and support me.  If not, I don’t need your pity.  I need people who are willing to watch alongside me.  Watch me and see how God’s plans are unfolding. Watch and be amazed.

The Beach is my Happy Place

On the first Saturday in June, I took the BF to the boardwalk so we could play mini golf.  The boardwalk looked way better than it had looked in December.  

Of course, I also wanted to go to the beach. Neither of us brought beach gear or bathing suits.  I also had left the beach tags at home.  Dad pays for the beach tags for the family so there is no way that I would pay extra for day passes.

Since that day was not going to be a true beach day, I immediately made plans to spend a day with the sand in my toes ASAP.  Last Friday was the day.  I was already on Summer Break and my only commitment was to get an oil change.

It was a wonderful day.

Vision

It is not uncommon for me to see a memory vividly and recall lots of details.  I regularly indulge in creative writing and artistic endeavors.  I read many stories, both for my own enjoyment and as part of my job.

It would be just another day in the life if I were to tell you about a strong memory. This was a little different.

It was a Friday night and I was watching some of my favorite relaxing TV shows.  It had been a long week.  It had been a long stretch of weeks.

I had been striving and hustling toward my big dreams and goals like nobody's business. It is tiring to constantly give and not feel as though you are getting anywhere.  I had been praying throughout this whole time, but even those pleadings had become stagnant.

All my problems were going to have to wait.  I was not dealing with anything at that moment.  One evening a week is dedicated to self-care and relaxing.

I snuggled up with a cozy blanket on my favorite spot on my favorite couch. That's when it happened.

For about three seconds, I saw a crystal clear mental picture of myself in the middle of one of my biggest dreams coming true.  I sensed an overwhelming sense of peace and comfort.  This will come true expeditiously.

As I tried to reclaim this fleeting moment, I remembered a dream that I had dreamed many years ago about my future.  In the dream, there was an obvious missing piece.  The vision exactly filled the dream.

Now, as I am writing and rewriting this blog, there were some concerns that my inner editor had.

I hesitate to use the word vision.  There are some specific connotations associated with the word vision.

vision2.jpg

This isn't when I say that I see a bell or some other common object and interpret it to mean something or another.  This isn't a calling or a decision to go anywhere. This isn't a plan or a set of action steps to reach a goal.

This is a crumb.  This is a preview of something big that is brewing in my life.  This is as close as I am going to get to having something tangible to reassure me that God's promises are true.  

This is a gift. For three seconds, God reached down from Heaven and into my heart. He did not reveal all the details so I can continue to trust Him, but shared just enough for the moment.

Usually, I hear God's sweet whispering voice.  Usually, I feel His presence surrounding me and leading me. Usually, His Word resonates with my soul. But He is far bigger than my expectations.  He will reach out to His children any way He can.

By now, you probably want to hear some of the fancy description I alluded to throughout the whole post. You are just going to have to wait a few more days.  I have to save something for a future post.  ;)

P.S.  This had absolutely nothing to do with lobsters. Please do not be concerned about me, thinking I have some deep dreams and subsequent issues about sea life.  I just like this photograph.

Summer Craft Goals

Today marks the first day of my summer vacation. I could share of all the places I want to go and the things I want to do. Let's be real here. One can only use so many words to say that I want to be at the beach.

While I doubt that this blog will transform from a lifestyle and faith blog into a DIY blog, I do want to spend some time this summer working on AND completing various craft projects. 

I haven't been spending as much time on my creative hobbies as I would have preferred lately.   Summertime means a break from work, so I can spend hours and hours focusing on crafts and creative endeavors.  Even when I will be working later this summer, it will only be part time hours.

Also, I have quite the stash of craft supplies that need to be used.  They are not meant to be sitting around the house.  They are meant to be used and appreciated.  It is my aim that I utilize my current supplies as much as possible instead of buying even more stuff. 

Many of the fabric that I have is left over from when I attempted to start an Etsy shop. There is still a teeny tiny part of my brain that hopes I will be able to curate some little online shop for the holiday season.  The logical side of my brain thinks this is a crazy pipe dream.

Ideally, I would like to have at least one finished project each week. Some weeks may see more work than others.  I also do not want to work at such a pace that I exhaust myself or turn one of my beloved hobbies into something that I dread.

My craft goals are to complete:

  1.  A Kimono from a scarf
  2.  A tee- shirt dress or two
  3.  A green sundress
  4.  A midi skirt
  5.  A shrug
  6.  A flowing summer top
  7.  Some scarves
  8.  Update scrapbooks
  9.  Hand lettering prints
  10.  Watercolor canvas
  11.  Watercolor prints
  12.  A quilted blanket

Anyone have any good sites for DIY tutorials?  What else can I transform a scarf into?

More Thoughts About Big Bang Theory

I have been a fan of the wildly popular The Big Bang Theory since the first season. A while back, I shared some of the similarities between Amy Farrah Fowler and myself.  The more I think about it, there is a lot from this show that is totally realistic.

Bernadette's character usually wears floral dresses, cropped cardigans, and tights.  I appreciate the style as it is both flirty and yet appropriately covered up.  I draw tons of inspiration from her outfits.  I also love the fact that even one of the most popular shows on TV cannot find pants to fit someone who is only 5 foot 0 inches tall.

If they can't find properly fitting pants, then I might as well stop trying.  

If you watch some of the early episodes, and then watch the current season, you might pick up on the fact that cast members weight sometimes fluctuates.  Clothes can sometimes fit snugger than perhaps they should.  There is no big deal that is being made.  It is what it is.  I enjoy this subtle show of support for body acceptance.  They  don't have to be perfect and neither should any of us.

Penny's hair went through the awkward growing out a pixie cut phase.  Her friends still went out in public with her.  I know this is such a small thing, but it really helps me to connect with the characters as though they were real people.  My hair does awkward things all the time.

The Good Ole College Days

Ten years ago,  I was a sophomore in college.  It had been a rough semester. I was sad and mopey because I felt so alone.  Let me preface this story by assuring everyone that I had plenty of friends. 

It seemed like everyone else was falling in love and I was missing out.  It is really rough being an oddball in a land of couples.  

There was one big problem with my plan to find love.  That would be a certain lack of eligible gentlemen in my circle of friends.  Neither of my majors drew a lot of guys.  The ladies outnumbered the guys at about a three to one ratio in our Christian Fellowship group.  

I decided, in my spare time, that I was going to find an amazing guy by shear willpower.  That plan sort of completely failed.  

I was so focused on finding someone to love that I missed out on appreciating my friends.  Guy friends proved themselves to be indispensable those next two years. This was especially true once we had established that romance was off of the table. We could help each other and just be at peace. 

College friendships were the only way many of us ladies kept our sanity. I remember how we spent hours of a drive up to upstate NY trying to figure out the boys we were interested in at the time. We discussed all the feelings and all the drama.

Here is the thing: none of us stayed in relationships with those boys

Let's let that information sink in for a minute.  You are still finding yourself in college. How can you know what kind of guy will suit you best if you don't know who you are yourself?

We also tried driving fast to catch up with a car full of college guys but my car could not drive any faster. We saw those same guys at the retreat a little while later. We did not feel brave enough to tell them of our futile attempt at getting their attention.

 

I did not know it then, but some of my college friends would help me immensely after college. After reconnecting with a college friend, I started meeting her mid-twenties circle of friends. One friend that she made an especial effort in telling me about happened to have a similar sense of humor as me. He had turned out to be quite special.

 

It took longer than I wanted to arrive at this point in life. However, the timing has proved to be absolutely perfect.

Praise God

It had been a hard stretch of days.  Nothing terribly out of the ordinary had happened, but it was just mentally taxing.  It was in the midst of what I know to be one of the most challenging times of the year for me.  

Every year, it gets better.  "It" might change from year to year, but there are still some patterns that repeat. I know full well what is on the other side of my toil, but it is just out of my reach.

I deliberately found rest in the midst of all my busyness. I refused to let the shame and guilt that I should be doing something productive go away.

Some days are just tough.

I focused on the negative side of the equation.

I fiercely sought God because I know from experience that prayer was the only solution.

After a full night of sleep, I felt better.  Even if nothing in my situation had changed, this day was a new opportunity.

I still wanted answers.  I still wanted something to change. The prayer was constantly on my mind as I went about my daily routine.

The positive side of the situation was so obvious now.  And how it was a moment to praise God!

He is always caring and working in our lives, even when we don't realize it.  There is always a reason to praise God if we look at our situation the right way.

Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
— Psalm 150:1-2

May Blogger Love

In case you forgot, here are two positive self-image reminders.

Another way in which to stop the comparison game.

I love Amber's honesty as she works out her faith.

Let's celebrate the little things.

I love how Nina shares how one of her favorite songs keeps inspiring her over and over.

Kaycee has some encouraging words for when plans change.

This is a great reminder about confidence.

Even the best of us can have a bad night where we feel sorry for ourselves, even though life is generally great.

Chelsea and her husband were able to swim with dolphins on their vacation.

Because teachers are rock stars.

Ashten shares her story of friendship and being accepted.

Holley reminds us to believe the best and not the worst.

Amber reminds us how to love our bodies.

May Was Awesome

May was awesome because I went to a Kentucky Derby party and got to wear my favorite random hat again.

A little someone decided that my hat was awesome and kept trying to take my hat.  

May was awesome because we had a birthday party for Suz via video chat, although it was later than we had hoped.

May was awesome because we created an ocean mural to decorate our Sunday school classroom.

May was awesome because Mom loved the bracelet I bought her for Mother's Day.

May was awesome because Susan is back home!!!

May was awesome because of all the pretty flowers in bloom.

May was awesome because it was PreK/ K's field day last Friday.  The kids had a great time all day.  One of the favorites was when I sprinkled them over and over with the hose. (Too bad you can't see their faces. They are pure joy.)

What awesome things are you celebrating right now?