Monday, October 31, 2011

31 Days of Letting Go: Bringing it Home

I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. Matthew 25:35b


Somewhere around day 20 of this Letting Go series, I knew: talk was great, words can change things, but action is where it's really at. I'd lay in bed at night with the sheets up to my chin and the streetlamps bright enough to read by and I'd dream big. I did it with you in mind. I started to think that maybe we could be a part of something big together.

So, let's build a well for a community that needs one. I think we can.

It costs $10,000 to dig a proper well large enough for a community of roughly 500 families. $10,000. That's a lot of zeros. Does it scare you a little? Me, too.

Maybe it will focus our minds on the truth of the upcoming Christmas season. Maybe in giving and saving and scrimping and sacrificing and giving even more, our hearts will beat a new kind of truth. Maybe we can let go of all of the excuses we'll inevitably make and just do this thing.

Who knows, maybe we'll build two wells.

Be reminded that you, me, we're all wealthy. We can go this very minute to our faucet, turn it on, and walk away. We can send it on down the drain and not think twice. We have been given much, so let's give back. Let's give water - Life.

Don't do it because you feel bad, or because it will make you feel better. Do it because it's necessary.

The fundraiser is set up for six months, though I think we can best it. I'll be posting updates and reminders moving forward.

Homies, I'm excited! To say that we helped channel clean water to a community that had none? Amazing.

Let's pray it up and beg for changed hearts. Let's prop toothpicks in our eyes until we see the world beyond our little corner and refuse to look away. Let's take hold of this opportunity to be used by Christ. He loves us all the same, you know. Us and them, we're related. Let's give them water.

Since I'm all-things-nontechnical, I enlisted the help of our friend, pastor/graphic designer Ryan*. (That's his voice behind the camera here.) With precious little guidance from me, he created a perfect logo for this project.

Click the logo or here to enter the Flower Patch Farmgirl fundraising page through Samaritan's Purse. I will also have the grab-button linked on my sidebar very soon.

On your mark, get set...GO!



* If you're in the market for a button for your blog or a project of your own, Ryan would be happy to help! Contact him at rynodesignstudio@gmail.com .


**All photos straight from the lens of my sister.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Results



In the past nine months, we have welcomed into our hearts two loveable teenagers who often make us want to pull out our hair - and theirs.

In the past three months, both of the loveable teenagers have been kicked out of school - an alternative school - and had a general outbreak of various ills and woes. Both have lost initiative and probably a good bit of hope. Both have made poor choices and attempted more than once to shut us out.

As Cory said, we seem to be just one rung above rock bottom.

You would think it wouldn't work this way, right? I know I saw it ending differently.

I remember sending out a heartfelt email full of encouragement and sap and the very next day, things turned around, for the better. I felt like maybe, just maybe, our love here was making a quiet little difference. It felt good to sit in that belief for a while.

But it didn't last long and it only made the free-fall a sadder one.

I'm a girl who likes results. I'm competitive and I keep track of my progress. I do most of my keeping track in secret, it's just for me. But I always know. I was good at sales, in the olden days, mostly because I liked working with something so measurable. Come election season, I watch the polls like a hawk. I'm a sucker for a come-from-behind-win, but that win - it's got to be there. I need at least a glimmer up at the horizon.

So this stuff with the kids? It feels like losing. It feels like an omen. If I didn't know better, it could feel like a strong "give it up", or a "why bother?"

Have you ever felt that way? Maybe you work your tail off at your job and success keeps hiding. Maybe someone else ends up with the credit - they grab your results and wear them as their own. Maybe you have a special needs child and the milestone shows up like a glittery grain and you have to strain your eyes to see it, or they say ADD and it feels like an assault on you, the Mommy. Maybe you have an adopted child and you're seeing everything in reverse. It could be a work of art that no one else appreciates, a bad review, six months of counseling but the marriage unravels anyway. It might be foreclosure. Dinner in the trash. Tipping the scales. It might be the best post you've ever written and not a single comment.

Every day, every day, we measure and we track. We hinge our joy and our purpose on that positive correlation - if I try harder, the trend ticks up.

But what if we embraced the big mystery, all of the places we were not meant to see - at least not for now? We say we believe that there's a reason for everything, that God never wastes pain. What if we lived that way? What if we believed that poor results are sometimes best, sometimes necessary? What if we opened our hand to the idea that God doesn't have time for numbers, that he measures success in the subtle shift of the soul, or in tears, or in heartbreak, or belly laughs?

I'm choosing to believe, beyond all that I see in front of me, that this thing we've been doing - this thing that looks like failure and inspires us to joke - I'm believing that it's a huge, confetti-specked success. I'm choosing to walk in what is true, and then, to keep on walking.

You with me?


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Ourselves



It is almost nine o'clock right now and I should be making chicken stock. I mean, shouldn't we all be making chicken stock, if we're being honest?

I read the recipe twice. Made my list. Shopped.

And now? Now I see that it calls for an onion. An onion that I do not have. Leave it to Paula Deen to get all exotic on me on a Saturday night. Blasted Paula with her double-blue eyes and her snooty onions.

I could probably bum an onion off of a friend here in town. But that wouldn't solve my second soup problem, which is that my whole fryer has to be cut up. Who the heck knows how to cut up a whole fryer? Not me, that's who.

It would all be fine, except that Robert is coming for lunch tomorrow and no one brings out my inner Paula quite like him. We haven't seen as much of him since he's been out of school and he mentioned that he hasn't been feeling well. 1 + 2 = Paula Deen's chicken noodle soup.

Do you see what has happened here? Love walked in.

I remember the first time I met Robert, just nine months ago. What on earth would we talk about? Well, we didn't talk about a whole lot, but ribs and cheesecake have a way of eliminating the need for extraneous words. He surprised me, that night. He was taller, broader than I had expected. He was more at ease and open than I expected. He hopped out of our van in the dead of winter in a t-shirt and everything in me wanted to toss him a puffy coat. I know now (probably knew it then, too) that he's not a puffy coat kind of guy.

It's amazing how one night, one conversation, one single look can change everything. In no time flat there's a brand new person with a stake on your heart. You're a goner.

And all of this joy and this new reason to worry and this unexpected, complicated, heart-breaking gift because we decided to let go of ourselves just a little.


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Expectations



No one ever promised us that adopting our children would be a simple thing. I didn't expect to whisk Silas into the mix and then just go about my happy business.

I knew it would be really, really hard.

For like six months.

And then it would be sort of hard for another six.

Then we might have a few bad days over the next six months.

Then we'd be home free.

We'd be in "regular parenting" territory then, which is never a slice of pie. It always requires effort and attention. It can be frustrating sometimes, exhausting often. But the dark, bruisey days would be over.

We've had Silas with us for 19 months. My extremely generous timeline for unfavorable behavior has expired, and we're still registering a solid Month Ten. At least this week.



It's been one of those weeks that used to find me feeling bullied and defeated, but now, after much practice, I simply feel bone-tired. It has worried me, the way I've learned to compartmentalize. It has concerned me at times, the way my patience grips the very edge with its fingernails.

This adoption thing? It can be lonely business. It's hard to find the kind of everyday support that I crave, not because people in my life are unwilling to offer, but simply because it's different.

When these hard weeks come, I sometimes feel judged. She should be doing things differently. I feel inadequate. I'm tired of screwing up. I feel defensive. He's had a difficult life. I feel exasperated. What will it take for him to start to understand how this stuff works? I feel rejected. My kid doesn't love me.

I feel all of those things, at times. They are my knee socks, my jeans, my gray T. I wear them well. They fit just right, at this point and they're surprisingly comfortable.

But then I pull on my love for my child. I zip certainty up to my chin. I ball up my hands and shove them into Promise.



I walk in the sunny-day truth that I often know the right thing and choose the wrong anyway. I do not always obey the very first time. I shove and kick when I'm scared, or when I think my idea was better.

And still, just as I love my angel-lashed boy, I am loved.

I could never have known for sure what this journey would look like or how it would feel. I might have run screaming for the hills had I understood that it would be this hard this long. That is the thought that threatens to break me. I might have turned my back on one of the blessings of my life. I might have missed the moment where he turns to me and says, "I lu yew Mommy". I would have missed stifling a laugh when he looks up at me and says all mean and sassy, "I tickle yew". (He finally understands that "I spanka yo bottom" wasn't working for him, so he improvises now.)

So, I'm learning to let go a little. I'll not take personal the days where he wakes up spitting mad at me and the world, because these days come in waves. I'll ride it out knowing that maybe tomorrow, or next Monday, he'll smile straight into my heart and giggle me through my day.

Every day is a step in the right direction, even when it's hard.

Every day is a chance to remember that God honors this work. He honors it full. He cheers us on, reminds us that the dark days move faster if you dance a little.

Every day is one more opportunity for grace - for all of us.


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Days: It Still Feels Suspiciously Easy



I drove past my old digs on the way home tonight. There's nothing that pulls my heart in that direction, though I wouldn't say that I'm avoiding it, either.

The light was on in the toy room. The kitchen was lit all dim and eveningish, probably just the little light over the sink left on.

I got a twinge of homesickness, but I think it was mostly the dishwasher talking.

I pictured myself hugging my Pottery Barn hutch and petting my island. Just being honest.

Still, all the while, I didn't even slow the van down. I drove right past and into my little concrete driveway down the road. I live here now, and in a very strange way, it already feels like its been a lifetime.

Is this what a whirlwind feels like? I'm sure change can sometimes drag out long and agonizing. And maybe that has its merits. It would make for a more dramatic 31 Days series, that's for darn sure.

There's been nothing agonizing about this change. It has whipped me around so fast that my hair is still a wild bird's nest. It's been exhausting, but mostly painless.

I wish I could just end it there and skip of to bed, but I'm the girl who can't help but to imagine - just for a quick second - what it might be like if that car crossed the line and came right at me, or if my flat-iron accidentally lunged from the counter to the shower, with me in it. What if a strong gust of wind trips the switch while I'm fishing a spoon out of the garbage disposal?* It's morbid, yes, but it's also just a fact of my life. 'Tis the brain I was dealt.

So tonight, I'm mostly at peace. I'm thankful to the ends of the earth that God has prepared our hearts so fully, that He's prepared the way so entirely. But I'm also not dismissing the idea that maybe this is, in some way, the calm before the storm. Hey, it's possible.

Also? Five Days. Five more days of Letting Go. Thank you for saying that you're enjoying it, but just know that I've been keeping a list of normal/mundane/ridiculous things that I'm itching to talk about. The madness will be unleashed in Five. Days. !!!!!!!

I almost want to spring for a sheet-cake.


* I do miss my garbage disposal something fierce. So sue me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of My Definition of Big



When we finally summoned our courage and decided to put our house on the market, I gave it one week, tops. The way I figured, God was just waiting on us to do our part, then he could continue on with His business. Once our act was together, it wouldn't take him long at all.

As we know, that didn't happen. Instead, I spent the next 14-odd months writing whiny, morose posts about how stinking hard it is to wait.

I was also secretly thinking that God had dropped the ball a little. How cool would it have been to make the big announcement that we were selling and then turn right around and scream "SOLD!" Everyone's heads were already spinning, why not make them spin in double-time?

God had an opportunity to show off and he blew it a little.

I am prone to believing that I would make a pretty great event-planner for God. I'd like to be His office manager. His Executive Assistant. The Deputy Assistant to the Chairman of the Universe. I have such good ideas, why doesn't He consult me more often?

I thought for sure (for a while) that the reason for our move would-be-should-be something big and crazy-scary. Maybe we'd wake up one morning half a world away. Maybe we'd go super far, or risky dark. We've all heard those stories. I wanted it to be me. I wanted to be stretched so thin that I was see-through in the middle. I wanted to see for myself what God could do in us, but it had to be Big stuff. BIG.

So, fast becomes slow and trans-continental turns into the town next door and when all is said and done, he's turned everything on its ear, including me. (It's uncomfortable here, on my ear.) God blows right through the big, braggy box I've put him in and says again that all of His work is big and that he doesn't need my coaching on how to show off, after all.


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Hurt (A Guest Post)

{My friend Courtney is sharing today about her Letting Go journey. Holla, Cee Cee!}

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Every now and then my husband and I engage in extremely poignant conversations. They go like this: Me: I don’t think that lady likes me.

Him: Why would you say that?

Me: Remember that one time, six years ago she made that comment about that thing I said?

He shakes his head.

Me: I can’t believe you don’t remember that.

Him: I can’t believe you do.

It’s true. When it comes to “keeping a record of wrongs,” I’ve got a mind like a steel trap. (When it comes to housework, my mind is more like Jello.)

I was born into this God-stuff. I “asked Jesus into my heart” when I was five…and again when I was ten just to be sure. My testimony isn’t earth shattering. I didn’t hit rock bottom only to find His hand waiting for me at the edge of a puddle of my own mess. For all intents and purposes, I’m as boring as an empty pickle jar.

But unlike pickles, I have a clean, fresh scent.

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The point is, I should know better. Love keeps no record of wrongs. It’s not like it’s rocket science… so why is it so hard to let go of months - even year-old hurts? Years and years (and years) ago now, kids were mean to me…and I allowed it to shape every little thing about myself.

I’ll show them, I seem to say…as if they’re still paying attention. As if they’re still sitting beside me in the sixth grade.

How horrible to find out everyone else has moved on.

Last night, I was thinking about this post and it dawned on me that, like an unfinished dot-to-dot, I can trace the insults of the past. From my early years through high school into college, and some only a few months back. If they were contacts in my phone, I’d have them on speed dial. I spend so much of my extra time with these insults… I take them out for dinner or a quick coffee & dessert. We’re old pals, me and the hurts of the past.

I entertain them as if they deserve my undivided attention.

The hurts that came from trusted friends. Teachers. Pastors.

It’s hard to look back and find any justification for pain, which I think is why it’s hard to let it go. When the offender isn’t sorry, how do you walk away from it?

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The truth is, I don’t have the answers, but I know this for sure…holding on to my own angst is only tying my stomach into a knot…the people who’ve hurt me have long since forgotten—or perhaps never even knew. Some of them can’t admit they’ve done wrong to anyone, so why do I dwell on it and allow it to affect me? Crying out for justice in a world that isn’t listening while at the same time, turning a blind eye to the world that’s right in front of me seems a bit counterproductive, no?

I can’t think of a better way for us to stop and stay exactly where we are, feet lodged in the quicksand of offense, than to hold on for dear life to the hurts of the past…when really, all we need to do is

Let.

It.

Go.

God doesn’t want us hanging onto this drippy mess of hurt.

Just for a minute, imagine your heart…

When you were born, it was whole. Healthy. Life-giving. And little by little, with every hurt, a piece of it cracked off. Another piece turned black and shriveled. Yet another piece split off from itself and got a mind of its own.

Now imagine the hands of your Heavenly Father, picking up that heart and holding it like the precious thing it is. With one touch, he oh so gently restores life to the dead parts without judgment…because he understands that we’re working this thing out.

Now imagine that heart free of the bondage of hurt and pain…because let's face it...when we chain ourselves to our pain, we're never really free...

What does freedom look like? What does it feel like to stop lugging it around, like a too-heavy suitcase shackled to our back...

Why don’t we—you and I—let it go…and find out?


***

A&C2

Courtney is my blog friend turned in-the-flesh friend, by way of the ACFW conference last month. Over hours of burning-the-midnight-oil conversations, I knew she really understood this "Letting Go" business. If memory serves me, I waited until lights were out and we had finally agreed to call it a night before shouting out (and I really did have to shout - she sleeps in ear plugs) "Hey, you're writing a guest post for me next month!" It wasn't a question so much as a statement. I get bossy when I'm tired. Go get to know Courtney. She's the real bananas.


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of My Silence



It is with much reservation that I sit to type yet another word on Letting Go. More than all the others, this is the night that I most wanted to fling it all into deep waters and title my post "Letting Go of Letting Go".

It's been 24 days, and that's something. But I have nearly a week to go, and that's a whole 'nother something. So bear with me, if you would. We're in the homestretch. Maybe there's still a thing or two to learn.

I was alone in my car, driving to St. Louie when I knew for sure that I needed to write 31 Days of Letting Go. It all came to me in a rush and I jotted precariously at stop lights, returning home with a list where only 2/3 of the items made any sense at all.

Still, every single night, there's been something more to say.

I write these posts just as much for me as for you. I'm writing, as best I can, in real time. Each post is an honest assessment of what was likely weighing on my mind or lunging to be set free on that particularly day. Tonight, when I want so badly to just pack it all up, I'm reminded of where all of this really began.

It feels like a long time ago, and it was. Two years ago? Almost two? I don't know. All I remember is that I was sitting at my beloved Mazatlan with my friend Brooke. I'm not sure what preceded the conversation, but I remember saying, "I don't know why I don't blog much about my faith. I'm just not comfortable doing it. It' s not my thing."

I kid you not that within weeks, all bets were off and I was laying myself bare. What I didn't know that night, with my hand salty in the chip basket, was that I was months away from the upending of my world. I didn't have a stinking clue. Something small inside me shifted that night, then grew. I can't imagine this place any other way, now. How could I leave the biggest part of me unsaid? The real truth is, once I started talking, the truth got bigger. I put the words to page and then I fell in love. Truth is intoxicating like that. The more I told, the more I thought. The more I thought, the more I wanted.

What I have come to believe is that there's no solidarity in silence. I've never been encouraged by something I didn't hear. And in my vow of silence, I missed the most. I failed to really hear the bells clanging on the inside. I knew they were in there somewhere, but I never called them out to play. I didn't come face-to-face with them. We just kept to ourselves.

Sharing these closest places of my heart has felt risky. I've felt over-exposed, like I'm wearing the mini and the midriff, which is just never a good idea. I've had the urge to reign it in. I tried to tell myself on that long, glinting stretch across Illinois that I couldn't commit to 31 days of anything, and even if I could, it would have to be something funny or fun. After all, what could be more of a downer than day after day of letting go? 31 Days of Soup or Garlands sounded a whole lot more appealing.

I've missed yammering about the food I'm eating and the jokes I'm telling myself. But there's always November.

For now, I've been swept into a story, and I'm the only girl who can tell it, so that's what I'm here to do. And do. And do.

We have much to let go of, homies. It's stretching and scary and lonely and dizzying. But we won't be left empty-handed when the smoke clears. We'll look around at the cleaned out heart and notice how much bigger the place looks when the clutter's been hauled to the curb.

Share if you'd like, but promise me that you'll think about it hard and true: what is your silence costing you right now? What is the story that you're supposed to be telling? What is it that you need yourself to hear?


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

31 Days of Letting Go: Katie Davis Book Review

http://www.brookhillscollege.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Kisses-from-Katie1-300x300.jpg

I struggle to find new words to relay my journey of the past twenty months. What more can be said? I was slapped in the face by reality. For the first time ever, I touched the very edges of humanity, and I was surprised by the burn. In no time flat, the world didn't make sense any more. It was perplexing. Unfair. I didn't want everything to change. I was cozy under my blankets. I did my best, for a time, to jam the pieces together anyway. Oh, I'll make them fit. I'll still live right here, right in this safe place. I can share a chunk of my broken heart with them without actually going there...right?

Well, of course that didn't work. I knew it all along. Because once your heart changes the only thing left to do is let it lead. It wouldn't be right to trap a changed heart in an unchanged life. It would go back to its old way. It would forget the things it had learned. As much as that sounded safer and a lot less complicated to my mind, this changed heart beat back louder. It almost always wins, this heart.

So right now, right when I'm feeling my way through the aches and the thrills and the pinchy toes of change, I pick up Katie Davis's book and suddenly my life feels easier again, in contrast.

Here is a girl who really understands the dusty vaporness of this life.

She was a regular girl living cushy in the suburbs. She had a nice boy who loved her, the college of her choice on the horizon. Then she took a trip to Uganda and her heart split wide. Her passion to share the love of Jesus - the love that she herself knew - drove her heart to crazy ends. She wanted to stay.

Her parents said no. Her friends thought she was nuts. In time, they relented. She was allowed to go back, one last time, just to get it out of her system. Then she would return to the States and live the life they thought she was meant to live - a life of education, wealth, security. A life blind to the plight across the ocean. A life lead by her head and not her heart.

In the end, that's not the way it all went down. Over time, her parents' hearts changed, too. They let go of the dreams they held up in hope for their daughter and they allowed room for new dreams to take shape.

Katie is now in her early twenties. She is single. She sees to the basic care and education of 400 village children. She has adopted fourteen Ugandan daughters of her own. She is their Mama - forever.

My family, adopting these children, it is not optional. It is not my good deed for the day; it is not what I am doing to 'help out these poor kids.' I adopt because God commands me to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress. I adopt because Jesus says that to whom much has been given, much will be demanded (see Luke 12:48)...
-Kisses from Katie

She let go of almost every last thing. She lost her life so that she could find it.

She sees that God doesn't trace a line between his American children and his African children. We're all just His. We're all a family, we need to take care of each other.

This book, written in her own words, cuts to the heart of every emotion involved in laying it down, all of those things that we cling to to the death. She doesn't sugar coat. She talks about how hard it is to break into a culture so different from her own. She talks about the times she gets lonely. The times she gets tired. The times she wants to close her drapes to the death at her doorstep and take an eight-hour bubble bath. But mostly, she talks about the joy that she never even imagined. She talks about the fact that her life right now is a no-brainer.

She quotes Frederick Buechner, saying, "The place God calls us to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."

This is why it's not optional. This is why safety and seclusion are not a calling, even when we snap our eyes shut so tight and wish, wish, wish that they could be.

So the anxiety bubbles up a little, reading these words, because it's all so open-ended, the world's deep hunger so vast. Who knows where it is that God's calling me. It's enough to make me just a little jittery. But oh, to know that deep gladness. My heart beats faster at the thought.

Find Katie's book here. Pick up a copy. Pass it around. Let it change your heart. Then lead your heart lead on.


Read Katie's blog.

Support Amazima, Katie's ministry.



*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

31 Days: Letting Go of What I Thought I Was Made For



For some girls, their blood pressure lowers with a picture of a sandy beach or a sunset. For me, it's always been something like this, just a tree in a field. I like it extra-green. It makes me feel alive.

You might say that it has been the desire of my heart to live in a place like this, where my soul breathes the freest. For the longest time, that's what I thought, too.

Right now it's after midnight and I hope you'll give me a pass - this post wasn't technically written on Saturday. But I had a chance to see a late movie with Cory and I'm no fool, I took it. We saw The Ides of March, a political suspense drama. (a.k.a. Ryan Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman in one bless-ed place.) I loved it. Every bit of it. It harkened me back to some of my roots during my brief stint in the political realm. I used to have pie-in-the-sky aspirations of being a talking head, you know. I love the angst and the everything-changes-on-a-dime. It's exciting to me in a weird sort of way. It makes me feel alive.

When we left DC and then, ultimately, when Cory stopped working in politics, we willingly walked away from those things, so ready to be done. It's funny how an hour and thirty-eight minutes and a bag of popcorn can take me back. I could almost see myself with that clipboard in my hand and the night looming long ahead of me. That latent love bubbled right up.

So how does a girl go from Mass. Ave. to a corn field to a rental with a wonky decor?

Well, it's a long story. Too long for the hour.

But what I can say is this: I was created to love many things. Some of them make sense, others sort of don't. But none of them, in the end, are the desires of my heart, because those can't be packed up in a box or retired. Those go with me. I couldn't leave them behind if I tried.


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Certainty



Back in the good ol' days, when I thought I was so smart and on top of things, I enjoyed the sensation of believing that I could be certain about my place in life, my place in the world.

I believed my cute starter home paved the way to my forever home and henceforth, I began making proclamations that I would never move again, that I would never leave my town, that I would grow old and wrinkly at the end of that longish lane.

Well, who could've known that I'd wrinkle so prematurely?

I don't know what it is about this life that deceives us into believing that it's the big, bad point. This here? Is it. Or so we tell ourselves.

It's been a long road already and I'm not even close to the end of it, but I'm starting to finally catch a glimmery glimpse of the truth: we were never made for this.

And if that's true (it is), then there's no reason to get attached to things like a bank barn that could split your heart down the middle for all of its beauty in the hazy light of early morning. It's okay to appreciate these things. It would be foolish not to. But wide planked floors and flower gardens that stretch around a home like a hug are fleeting. They hold no promise, I've learned. So I'll make no promises to them.

I'll do something most improbable and I'll latch on to uncertainty. I'll buckle up and take a spin in the Fun House, where one minute things look short and squatty and the next they're all stretched out and wobbly, like that screaming Munch dude.

I don't know what's around the corner. Every time I think I do, I'm proven wrong.

Uncertainty can feel loose and shaky. Without the trust that it's being dealt by hands that won't ever let you fall, it will keep you company when the house is quiet and the halls are dark. It'll rob you of your appetite and creep up on you like a cold sore.

I still go there, all too often. I still get so wrapped up in me and my life that I forget that it's not up to me to unearth the answers or to fight to keep my world on its course.

So right now, when I feel just a bit adrift in the not knowing for sure, I remind myself again and again that I am simply a passenger on this flight. All I really have to do is believe that I'll arrive in one piece, wherever it is I'm headed, then skip down the aisle, so ready to be there, so excited to see what happens next.




*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Beige



I've already told you that prior to moving in I fancied this rental house my secret-hideaway vacation condo. I'm finding that it lives up to the hype, at least in some regards. It's quiet here (no home phone!) and it's small. And foreign. We feel tucked in and inspired to pick up a book.

I also believed that I would willingly embrace the fleetingness of this house. I would resist the urge to make it "me". I wouldn't care one bit that no one thought my digs were swoony. I would rise above it all. I'd prove to myself that I could.

Then we moved in, and my very first day I waged battle against The Beige. It's all beige, all the time, people. (And when it's not beige, it's swiney pink.)

I can do many things, it seems. I can wash dishes every night in the slow-draining sink. I can vacuum the kitchen and the mud room yet dust mop the bedrooms. I can step around puddles from leaky pipes.

I cannot bear the beige.










I was on an all-out hunt for color. Any thing. Any color. It didn't have to match. Functionality wasn't a requirement. I just. needed. some dadgummed orange. And blue. Etc.


So, the table is one of those six-footers from Sam's Club, but she's wearing her Thursday finest.

There's nothing pin-worthy happening up in this hood. You won't be impressed when you stop by and you don't have to pretend to be - it won't hurt my feelings.

As for me, I'm still busy learning. Today's lesson? When life hands you a beige rental, just sprinkle on a little confetti. You'll be fine.


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

31 Days: Letting Go of Obligations



Last night I fell into bed at 9:10. I was asleep by 9:11, I'm sure of it. And by somewhere around midnight, I was having the familiar dream that my right eyetooth was crumbling in my mouth.

I knew I had a post to write, but I just couldn't bear the thought. My nights have been lightening-fast this week, and they had finally taken their toll.

I have been, at times in my life, very bound to obligations. I pile and pile and pile stuff onto my plate and then the day comes when I fling that puppy like a frisbee and I just don't give a rip. So I'm not exactly the picture of "healthy balance".

The question I'm asking myself right now is, who am I really obligated to? Merriam Webster tells me that "obligation" means "a promise, a debt of gratitude". Well, the answers are obvious, yet I still need to tick down the list in my mind.

I'm obligated to God, to be faithful in His sight, to listen and hear, to allow Him to fill me so that I can serve when I'm tired and to go the heck to bed when my body is at its breaking point. This particular obligation means many things. It sometimes means different things on different days, but it always means faithfulness to that which I know is The Biggest Thing.

I'm obligated to my husband and my children. They get my time, my love, my effort and my willingness to stop and play even though playing isn't usually my first inclination.

I'm even obligated to those two almost-adult children who I have adopted into my heart over the past year. I'm obligated to love them even when they break my heart, and even when they do it the very same week.

There are obligations I have signed up for and there are obligations that defaulted to me. I am obligated today to find some Fall-themed napkins for Calvin's party tomorrow. I am obligated to buckle down and work on my book for a few hours later this morning, even if I'm not feeling particularly wise or witty. I'm obligated to press on with the potty training that I started earlier this week.

I'm not obligated to keep a magazine-worthy home or put a gorgeous meal on the table every evening. I'm not obligated to wear make-up every day. I am obligated to live a life of service, but I'm not obligated to say yes to every little thing that comes my way.

If you had hope that this post would hold the key to yanking off the hat of over-obligation and throwing it in the fire, then you may walk away disappointed, because I don't have good answers. I'm still searching for them myself.

It's important to follow through, to keep your word; but it's equally important to really know when enough is enough. It's critical to sometimes give yourself some grace, especially when you look behind you and still see the tail of a tornado whirring in your wake.

And so, it's back to square one, back to the One who began it all and put everything - even that tornado - in motion. My great hope right now is that in abiding there, the questions begin to answer themselves.


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Control


It should go without saying that often the Letting Go is not our idea.

Often, it is something we would have never chosen on our own.

Can we be okay with that? Do we really trust enough to believe that our ideas are meaningless and that we are safe in the hands of the One who sees it all, knows it all, created it all?


I like to tell myself that I do trust like that, but then I start to think of heartbreaking things and terrifying things so I just stop thinking. I don't want to go there, because it's too complicated and it gives me the blues.


And then I think of my children, who were never asked if they were on board with leaving their birth families. They didn't sign up to be estranged from their culture or severed from their roots. They didn't agree to a life where they might never completely fit.

A few weeks ago the most precious little boy played with Silas and Ruby in the waiting room of the doctor's office. After several minutes, he looked up at me and said, "Are you her Mama?" I told him I was. His eyebrows scrunched together. "Then why she black?"

I had to laugh a little. He was so innocent in his asking. He had never conceived of such a thing. Ruby kept right on playing, but I know the day will come when she'll turn to watch my reaction. She'll stand in wait of what I'll say and tune her ear to how I'll explain it.

Just this past weekend, Calvin said to me out of the blue (as always), "Why do I have to be so different? I'm the only one in my class who is not an American." I assured him that he is an American, but I knew what he meant. I wanted to dodge the issue, if I'm being honest, because though it's always important to have these talks, it's typically not fun.

The questions come without warning and there are no easy answers. I understand that my babies experienced forfeit that they can't even wrap their minds around yet, and I know the day is coming when they will. Will they be able to trust that God allowed pain in their lives in order to bring about His full purpose in them?

My conversation with Calvin took a turn when he said, "Last night in the middle of the night I couldn't sleep, so I put on my head lamp and started to read." (fyi, this was news to me.) "I opened up the Bible and I read, 'Man looks at the outside, but God sees the true heart'. I turned off my light and went back to sleep with the biggest smile on my face and I couldn't stop thinking about it." I asked him what he thought as he fell back asleep. He said, "I thought, I'm different, but I'm perfect. I'm different, but I'm perfect. I'm different, but I'm perfect."

That right there is God showing up in the middle of the quiet night to make His power known in the life of one of his children. I had no idea that Calvin was struggling with these things at school, but God knew he was and He knew he would, from the beginning of time. He knew these days would come and that the questions would cast their haze over the hearts of my babies. These thoughts break my heart a little, but can I really, truly believe that they break the heart of Jesus even more? Can I fathom that His love for them puts mine to shame?

So He knew the pain would come, and still they sleep right now, just down the hall from me. Gifts that I did nothing to deserve. Gifts that I might not have asked for on my own. They are grace embodied, jammied up in little beds.

Sometimes God makes hard choices for us. I want to rest in that tonight.


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of The Status Quo



I used to be the girl who tried to talk people out of doing crazy things because I was afraid of what it might mean for me. It made me feel nervous somehow. It made me feel like my life would become a blurry, muddy contrast to theirs; that my faith might somehow look smaller, or that (gulp) if God called them to crazy, might he also call me?

I felt safest when everyone stood with their toes to the line, never crossing it.

My sister went off to Africa and I had the nerve to tell her that she should be staying here; that she was deserting her culture; that it would be selfish for her to go (oh yes, I did.) I tried to make her feel guilty, though I never would have done so overtly. I was smart enough to be at least a little underhanded. Because if obedience to her meant doing something "wild", then how could I be obedient in the mundane?

What I know now is that the mundane often requires extra doses of obedience.

I also know that many of us are called to wild but too scared to listen.

I know that wild sometimes looks serene. I know that big sometimes gets lost in the haystack. I know church doesn't always happen on Sunday and that family means a shared heart, not blood.

I know that God is in the business of hurling dynamite at the status quo. He's not a fan. He'll do what it takes to bust it up.



So if you feel like you're hearing a call to crazy, I'm rooting for you. I'm telling you to do the dang thing. It might not mean boarding a plane or moving to a tipi out on the plains. It might sound quiet when it feels really loud and maybe that's the very thing holding you back from getting serious. Maybe you believe your excitement might register looks of confusion or, worse, apathy. They'll think it's a drop in the bucket and they won't understand. Or they'll think it's too grandiose and that you're just trying to show off.

Remember this: God's story for you is for you. It was written with you in mind to advance the Glory of His name.

Of course you have a choice. You could opt to say no. But what would be the fun in that?


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Comforts



The good news is, the rental house has a dish-washer.

The bad news is, it's not parked next to the sink and it's on wheels, so we figured it had to be trotted over and manually connected each time.

The good news is, my amazing father-in-law investigated and discovered that it's hooked up and ready to go.

The bad news is, my amazing husband forgot to tell me this for the first two days that we lived here. (As in, he watched us do dishes and heard me whine about the useless prehistoric dishwasher for two days and still "forgot" to mention it.)

The good news is, it came up in later conversation with his dad and I enjoyed using it twice last week.

The bad news is, it doesn't work very well at all. And it sometimes smells like the shadow of death.

The good news is, it's the largest patch of counter space I have. It's my island.

I know I'm not roasting a wild pig on a spit or cooking two pounds of beans in a cast iron pot over open flame here. I understand that I could be walking three miles to a dirty water source just to turn around and haul it back home.

Still, I find myself grumbly.



I have to chase the thoughts away of the kitchen I daydreamed into existence. The kitchen hard at work right now for a new family, just a mile or two down the road.

So tonight I did dishes in the slow-draining (shudder) sink and I tried my best to forget about the soggy food particles collecting in that trap-thingy. I balanced plates and whisks and mixing bowls in the dish drainer like a prize-winning Jenga puzzle.

I won't pretend that my kitchen situation is "trouble", but can I find a way to consider it pure joy? Can I take the opportunity to be thankful for all that I have, all of the warmth and the safety and the soup bubbling in the pot?

I'd like to believe that my contentment and joy are not situational and I'd really like to believe they aren't directly correlated to the square footage of my kitchen. Heaven help me.

I'm thankful to be on this journey that continues to unfold one page at a time. I'm thankful for the lessons that we're learning, because as much as we set out to do something, there's much more being done inside us.


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of the Past



Sometimes the things we need to let go of are tangible, easy. They're money or farmhouses or jobs. When it's a thing, we can simply open our hands and watch it fall. We can pound a sign into the dirt, hand in our letter of resignation. And even when it's not that simple, when the choice was never ours, we can choose to walk away in joy and expectation.

But what are we to do when the thing is not a thing at all? How do you let go of a memory? An old hurt? A dream that never came true? Those are the things that keep us tied to our chairs. They tether us to the past, keep us from being fully where we need to be today.

We carry the aches and failures around for so long that we forget they aren't really a part of us. We forget that we can choose to let go. We slide into the belief that these feelings define us in some way, and we begin to live as though that lie is the truth. We wear the bruise not on our sleeve where others can see it, but we press our fingers to it every now and then and nod just a little to our self - yes, it's still there.

We strap the loss across our heart. We chain the mistake to our mind because it's what we deserve. We feel the weight. Sometimes, we feel it for so long that we forget to feel. It's simply the way it has always been, the way it must be, we think. This kind of weight keeps us immobile at worst, trudging at best. It handcuffs us to the lie that we aren't worthy of a grand story.

Of course this pain has a purpose. It is in the sore places, in the haunts, that God makes himself known to us. It is here that he shows us redemption and healing. He lets us see up close that he's the only one who will never fail us. He dusts us clean and says again that it's time to get moving.

We can carry the wisdom like a penny in our shoe, a reminder of how far we've come. But the hurt and the sin and the bitterness were never meant to take up residence on the inside. There's work to be done and beauty to be noticed.

Yank out that nail, loosen the strap, break the chain. Let go.


God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.
Ecclesiastes 5:20


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Funny Face and More Perfume



I have the house blissfully to myself. I just ate a cinnamon Krispy Kreme doughnut. I am still in my sweats.

But!

I have big plans for today.

I am inventing a pasta salad for tonight's barn party. It will involve roasted cauliflower and penne. Maybe rigatoni. But probably penne, because don't you think the longish shape will better compliment the cauliflower florets? Me, too.

I will also be writing another chapter of my book. I'm feeling a bit of momentum. (Everyone knock on a door, desk, whatev, with me...)

But first, this.

"OK guys, line up! All in a row! No, line up! In a row! Silas, come back. No, a line! In a row! Thank you. Now, show me your happiest smile."


"Ruby, is that really your happiest smile? Show me a pretty smile!"



"Ruby River!"

(Cue Mommy laughing so hard that I had to put the camera down.)



"Moch bettah!"

(Because they love it when I talk to them in my awful British/Irish/Norwegian/Pakistani accent.)


I don't know what to say, except my kids are totally weird. Especially this one. The girl defaults to random. And I LOVE it.

She told me yesterday, out of the blue, "I love Mommy more than our old Explorer!"

Why thank you, dear daughter! Even though Daddy rolled it in the ditch and we haven't ridden in it in about a year, I'm happy that you love me more than that!

She also recently told me that she loves me more than her old tree house.

Homegirl has never had a tree house.

***

And finally, your nostalgic comments on my "Stuff" post have had me all up in stitches. I adore a good throw-back. Thank you for the reminders of Love's Baby Soft and Exclamation! perfume. I wore them both with pride, though I regrettably never did own the Debbie Gibson Electric Youth perfume that smelled faintly of cat pee.

In case you missed it, go here to read my homage to the scents of my adolescence (and beyond).

LOL,
FPFG

*Please tell me you know the true meaning of LOL.

Friday, October 14, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Stuff



Two Saturdays ago we opened the garage for a sale. Three hours only.

It was a flip decision. It sounded fun*. And necessary.
*(It sounded fun before I discovered that we would be moving the following week, but by the time that happened, I was already armpits-deep in vintage linens and McCoy pottery.)

See, I'm the product of a hoarder and a purger. I'm also the middle child, so you can imagine the quandary I find myself in when it comes to hanging on vs. letting go.

I don't like clutter. But I also rather enjoy the feeling of ultra-preparedness.

And now, an anecdote: From the ages of 13-15, I was scary-obsessed with Teen Magazine. Though money was always tight back then, my mom understood that Caboodles and Shine Free make-up and modeling contests and those weird hot rollers made out of bendy purple foam were my love language, so she got me a subscription. I never did have most of the things I pined for, but I did have the mags, so I could pretend all I wanted.

I wore those suckers out.

I kept every issue, cataloged by date on my rickety bookshelf.

I had big plans to pass them on to my Someday Daughters, so I hung on to them.

Then I went off to college...and the purger found them hiding under my bed.

To say that I was fiercely devastated and eternally aghast would be an understatement. How would I ever show my Someday Daughters the hot pink, asymmetrical, ruffled, one-shouldered prom of my dreams? What if they needed a diagram on how to perfect the perfect shaded eye (circa 1990)?

So, years later, "the incident" still fresh in my mind, I bought a stack on Ebay. They have someone else's mailing address stamped on the fronts, but they are mine in spirit.



Now, you may wonder what this has to do with my garage sale, and I'm sort of wondering myself.

All I can tell you is that it is freeing with a capital FREE to decide that it simply is not in you to box and haul 3 different sets of vintage china and tens upon twenties of milkglass vases to your next stop in life. I started purging with reckless abandon.

I looked on with great fondness and just a tinge of wistfulness as my things found new homes.

Now, we're here in the rental with so much stuff still sitting boxed in the basement, "in storage" until we make our next move.

It's already got both of us thinking that if we don't need it between now and then, we probably just don't need it at all.

I love collecting. I love the thrill of the hunt. I love flea markets and rusty junk. I like unexpected treasures, especially when they're dirt cheap. I will always love these things.

But I am done hoarding. I'm done saving for a rainy day or for that vintage yard party that I never did throw.

The box of Teen magazines? They're still with me, "in storage", because a girl's got her limits.

I'd better find a reason to dig them out, and quick.

Now, it's your turn. What is the craziest thing that you're saving for a rainy day? We want the dirt.


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go Like A Child


(Last full day at the farm, watching the filling and smoothing of our mud pit.)

Today has been a cranky, dreary, crampy kind of day. I've been in slow motion. But at least there were left-overs to be had.

Also, I had my first Caramel Apple Sundae from McDonald's. First of many. Say what you will about the joint, but they get soft serve right.

I want to thank you for your encouragement following yesterday's post. It was more difficult to write than most. It took longer. I deleted more. I worried that I might be misunderstood in some way. Still, I knew that I was supposed to write it, so I did. And hearing that I'm not the only one who thinks and feels those things was just the reminder I needed. It's settled: I really like hanging out with you guys.

Also? I feel loved when you ask how my kids are adjusting. It burrows this truth more deeply into my soul: we are real friends, you and I. We understand things about each other. Thank you for that.

To answer the question, the kids are doing fantastically well. I could learn a thing or two from my kids. I'm learning from them every day.

As we were finishing up at the "old" house on Saturday, Cory and I felt like we needed to try to create some kind of a moment for our family, an official farewell. A proper send-off. In the end, we all hopped in the van, ready to go home. The kids shouted a forced "Byeeee!" and I couldn't blame them, because I wasn't feeling very sentimental myself. After Cory went back solo for one more load, he said to me, "I took a walk around and felt like I should try to conjure up some emotion, but it just wasn't there. I was happy to be going."

It doesn't make sense that we feel this way. And I'm leery to believe that the sadness may not find us after all. But for now, I'm grabbing on to this gift of inexplicable closure. It reminds me of the day we went from trying to conceive a baby to knowing we would adopt. It wasn't much of a process. We just flipped that coin over and kept on living in joy. I know it doesn't happen that way for everyone and I don't think it's in some way worse when it doesn't. But I'm thankful for the way God has grabbed hold of me and tossed me to the other side of various fences in life. It helps.

Monday was our first "real" day in the rental. Silas hauled out the big bucket of Duplo blocks that he rarely plays with. In no time flat, he walked over and plopped this beside me at the desk:


I was floored. First the hair-dryers, and now this. Dude's got some mad building skillz.


And so it is confirmed, being a farmboy is also a condition of the heart.

I'm not alone in my slight displacement. I like knowing that we can keep searching for and finding the beauty, the nature, the farmy-ness around us, wherever we are.

In related news, Calvin and Ruby are enjoying bunking together.

We got lazy and decided not to put Siley's crib back together, so he's now loving life in a toddler bed. Why not pile change on top of change? It seems to be working. (Maybe tomorrow we'll conquer potty training?)

I'm still trying to adjust to the street lights at night while sleep eludes me, but you didn't come here to hear about me...

Our life is precisely the same today as it was two months ago. The kids still tattle and bicker and giggle and do cart-wheels in the living room.

We're still us. We're learning and growing. This move didn't up-end our lives.

And maybe our kids led the way. Maybe their resilience is rubbing off a little on us stubborn tall people.


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Money




This is the thing that no one ever wants to talk about. Me included. The "M" word.

Over the past two years, our household income was reduced by about 70%. If you had told me that would happen three years ago, I wouldn't have believed you. I would never have imagined that we could survive it. I remember, years ago, checking the highest income bracket on a retail store survey and feeling like we had arrived. I didn't feel particularly smug or braggy about it and I would have never talked about it to anyone, but in that quiet moment, sitting alone, I felt like we had reached the edges of success.

And then I started to want more.

Because even when you reach that golden ideal in your mind, not much time passes before you remember that you live in America, and success in America is short-lived if it doesn't keep growing. The beast must be fed.

So what I know to be true is this: You might be a person who lives well under her means. You might be generous (at least compared to other people you know) with what you have. You might not buy designer jeans or roll around town in a Lincoln Navigator. But you still might have a secret love affair with your bank account balance. I know this, because I lived this.

I remember thinking that it would be perfect if we would keep making more and more money, because then we could give more of it away. Surely God could use some people like that! Why not us?

It sounds nice and all, but the root of it was that I just wanted more money (and duh, I would also give a little more of it away.) I wanted a reasonable justification for staying rich. I didn't want to suffer at all for charity. I didn't want to know what it felt like to sacrifice, though in my mind, I would be sacrificing. I would be sacrificing the things I would never have. Something like this, "I could be driving around in a brand new Toyota, but instead I'm still in my beat-up Ford Explorer. I could be wearing designer jeans, but instead I'm in Target jeans that smell funky when you buy them. See how I sacrifice for the poor?"

I killed two birds with one stone. I sacrificed nothing at all, but I still went to bed at night convinced that I had.

When we started to hear - really hear - that around 19,000 children die every day around the world from hunger or treatable illness, it became increasingly impossible to deny the fact that we were doing nothing to put a stop to it.

It's difficult to picture nineteen thousand of anything, but try. Right now. Fill your mind up with the faces of as many children as you can, and then quadruple that. Cram them in.

Poof! They're gone. Every. Single. Day.

Tonight they are alive. Tomorrow they will not be. Every day, every day, every day.

Right when our hearts started breaking I lost my job, then Cory lost his. In short order we had lost a good deal of our capacity to give.

So we sold our house.

What we did was not a noble thing. It wasn't extra-brave. It wasn't radical. It was our only option to execute the command of One who cares as much about that crusty-nosed three-year old in Somalia as he does about big, bad me.

So while some cheer me on and say that they admire what we are doing, I lie in bed at night in knots over what we are not doing. I plead for answers, for avenues.

In stripping us of some of our wealth, God exposed our greed. He slammed our priorities back into line, at least a little.

And still, we are some of the wealthiest people in the World. Here I sit, in my comfortable, spacious, safe home with uneaten food in the trash. It's hard to stomach that. It's hard to justify one more dumb sweater or an immersion blender. But not hard enough that I don't do it all the time.

I wonder, what would happen if I truly and completely believed that God isn't pleased with my excess? What if he's really just waiting for me to understand that it was never even mine to begin with? Does he get tired of me tossing it to the pigs? What will it take for him to really get my attention? What will I do when He does?

I've got no answer tonight.

But if you're feeling anything like I am, then maybe it's time to act.

If you are burdened for the women and children trapped by human trafficking, go here.

If you are burdened for children living in poverty around the world, go here.

If you are burdened for women trying to care for their families amid crippling poverty, go here.

Those are just a few options off the top of my head. There are countless more. Find what breaks your heart the most, and decide right now to step up. Let go of some of the money that wasn't even yours to begin with.


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of the 21st Century


I've lived for a time with a fruit-bowl kitchen and a vintage-seed-packet kitchen, but this is my first go-round with the ducks.

My new digs scream 1968. They make me want to feather my hair and go steady with Greg Brady.


I stayed up later than I wanted to last night to make a big batch of crock-pot steel cut oats for my main morning squeeze, Calvin. I thought a 7:1 water to oats ratio seemed a bit high, but the girl crossed her heart and hoped to die, so I didn't argue.

At 6:00 I ran in to check them.

I found a giant crock pot of oatmeal soup.

So I cranked it up to high and went back to bed for 45 minutes.

When I checked again, it had boiled over and slimed my pink counter top.


(The counters almost match the swiney-pink of the bathroom floor.)

I have no garbage disposal here. I have no field to dump woebegotten food in. What's a girl to do?

I took to facebook for answers.

Two (former) friends suggested dumping them in the...I can't even bring myself to say it.

I suspended them from my wall for 48 hours, at which time I will re-assess.




So it seems I have adjustments to make. But I will say, the built-in manual can-opener is a God-send!

It cracked my business up when some of you kindly commented that you can't wait to see me "work my magic" on this place.

The truth is, my magic-maker is on hiatus.

Also, there's only so much you can do with beige walls, beige insulated draperies, beige carpet (except for in the kitchen - the carpet's turquoise in there) and a ban on putting nail-holes in the walls.


Mostly, I'm enjoying the opportunity to just lay low. I'm unpacking a few key items (anything with color), throwing them around, and calling it a day.


Ask me again come February, but for now, I'm finding that I am just immensely grateful for this cozy, temporary home.

It's teaching me new things about myself.


It's wrapping us up a little tighter and reminding me that it really doesn't matter where we hang our hats. As long as we hang them together, we are home.


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.