Nov 29, 2012

Gone Home...

A few weeks ago in the midst of lots of medication I was having lots of weird dreams. Many of the dreams involved zombies (thank you Walking Dead), friends, family, my puppy.. they all melded together in weird blends and often woke me up anxious.

One of these dreams, right smack in the middle of it was the only grandma I had. My Great Grandma Grace, in all of her worried spirit, and I was begging her to forgive.. Forgive sins of adultery that my Great Grandpa Shelby had committed while they were still married during the war, before he was saved so long ago. What is weird about the dream is she was crying and I was sobbing trying to explain to her the urgency in her needing to forgive, that God asked it of her...

I attributed this insurgence into my dreams to the fact that she had been in and out of the hospital lately... and I was doped up on medication.

Then, a couple days ago I was praying through a few things on my 3x5 cards, and randomly I thought about her, so I prayed,

"Lord, if she is right with you, and her work is done, please take her home..."

... and then, I moved on to other prayers..

Last night the Lord took her home.

This is a picture of my older brother and I with her a few years ago at one of my nephew's birthday parties. Oh the stories I have from childhood of this woman watching us.. haha never a dull moment.

There is no way to truly explain the peace I feel at knowing that she went home because she was right with the Lord, and her time here was finished.

Nov 28, 2012

I love Christmas...

Christmas is my favorite holiday. I know it sounds cliche, but seriously, I love Christmas... Although, I pretty much hate Christmas music. Weird, I know. Thankfully I have ONE song this year I love... Michael Buble's All I Want for Christmas is You, it is more soulful than the rest, so it sounds different, which I love.

Anyway, I love the thought, preparation, love, and care that goes into this holiday. I love that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Seriously, I spend hours wrapping my gifts, I send care packages, but mostly I enjoy doing what I can to make Christmas special.

This is a care package sent to a deployed friend and his platoon.. Everyone should get Christmas.

This is my first Christmas tree that I have gotten, put up, and decorated on my own... I feel like a for real adult now!
Vormund is learning to leave it... Although, he may have ingested sparkles this morning before I could fish out the plastic sparkle covered bulb from his mouth..
It will be interesting to see how Vormund does when the presents start getting placed under the tree... haha oh boy.
 Can you pick out the cheeser in this image? haha

Christmas with my family is wonderful.. it is this perfect day that pauses the world. We hang out, laugh, snuggle, watch movies, read books, play games, eat tons of food, and spend much needed time relaxing. Christmas is my favorite day of the year.

Nov 27, 2012

Listen to Me...

"People don't care how much you know until they know how mucH you care." - John C. Maxwell

This idea consumes my work life right now. Not in a bad way, it just is a reality of my life. Every single day I am confronted with options, blather on and on about what I know, my experience, my education, my passions.. compounded with the mounds upon mounds of tasks and work to do, and yet I find myself compelled to pause all of it, and just listen and express in any way I can how much I genuinely care about those around me.

I have had to readjust my priorities at work.
Sitting and listening is more important than the stacks of papers that are calling my name.
Hearing the faith stories of those around me has eternal value infinitely more important than the programs or design projects that require my attention.
So, I am teaching myself to be still, to listen, to laugh, to be fully present and divert all of my attention from the tasks sitting on my desk to the people sitting in front of it. Which, honestly is how my life operates naturally... outside of work.. Now I am learning to orient my work life in this manner as well.

Do you care enough to stop and actually listen to me?.. That is what I hear when I meet new people.

Nov 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012...

This year I chose to head to DC for Thanksgiving. I had lots of reasons, but a few big ones were knowing that I had several days off of work, I have friends I miss terribly, and I have no idea when the next time I will be able to make it out there will be.

I took the pups with me, and thankfully he is a fantastic traveler.

Overall it was a pretty low-key weekend, but it felt like home, and it felt normal which was nice. I got lots of hugs, laughed a lot, watched lots of football with one of my bests, hung out with a couple friends, and had another love of mine make the trek up to DC to see Twilight with us! (don't judge) Plus, she got to meet Vormund (Vor - rhymes with Thor, mund - as in mundane) and love on him!

On our trek home it snowed.. a lot.. I was more than a little tickled that Vormund was uninterested in the snow, and not happy about how cold it was!.. He was totally meant to be my dog haha

It is interesting to me how feelings such as the feeling of "home" are cultivated slowly... and also let go of slowly. In my head I know DC is no longer home, but it still feels like it. When I got there Wednesday night, it did not feel like it had been seven weeks since I had driven the roads or navigated through traffic, it felt natural and normal.

There is a part of me that feels like seven weeks here in MI mean that it should now feel like home... I mean after all, I like it here, but it does not feel like home. In my head I should be attached to here already, and while I certainly love aspects of here, it is not "home"... yet. I have full confidence that my heart will catch up to my head and it will not only feel like home, but I will create forever friendships, and I will never want to leave.. And, knowing how the last few moves have gone, right about the time I never want to leave will be exactly when the Lord moves me haha

Nov 16, 2012

Drugged Up for Jesus...

So, a couple weeks ago I got sick... really sick. I basically slept for 16 hours a day for 3 days, then 12 hours a day for another 3 days before I forced myself back to my normal schedule. I mean, really it was just a normal cold, and I figured between nyquil, sleep, tissues, and lots of vitamins and fluids I would kick this thing in no time...

Two weeks later my throat wasn't feeling well still, my sinuses were not better yet, my ears hurt and itched, and my eyes were showing signs of an infection, plus I have been always tired for the last 2 weeks. So, I figured a trip to the doctors was in order.. nope, the doctor can't fit me in for FOUR DAYS.. what?!.. they recommended "Urgent care." Nothing makes you feel like a whiner like going to urgent care two weeks later "not feeling completely better" ..

Then the doctor saw me... and pronounced that I was not going to get better without medication, and proceeded to give me 4 different kinds of medication.. whoa. Now I have cough meds, eye drops, another 2 weeks of antibiotics, and a steroid shot. Ok, at least now I don't feel so bad about going to Urgent Care..

On a slightly different note, my illness seems to have had a purpose. I love telling people I came from DC because it is a fabulous conversation starter.. I always end up being able to tell them that I moved here to work for a church to train and mobilize people to get involved. The doctor (who was quite a bit older) was excited about it, and proceeded to tell me what he always tells young people.. "Don't drink, don't smoke, don't do drugs, don't have sex, and find religion. It's very simple." haha

I also expected to wait a millenia before being seen so I brought a book, Loving God by Chuck Colson, it was given to me a couple days ago... The nurse who called me back, saw the book and became completely distracted in giving directions for what I needed to do. When I asked her if she was ok, she said that the day before someone had recommended her read that same book, and she had almost bought it for her Kindle that day.. I then told her that the book was given to me the day before as well.. She was rather excited, and deemed it "creepy in a good way." haha I love how random things happen.. but leave no room for it to be anything other than the Lord :) ... Sooo, thank you ridiculous illness that would not go away...

Nov 14, 2012

Raising A Puppy...

For real, I know I only have a puppy, but having a dog by myself is difficult.. I have NO idea how single parents do it considering I am pretty confident that while similar, having a baby or child would be way more difficult...

Either way, life with a puppy has proven to be tiring, rewarding, and frustrating all at the same time!

First, I feel like I clean out his crate, clean up an accident, or wash things he's had an accident on constantly..

But, really I spend my life at home like this:

 He is always on my lap.. regardless of what I have to get done, he wants to be on my lap, or have the ability to be on my lap... All. The. Time.
 Or I am taking him for a walk...
 Or he is following me around hoping I drop something he can eat..
 If I REALLY have something to do, sometimes I can get him to lay NEXT to me.... Sometimes..
 Other times he just stretches across my lap..
And then, there are the few times I really have homework to do, but don't want to put him back in his crate... Then he does this:

He runs around like a crazy person getting distracted every 3 seconds by something new haha... Yup, this is my life at home.. I love this stage, and hate it all at the same time!.. Mostly I'll be happy when he stops biting and learns to only ever go to the bathroom outside..

Nov 12, 2012

Aunt Time...

I love being an aunt.. Seriously, it is one of the coolest things ever. Especially to these three little ones (can't wait for the fourth!!!).

I had my munchkins for a night, and we did all sorts of cool things..

Starting with dinner at the Rainforest Cafe...
 Bubba was so distracted all of dinner looking at everything and taking it all in..
 Baby girl colored and told me stories the whole time...
 Dinner took FOR-EV-ER.. so the waitress brought us a volcano cause the kids were so patient and well behaved.. It was a great teaching moment :)
 The elephant was their favorite :)
 I didn't get any pictures of snuggling and watching Avengers, but that's how we stayed up WAYYY past bedtime :) Then in the morning we went for breakfast to a little cafe.. they loved it.. and the toys I got them for being so well behaved and patient :)
 Then we took the puppy out and I wore all of them out together.. Winner.
 ... The things I never think about being single without kids.. munchkins cannot reach the sink.. So, a makeshift step stool was created.

Taking them back to their dad.. I gave them all a tic tac.. and not long later they were all almost asleep due to the 45 minute drive.. they insisted I gave them a sleeping pill haha ;)

Nov 8, 2012

Life of Others...

I have said it for years, life gets depressing the more you focus on yourself. I am not sure how God worked it out this way, but the more I focus on myself, the more depressed I get about the dumb little things.. Such as, my acne, the 3 lbs I wish was not a part of my stomach, the ever present exhaustion I feel in the mornings, the annoyance of not being able to snap crackle and pop everything back into place in the mornings, the hang nail that requires me to cut my long nails... See?!.. Dumb.

However, somehow (seriously it is like magic), the more I focus on those around me, their needs, their insecurities, their frustrations, their pains, hurts, or just the mundane details of their lives, the more I feel content inside and forget to care that I have split ends and need a hair trimming.

One of the things I love about my job is that I spend all day thinking, strategizing, praying, reading, and talking with other people. I spend all day trying to help others be better versions of themselves... I spend all day trying to encourage those around me... And, almost like magic, spending so much time purposefully paying attention to others causes me to forget to stop in front of the mirror to see if my outfit adequately hides the 3 lbs extra that I dislike about my midsection.

Last night I was talking with one of my roomies from DC, and I realized that I miss her like crazy. We could go a couple weeks without seeing each other while living together, but I always felt her supportive presence in my life. We were catching up on all the changes, new things going on, and the various things we each needed prayer over, and at that point I realized that not only is God amazing at the way He is working things out. Even though I do not have things together completely, He is somehow making things happen... and quickly. And, while from an outside perspective I have made friends, and met so many amazing, loving, and caring people that I am excited to get to know more, I have yet to make my group of friends that I can call just to hang out and eat frosting with (haha.. but no really.. everyone needs that friend.)

For as long as this lasts, I am excited that my job is cultivating a pattern that everything in my life is about other people.. I hope that I have started on an entirely new path for the rest of my life.. I love feeling like I am getting paid to live my life by loving Jesus and loving others... Seriously, sweet.

Nov 5, 2012

The Walking Dead...

My little brother somehow talked me into watching/catching up on The Walking Dead on AMC. I keep flipping back and forth between totally obsessed and really hating him for talking me into it. But, then again, I also keep chanting to myself, "If my 15 year old sister can do this, so can I!"...

It is a good series that completely sucks you in with the character development, but scares the tar out of you with the scary/gross zombie parts... It might also be aided by the fact that I live by myself, and watch it alone... on my couch... I also may spend the entire episode holding my breath and squeezing the life out of my non-living couch pillows.

The worst part is it's scary AND gross at times.

I may or may not have sent my brother multiple hateful text messages over the last week in a half haha.. While subsequently sending my sister and sister in law to be comments and questions about the series. (What can I say, I blame my brother for the scary and bad.. and look to my sisters for the reassurances I guess :)

As of right now, I have two episodes left of season 2, and then I will be on to catching up on the current season 3.

This might also be a good time to mention, I do not like being scared.. nor do I handle it well haha


Nov 3, 2012

Catching Fire...

While the transition from DC to MI has been an emotional one, today when a friend asked me if anything exciting was happening here in MI, I realized that it is, and I feel it coming..

We (the staff at the church) are planning, praying, preparing, praying, meeting, praying, strategizing, praying.. and working towards the goal and direction that we feel the Lord is leading us in.

I am at a little bit of a loss for words in regards to what I feel stirring inside of me, but it feels like a spark; the type of spark that you know is going to roar to life the wildfire.

As I talk to various people, convey my excitement, my plans, my passion, the direction our church is moving, and the ways we feel God calling and moving us as a community, I see the small sparks in the eyes of some of the people. Not everyone, but some... soon blazing infernos will have erupted within enough people that an unstoppable wildfire will consume the land.

God is moving, and His plan is catching fire, and it is starting with small sparks.