The First…

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The firsts of life can be fun, beautiful, created feelings of jealousy mixed with pride, but my latest first has been devastating.

The first… the first unprepared death of mentor, a mother figure, a beloved friend’s mom. I didn’t know she would be the first mom to leave us, but looking back it makes sense. She always did prepare us girls for life through her and her beautiful daughter, Emily.

Emily is the best of friends. She is the kind of friend where weeks, months can pass without speaking, but instantaneous reconnection happens as soon as that first text is sent to meet up. Em is the Samwise Gamgee of the group- the everlasting, evergiving, everloving, ever-sacrificing friend. She was one of the first friends to get married. One of the first to have a baby. She’s the one we turn to with life questions. How do we support a friend going through a difficult time? What temperature do  you roast a chicken at? Will Brangelina get back together? Is this coat a good investment or a waste of money? Do you think God hears me when I cry? We turn to her because she can turn to her Mom and ask for her wisdom.

The death of Momma T is celebrated because I KNOW she is with Jesus. I KNOW she is in His presence- more full of joy than I can ever even imagine. Singing. Dancing. Laughing.

I know this, yet grief has taken over. If I am in mourning, how much deeper must the pain be for Emily and her family? What do you do to help the one you always turn to?

Selfishly, I think about the inevitable day my own best friend, and much needed Mom leaves me. How appreciative I will be that Emily can, once again, guide me through it, point me to Christ, and cry with me. And she will, because she is so her mom. She is so full of love, wisdom, encouragement, laughter, and a heart that empathizes deeply. Emily also received the gift of delivering harsh truth with a tender, firm tone- just like her mom. So thankful for this mom who prepared her daughter to be a woman of the Lord. The benefits I’ve received from this are endless.

That’s so like Momma T, to prepare us all for life.

 

 

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My Gift is Not…

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My gift is not hospitality. It’s just not. Hospitality is opening up your house when there are dishes in the sink,  laundry in the wash, just enough food for one person (not even prepared), and lovingly opening up your home/ place to people to just come in and be welcomed.

Hospitality is not about making everything look perfect and be perfect (because perfect is not a thing), and being a complete crazy person until all is the unattainable perfection. Unfortunately I know what hospitality should be, but still yearn for the Instagrammable everything. As much as I wish true hospitality was a gift I excelled in, I’m still learning.

My last Women’s Day dinner was, once again, a lesson in true hospitality. I wanted it to be perfect. A good menu. Beautiful decor. A list of friends- not too many, but not too few. I planned everything. EVERYTHING! And as always, plans change. I did not plan to sit for 40 minutes in traffic leading up to the dinner- 40 minutes of precious prep time that all I could do was sit and fume.

FUME.

I got to the house, and starting going crazy like a mad person! A few friends showed up early (planned), and I put them to work. SO thankful for sweet friends who will just pick up my mess and love me anyway. I should have been more thankful in the moment, but instead I was upset that they weren’t moving fast enough or having any sense of urgency. When other friends showed up early, I was even more mad that people had the audacity to come early- who does that- who shows up early? In the land of manana… no way. I chose myself, over love. I chose selfishness over being grateful to have such encouraging, serving women in my life who came early to help out.

Even as I reflect on the evening I have to remind myself to not be upset that no one got the ‘perfect photo’ of the beautiful table… or the best photo of the great decor. I have to remember the great conversations; the mingling of different friend groups; the time each woman gave up to spend their evening with me. THAT is the point of a great dinner party- not the food, not the money spent, and definitely NOT photos taken (but still, guys, come on…in a room full of millenials NO ONE TOOK A FREAKING PHOTO OF THE TABLE?)

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I know that I want to be more hospitable. I want a spirit that just opens her heart and home to all, regardless of the aesthetic of the photos that could be taken. I’m praying for it. I’m searching for it. I’m trying for it… but until then I’ll just rely on the love of friends and their graciousness. ❤

Be reminded that behind the nice photos there is usually someone who sat in terrible traffic, cooked throughout the dinner party, and is still upset (weeks later) that nothing went as planned. 😉

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Why I Need Flowers

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Flowers remind me of my mom (she’s still alive… just to clarify any confusion). My mom is a gardener, she’s a lover of growing new life and caring for it. She also believes in having fresh cut flowers in the house (and giving them to others!). I suck at gardening and did not get that from my momma. I did receive the fresh flower obsession though.

Fresh flowers comfort me. I look to them and I, not only appreciate the beauty and joy they provide to my desk or table, but I also hear my mom through them. When I’m having a great day and see the flowers, they remind me to call her. If it’s an ok day, I hear her telling me to appreciate the little happinesses of life. On the terrible days, the flowers whisper, “it’s ok,” to me. They remind me to take time to reflect. Most of all, when I look at flowers in good and bad, I hear my mom pointing me to Christ.

For the majority of my life, flowers whispered. Today they scream.

Currently my tulips and chamomile shout 2 Thessalonians 3:5. As I sit here contemplating what my dreams are, where I should be, or if I’m even passionate about anything, they should to go to God. That my heart’s conflicts are to be given to Christ. The more I go to Him, the more clear my purpose is. My purpose is to serve Him. On some days that seems so vague, like it’s not specific enough of an answer. But today the flowers yell it to me- as unclear about my career path, relationships, and life as I am- my steadfastness is is Christ! My focus should be in my pursuit of Him!

“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God & to the steadfastness of Christ.”  -2 Thessalonians 3:5

I can sometimes dwell on my ‘sufferings,’ I know that they will only last a little while. And ‘a little while’ can mean a lot of different things. For flowers, ‘a little while’ is a week or so. And for us? In the scheme of eternity it can be years. Our sufferings can last a day or a century.

In my mind, a century of suffering doesn’t sound great, but in my spirit I trust in His grace. That the hope Christ has brought to us brings more light to my life than all the flowers in the world can. I can’t comprehend the trillions of years past that where I’m in His eternal glory. And the trillion years past that where I’m still there, apart from hurt and confusion. AND FOR ALL ETERNITY AFTER!

I love that God can use flowers to connect me to Him. That He gave my mom the love of His creation that she could share with me. And I really love that His truth is bigger than my indecision and fear of the unknown.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eterntal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 5:10-11

 

What’s Your Dream Job?

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I really like my job— I, however, do not like my director’s communication style (or lack of). Each time I ask for clarification, the message becomes more muddled. It’s to the point that after every conversation I send an email recapping the convo and what I believe my duties are for the project. AND HER EXPECTATIONS STILL CHANGE CONSTANTLY AND ARE NEVER EXPRESSED. She’ll say one thing in a meeting (which we have 875,785,321,000 of), change her mind, say she never said statement/goal A (even though they’re in the minutes), harp on statement/goal B, say statement/goal C to someone else (that you overhear, so now you think expectations are changed), and then throw you under the bus because you accomplished  goals B & C, but really she wanted A. Then schedule another meeting to talk about why you didn’t do A!

There are several other people in the office who have an issue with my director. In fact, to my estimation, everyone does except our CEO. When issues get brought up, our CEO continuously takes my director’s side. I’m sorry, if your turnover rate seems to be like two out of four people every year… I would start looking at the management and not berate millenials for their lack of professionalism (several of the employees who quit were millennials, a lot were not).

The disdain toward her is so severe that everyone talks about it. ALLLL THE TIME. SO MUCH COMPLAINING. I can’t take complaining without action. So I’ve tried to be active in doing my job well, and minimizing any miscommunication. It still sucks though.

Because I’ve expressed this frustration with a few friends, they’ve asked me to reevaluate my job. Loving your job isn’t enough. Loving your job is not enough.

Questions I’ve asked:

Question #1: Do I think the workplace drama will ever change? Answer no. I’m actually afraid to go to our HR person about it for fear that word will get out (because it has before) and more drama will be created. For example if I went to HR to ask for a Standard Operating Procedures manual for my department (so the rules are written down somewhere are can’t be changed for each person), I’m nervous our HR person would go to my director and say that I, personally, said this instead of it being anonymous. Then my director would be upset that I went “over her head” instead of coming to her (EVEN THOUGH IT HAS BEEN SUGGESTED A MILLION TIMES IN TEAM MEETINGS). The director will then go to the CEO to complain about how out of line it was for me to go to HR (WHAT?!!!!). Our CEO, ultimately would end up in my office asking why I went to HR, and inquiring about ALL the other drama I must be bringing to the team. And how the drama is being creating by millennials in the office, and our issues with authority. Not worth it. I don’t think the drama will go away unless the people go away.

Question #2: Can you talk to your National Organization? Answer yes. I’ve actually been informed that a few years ago National tried to get involved to do an overhaul of my chapter, but our CEO intervened and was able to convince National that she could stabilize the situations. I definitely can email the National Organization to inform them of the favoritism, lack of clear standards, ever changing communication, and internal drama going on.

Question #3: If you leave, what’s next? What is your dream job? I have no idea! I don’t have a dream job. I think that’s why I’ve been just ok (if that) at any job I’ve done. My heart isn’t in it. I like people. I like helping others, but I suck at the minute details of organizing, planning, and desk job tasks. I need my job to have different aspects so I don’t get bored or sucked into daydreaming. I would like my job to have set schedule so my evenings and weekends are not constantly being bombarded with work events. I think the most difficult part of people asking me this questions is I’ve realized I don’t have a dream.

I don’t have a dream. That sounds so depressing. My journey this year is to find my dream. I think as soon as I recognize what I want to do, I can take the steps to get there.

Now the question is… how do you find your passion/ dream?

To All The Moms

You are amazing.

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Last week I watched Beck for a few hours and I almost died.

I’ve babysat several times now, but usually during a nap/ nighttime. My sister is kind to plan things around baby sleeps for me. 🙂 Last week was different. NO NAPS (EVEN THOUGH THE PICTURE ABOVE SHOWS ONE. IT’S A LIE SOCIAL MEDIA TELLS)!

Gayle had to go to a mid-day appointment last week, so I offered to watch Beck during my lunch. Easy peasy, right? Wrong. Sick Beck is a different baby. He is a grumpy, monster, who needs to be held. This kid is like over 20 pounds. I held him for over an hour…. but not just holding him worked. No, he needed to be bounced. Then he needed to be held, bounced, and fed. He didn’t want to stay in one spot and be bounced, but walked and bounced. Man.

Literally I could not pick up my phone that night. (1. I’m totally out of shape. 2. HE IS HEAVY!)

Eventually after an hour and some minutes he fell asleep in my arms (and then cried when I put him down). I melted. This kid. Oh man. I’d do it all over again for those sweet cuddles. Literally, not even 5 minutes after this, the parents came home.

This isn’t a post to talk about how awesome of an aunt I am. I already know that. 😉 This is one to say I didn’t realize how awesome of a mom my sister is, and all you moms out there who do this on the daily! And a lot of moms do this with more than one kid! HOW!?

You all probably have amazing arm muscles (or back problems). You probably can feed a baby in one arm, pick up the dropped banana, and text on the phone all at the same time. You probably can put a baby down without waking them up, or wipe their nose without making them cry.  You probably have learned to eat when you can, or share a gross smooshy apple and not care. You are magic. You are mom.

Your patience is such an example of God’s patience. Your love, so sweetly illustrates Christ’s. Just an hour with a grumpy baby… how do you do it on the daily? How does Christ do it for all of time? I would, in a second, watch grumpy gills again and again; and I think that’s how the Lord is with us. He’s not happy during our disobedience, but when we are obedient and walking with Him it must be so sweet.

To all my mom’s- you are amazing. You are appreciated. You are loved.

Sick & Tired

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Not only have I literally been sick & tired (almost) all year, I’m also completely sick & tired emotionally regarding singleness. (*definitely picked this picture so I can look like I’m a crazy cat lady!)

Let me be very clear though- I am not tired or sick of being single. I AM completely over being treated as a lesser than sister-in- Christ because of my relationship status. Anyone else feel this way?

Married people are not more complete than I am. There is sanctification in singleness, just as there is in marriage. Whenever a married couple starts saying how santifying marriage is, I nod, but I also want to shout, “SO IS SINGLENESS!”

Having a spouse does not, automatically, mean you are closer to Christ. Being in a relationship, engaged, or married is not a signifier that you must be ‘good with God.’ So many people have told me grow closer to Christ, and he will provide you a man. GUESS WHAT WEIRDOS, HE ALREADY DID! He provided Himself! CHRIST! Growing closer to Christ is the reward! That should be your goal when reading the Bible, praying, singing His praise- to grow your relationship with Him, not to pretend to want to know Him more in order to get a dude.

Being single does not mean we are second class citizens (even though sometimes it feels that way).

I have a super, sweet, recently married friend who came to church in a long-distance engagement. After her wedding, and when her groom moved to New Mexico and started attending church with her, she revealed to me that people at church started talking to her and inviting them for dinner. She was shocked that most of these church members asked if she was new to the church, even though she had been attending for almost a year, and joined the church months prior to her wedding. They never saw her before, in her (and my) opinion because she was single. It never crossed their minds to invite a single brother or sister to their home for dinner, or out for coffee. She was invisible until married. This dear friend really appreciates experiencing this because she now has a larger, more genuine heart, for the singles in our church– she’s the first to invite them to traditionally ‘couples only’ events.  ❤

Leaders can be single. Leaders in the church can be single (*cough*cough* Paul? anyone?). Why don’t we see more single people in leadership positions? Are they not stepping up? Are they not being asked? Are they even being seen?

This is just a rant. I love my church with every molecule of my single-being. I love my friends. I love my community. I’m just tired over people assuming I’m desperate to be married… there is nothing wrong with being single.

33 Days Strong

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I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions. I just feel like resolutions are so rigid and almost legalistic. They don’t get to the heart of the issue really (unless yours does.. then that’s awesome!). Like what’s the point of setting a resolution to not eat sugar for the year? That’s ridiculous sounding! Unless it’s because you want to live healthier (but then that should be your goal). Or you would like to grow your willpower/ resistance…. like I could maybe get behind that.

I’m one of those weirdos that set intentions for the year… and with that said… my intention this year is to live a year with less focus on materialism. I could just say I’m not buying any new clothes (because really, my closet has grown so much and has moved to the living room)… but it’s so much more than that to me. It’s about being able to go to my favorite stores, and recognize that new clothes won’t fulfill anything. They might bring me joy, but no more joy than a sweet walk in the Bosque with a friend.

If I was dogmatic, I wouldn’t allow myself any new, unnecessary item, but that’s just rules. I want legit change of desire. I’ve recently been at Anthro with a fitting room full of clothes that I wanted sooooo much, and then just left (I put everything back), because I couldn’t justify spending THAT much money on clothes. Literally, only to leave the store, go to Target, and put a bunch of clothes in my cart…. WHAT THE WHAT? I was walking through the store arguing with myself (anyone else do this?).

“You don’t need these.” “It’s so much cheaper than Anthro…” “Buy it.” “Don’t buy it.” “Don’t buy it.” “You need dog food.” “This sweater is sooooo perfect.” “You’re saving money here.” “You said you wouldn’t buy new clothes…” “No I said I would try to live a less materialistic life… and wouldn’t dispose of as much stuff.” “Ugh, just buy it all or don’t buy anything.” “Why do you need new clothes?” “I don’t.” “Do you have something like this that serves the same purpose?” “Yes, I have several items that are similar to this.” “Answer made.”

Honestly, fighting with yourself is exhausting. But I’m so happy to say I’m 33 days in 2018, and have not bought any new clothes!

Also there is a difference between intention and resolutions (I just haven’t described it well), but there also isn’t reallllly. So if you’ve made one or the other, and it’s helping you become happier and/or healthier: YOU CAN DO IT! YOU’VE GOT THIS! Don’t be a slave to it, allow yourself some grace, and here’s to a great 2018!