Previous month:
August 2013
Next month:
October 2013

September 2013

Color Changes & Staircases

Autumn, The Year's Last, Loveliest Smile. - Willam Cullen Bryant
{Photo Credit}

Last weekend, I was at a wedding in Breckenridge, Colorado where the color change of the leaves  is legendary. If you haven’t been to Breckenridge, put it on your bucket list. It’s a tiny mountain town with a well-preserved Main Street that time leaves untouched. There were professional photographers everywhere capturing the beauty and the mystery of the trees bursting into a technicolor dreamland of red, orange, and yellow. 

The trip left me thinking about the color changes in our lives. It feels like summer is going to go on sweltering indefinitely and then we wake up to fall air and falling leaves. Winter's slush and snow gives way to spring, but always suddenly, and all at once. Nature won't be rushed, it has a process to complete. Our lives are the same way, we can't rush the process and we can't will a spring in our lives, or a fall change. Yet, I find myself wanting to live fast, rather than trust the process.

My whole life I've been living fast. By twenty-one I'd graduated college, been engaged, and working in commercial brokerage for almost two years. I'd blown through every stage of twenties life by twenty-one. And then I started all over, and one of the greatest lesson life has taught me is to live slow and settled, grounded and grateful. 

But what happens when we can't seem to feel settled in our current season and it refuses to change? At that point living slow feels like entrapment, but how can slow be entrapment if God is setting the pace?

It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll. This is how God does things. - Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz

After a long and fruitless home search, I signed another year lease in my current apartment, and it time to take some of my own advice: do whatever you have to do to love where you live. I bought fall flowers and wrote, and praticed gratitude. 

Whole Food Fall Bouquet

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. - Melody Beattie

Last week, I was talking to my counselor about why my little apartment was more than enough for me three and a half years ago, but today I’m looking for something more. My space hasn’t changed, and this little apartment is still the place I’ve felt the most home in my life. Why am I looking to move on? Am I never satisfied? Or am I trying to move my life forward by whatever means necessary?

My counselor said development is like a staircase. We hop up onto a new step and then we walk for awhile, we experience life fully, we thrive on that step; but then after some time, we inevitably start bumping into the back of the next step. It’s not because we did something wrong or because we don’t know how to be content. We feel this way because we're hitting the back of the next step, and the next phase of life is approaching, not because we're living out of some false narrative or striving out of unsatisfaction. 

Not everything in life is to be viewed through the lens of our issues. Sometimes I think each step I tentatively take is potentially a trap I set for myself out of my unresolved issues. But some things in life just aren’t that complex. Some things really are just about growing out of our current spaces and growing up.

Rubywood, Breckenridge, Colorado

There are days and moments when we're standing tall after traversing mountains in our lives, but it takes hundreds of small steps and ordinary days for those moments. We wait and work for those big moments, the weddings, the promotions, the new homes, the celebrations, but they are built on a million moments of growth and uncertainty, hope and healing. 

My encouragement today is life is a staircase: keep climbing. The seasons and the colors of our lives change on their own time, just like the leaves on the trees. Our mission is to enjoy the moments between the changes, so we can walk into the next season with the boldness of fall, the wisdom of winter, the renewal of spring, and the warmth of summer.

The Greatest Story You'll Ever Live

Pink and Zebra Library
{Photo Credit}

For the past year I've been writing about remembering the magic that can found in our every day waking up, going-to-work lives. It's the work I'm doing now within myself. It's what I need, a renewal and a revival of the magic in the everyday, every day. 

In a lot of ways, I'm the everygirl. The corporategirl with the commute and the nine-to-five in an office with a cubicle and a computer that allows me to pay my every month student loan and car payment. I'm the single girl attending a wedding (or a wedding related event) every weekend. I'm the twenty-something working through the issues of faith and identity, purpose and meaning, and learning to grow in grace and in gratitude along the way.

Wedding at Frog Belly Farm, Longmont, Colorado

Growth is such a hard word. When I hear growth, I think pain. I think of life not turning out how I thought it would, and how these experiences, even the dream crushing experiences, turn themselves around and restoratively reappear in our lives as growth and grace, and eventually gratitude.

As I grow older, I grow more fascinated by everyday stories and of story itself. Before I thought great stories came from incredible luck, hard work, and charmed lives. Now I know great stories come from taking everyday experiences and everyday emotions that we all walk through, and using them to inspire others, and to walk beside someone and say "me too."

I'm grateful I didn't marry my high school sweetheart, because if I had, I would never understand what's it's like to go to wedding after wedding celebrating the joy of two people you love deeply, while silently wondering what's next for you.

I'm grateful I didn't know that writing was my calling before I went to business school and started the corporate climb, because I wouldn't know what's it like to long to do that thing I'm called to do, while doing the thing you must.

I'm grateful I wasn't born with that mythic metabolism that let's you eat whatever you want and wear the same dress size, because I wouldn't know what's it's like to fight for freedom and healing in my relationship with food. 

I'm grateful I didn't end up in California, where I was born and raised, with it's endless summer and movie star mentality, because I wouldn't know what it's like to build a life in a new city from the ground up and find myself, and God Himself, along the way.

I'm grateful I'm less entitled and more grounded; and I want to continue to live in gratitude of the journey that produced that shift in me.

God isn't late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you. He's giving everyone space and time to change. So my dear friends, do your very best to be found living life at your best, in purity and peace, growing in grace and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. {2 Peter 3, The Message}

Today and everyday, let's be women and men finding not only contentment, but enchantment in the everyday, in the prosaic. Let's live lives that others look upon and ask themselves, What's different about her? What's different about him?P1010218

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work and walking around life - and place in before God as an offering.

Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it.

Be good friends who love deeply, practice putting yourself second.

Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. 

Be cheerfully expectant.

Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder.

Don't hit back. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God, "I'll take care of it." {Romans 12, The Message}

The great gift of the ordinary is relatability. Let's take this opportunity to live ordinary lives out of extraordinary contentment. We all long to live great stories, but what if the greatest story we'll ever live is found in baring witness to the enchantment and the meaning we've found in living lives of service and of character, and living out the story of what God can do in a human heart with the human struggle, when we trust Him with our everyday, our every day.