Life's Sweet Journey

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Words For Wednesday: The First

I originally intended part of this blog as a space for words. Not my words, the words of others. Words that had touched me in some way. Words from books, movies or any other form of media, spoken or printed, that stuck with me long after I had closed the pages or walked away. I figured it was time I finally started sharing them. And so I am dubbing most Wednesday's from here on out as Words for Wednesday. Some will be just the words; quotes from people who can say what I am feeling, at a certain time, better than I can. And some will be there words and my own. The quotes that spoke so much into my soul and why they did.

Today's words come from one of my favorite books read this year, in all my 28 years really; 
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. 

"He forgets, that he was someone's dream once, himself."

"The finest of pleasures are unexpected ones." 

"It is difficult to see the situation for what it is when you are in the midst of it. It is too familiar. Too comfortable." 

Though written by Oscar Wilde, it is also a favorite and sits as the opening to The Night Circus.

"Love" is fickle and fleeting. It is rarely a solid foundation for decisions to be made upon.

"No you were not destined or chosen. You were in the right place at the right time, and you care enough to do what needs to be done. Sometimes that's enough." 

"There is nothing wrong with being a dreamer. But dreams have a way of turning into nightmares." 

And while I know the last one is  a long one, I hope that you have made it this far, because it is one of my absolute favorites: 
"Stories have changed, my dear... There are no more monsters to slay, no maidens in need of rescue. Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my my experience, at least the ones worth something in any case. There are no longer simple tales with quests and beasts and happy endings. The quests lack clarity of goal or path. The beasts take different forms and are difficult to recognize for what they are. And there are never really endings, happy or otherwise. Things keep going on, they overlap and blur, your story is part of your sister's story is part of many other stories, and there is no telling where any of them may lead. Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess or a dragon, or a wolf and a scarlet-clad little girl. And is not the dragon the hero of his own story? Is not the wolf simply acting as a wolf should act? 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

5 Things I Have Loved Lately

Because it is Sunday and I would fully like my day of rest I am hiding out in the computer room before church so that I do not have to go help with "Project Never-Ending Shed" as I have so termed it.

5 Things I Have Loved Lately
1.) I watched this through a link someone posted on FB and I loved every minute. I loved Johnny's humble humility. I loved how he didn't even seem to understand why they would want to raise the price of the teepee. I love that he cared about the people he was selling to. I love that he carded for the farmer, the hard working men and women who help keep food on our tables. Worth the watch.
2.) This is outstanding! Working in Children's Ministry, or with kids in any capacity, we sometimes wonder if the kiddos are even listening at all, but they are. They so very much are! Just listen to her tell the story of Jonah. I used to think that God would sound like Morgan Freeman, but now I wonder if He will sound like the voice of this little girl when she is telling Jonah what God has to say. "My love is great, it is greater than my anger and it is for all my creatures."
3.)Walking through The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. It is an advent devotional and yes, advent maybe over, but isn't every moment really a moment of advent. Always leading up, always preparing our hearts for Jesus. I love it for many reasons, but I won't lie in saying that one of the biggest appeals is that is is perfect for a non-morning person like me. I am not an early riser. I fight that morning struggle of "stay-in-bed, hit-snooze-just-one-more-time" vs "get-up, don't-rush, have-some-quiet-God-time." The Greatest Gift has short enough clips though I don't feel like I have to rush through my morning devotion. I can still pour over the words while I eat breakfast, fill my soul and have some quiet moments to reflect on it all.
4.) Writing Day!! These sweet ladies and I have been meeting up every couple weeks for about an hour or so to chat about writing, life and our blogs. This past week we had our first ever, full Writing Day. It was some many bits of wonderful!! Melissa led it for us with schedules, prompts and sweet destinations for a change of scenery. I ended the day feeling refreshed and excited for this happenings on this space for 2015! I can not wait for our next one.
5.) The shed is almost finished!!! Praise the Lord, do a dance and thank the hands that completed it. Because we had done a Thanksgiving cruise as opposed to our New Year's cruise this year Babe thought it would be a great time to fix the shed and replace all the wood that has been water damaged since we bought our house. "Three days," he said! "Won't take too long," he said! Lies! He was mostly lying to himself, but that 3 day project has turned into a 1+ week project! While it has been wonderful having Papa (his dad) here with us and hearing the two of them banter like old men do, I just want to go to Disney! After painting boards the color of sand for two days I think I am entitled to some magic and color in my life!! I just wanted to eat from Holidays Around the World and hear the sweet story of Jesus at the Candlelight Processional. But alas, I will wait until next year and be thankful for pretty new shed walls and hard-working men and a finished product! Though now Babe says the shed looks better than the house. Good thing he thought it so smart to buy enough paint for the house as well. Oh, the joys!

Linking up today with Christina and the lovely ladies from

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015! Let it Ring!

A bad habit I am going to break:
Worry! I want to surrender worry. To let go of things I can’t control (ie everything) and just let it be.

A new skill I would like to learn:
I would like to learn how to best be still. To sit in the quietness of the morning with an empty mind and open heart so that I can best be available to just listen. I want to be able to sit and take in a moment with God without my own thoughts for the day ahead, or the latest worry that I have already spent time obsessing over, trying to out shine the still small voice to I so need to hear.

A person I hope to be more like:
My Mimi. She was a woman filled with such quiet grace and so much wisdom. When my mom said to me recently “you are your Mimi's kind of Christian, must skip a generation” I thought so much about what that meant. The thought made me smile. Though she may think I am more like Mimi than her I don’t know if I am as much like Mimi as I would like to be. Quiet? Nope! Wisdom? Doubtful! Loud grace? Maybe. I want to work on the rest of it.

A good deed I am going to do:
I am not sure how much I like this one, because I would like to think that I just do them when the moment arises and that I need not think about it. However, I know that I feel short on something that had been sitting on my heart. There is a homeless man that I pass every morning on the way into work. I often try to avoid him because I have nothing for him. But that isn’t true. I can smile, I can try to arrive early so that I have time to say hello, to talk to him. I had meant to bring a little Christmas bundle with me the last week of school, a gift to give him, but also something to spark a conversation. When the last day rolled around and I walked out of the parking garage, my heart sank because I realized I hadn’t done what I had intended too. I currently have the bag packed with goodies and plan to take it on the first day back in the New Year.

A place I would like to visit:
Though I doubt I will make it this year, I would really like to go to Africa and it is something that I would like to start planning and saving for. Going to Africa is something that I have always been afraid of, for many reasons. 1.) I am not an out of my comfort zone traveler. I decided during our honeymoon trip abroad that I was a US traveler. But a trip to Costa Rica to work with Agua Viva Serves changed that perspective, at least in terms of mission work. I want to REALLY go out of that comfort zone. 2.) I can’t help but think that it will forever change my heart, my life and my perspective. And while I know that it will all be for the better, change at all, terrifies me. I want to let that go!!
And so I just want to do it. I want to let go of the fear and go, for myself and for the Still Small Voice that I hear saying, “Just go.”

A book I would like to read:
I received Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, The Family Christmas Treasury by Ann Voskamp. Next year at Christmas I hope to read through it with my family during Advent. That and the Jesus Storybook Bible, again! I know I have mentioned it in pretty much every other post, but seriously! I love it!

A letter I am going to write:
I have so often thought about this letter. I have started to form it so many times in my head. It is a letter to a girl I do not know, a friend of a friend, who wrote to me after my brother died. Her letter meant so much to me and I have never let her know. I want to do that. I want to actually finish it. I had been at such a loss of words right after and even now I am not sure how best to tell her just how much it touched my heart. But I plan to!

A new food I am going to try:
Try all the foods!! That is all!

I’m going to do better at:

Being present! Being fully enveloped in each moment. In the stillness when it’s still, in the chaos when it’s called for, in the sad moments when your heart just needs to weep or when you just need to be someone’s shoulder and in the joy when God graces my life with unbound, mouth-splitting, teeth-shining glory. Present in all the moments; big, small and in between.

Here's to 2015!! 

I would love to see your plans for 2015! 
1.)Link-up using the link below! 
2.) Use the image at the top of this post and share what you hope to have in store for the new year. Have other plans not on the list? Create your own 2015 list and share it! 
3.) Link back so that others can link-up too! 
4.) Explore all the 2015 fun!! 

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Ache of Christmas

The tree stands glowing in the center of the window, in the same place it has always stood, adorned with the same ornaments for over 20 years. It looks the same as it always has, yet it means something different this year. It holds on its limbs the sweetest of memories, but they are memories so very sweet that they leave an ache behind. An empty, dull, pit in your stomach ache, because they hold all that isn't there. It meant the same last year, but I may have been too blinded with grief that I didn't see them. Or they were too hard to put up. This year the sting wasn't so fresh. It didn't take just the feel of the breeze to make the world hurt. But the ache is still there, it will always be there. In the mention of a name and in the ornaments that hang amid light draped branches. They are the sweetest memories and they still can be. But it's the texts you get from your dad, who is putting the ornaments on the tree, saying it's a slow going process. He doesn't say why, but you know. So you go over and you help and though you don't hang but one ornament its just the fact that there is someone there to look and see. To look and see and not need to say anything, because you both know what the other is thinking. You both know that the ornaments mean so much, but feel so hard. 
The ache is still there on Christmas morning. It's there when you are making waffles and eating them. And it's there as tears fall down faces during a pre-breakfast prayer. It's there in between all the wrapping paper and bows. It's there when presents are presented. Beautiful paintings that so artistically brought sweet memories to life. Yet, the ache is there because on this side of heaven the closest we will get to life here on earth with my brother is the smile in the paintings and in the memories that fill our hearts. It's there when you smile at the joy of a three year old opening presents, hugging Elsa dolls close. It ebbs and flows and sometimes gets forgotten, but it comes back. And really that's ok. 

The ache can be handled, it can be tolerated. Though we hate that it has to be tolerated, we will tolerate it all the same. Because it's better than forgetting all together. For numbing it down so much that you crawl blindly through the holidays. That's about where I was last year, there isn't much that I remember. This year the picture is different. There was more color, more light. There was so much more life in this Christmas. I am glad for that. I am glad that on Christmas, on the time of year that we celebrate life, that we celebrate the greatest Birth there ever was, that I can ache. When a part of you is gone, some of you will always ache. I think it is similar to the way our hearts are hardwired to ache for Jesus. We think fondly of the sweetest gift, the gift that filled the whole world with hope. We ache for the fact that we are so far from sitting face-to-face with Jesus, but we are glad for the fact that someday we will. I am glad that the ache can remind me of all that was good. I am glad for the sweet memories of life that will make it just as hard to take down the tree as it was to put up. And I am glad for the fact that, while I ache here on earth, it is just a matter of time before I see my brother again and get to rejoice at seeing his face. I get to rejoice because the sweet memories will be there, but all the hard things will be long forgotten. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Love. On a day like Christmas that is what we need; to know that we are loved. Loved so much that God became Love here on Earth, in the body of a vulnerable baby. The baby, His only Son, that was sent to save the world. Jesus, sent to save the world because we are loved; loved for just being His. Loved with the truest Love of all. No strings, no requirements, nothing we must do to earn it. Just loved!

Merry Christmas to all
And to all a good night!