Live Slow

If you know me, you probably know that I have a little obsession with sloths. It began with some dear friends several years ago at a restaurant in Boston, and that’s all I’m gonna tell ya about that.

Since that time, I’ve collected a few sloth items. (I may have taken the obsession a little farther than my friends.) Among these sloth items is a sweatshirt from etsy that, adorned with a hanging sloth, says “Live Slow.” I love it! (Thanks mom.)

I wore this sweatshirt last week on a rainy day. My little guy and I met a friend for lunch at a local coffee shop. After lunch, we ran through the rain to the parking garage where my car was, planning to head down the road for our weekly Target excursion. I realized that the kiddo needed to eat, so instead of putting him in his car seat, I pulled him into the front seat with me and nursed him. Since he was over due for a nap, he quickly fell asleep. I knew he needed it, so I sat in the car for 1.5 hours and let him sleep in my arms, while I perused the interwebs on my iPhone. (What did we do before iPhones?!)

I looked down at my shirt. “Live slow.” I thought, “yep. I’m doing it.”

I then started contemplating the life of a sloth. The word slothful means “the quality or state of being lazy.” Sloth is one of the 7 deadly sins (whatever those are about…). But guys, sloths are not lazy or sinful (obviously, they are animals). They are exactly what they were created to be. They don’t run around wasting their energy on unimportant things. They do what matters, when it matters. It’s a slow life. But it’s a good life.

And I’m realizing, as I enter this phase of life, that I don’t want to be slothful, but I do want to be like a sloth. I want to do a few things that really matter and I want to do them really well. I do not want to waste my time running around doing unimportant things.

I’m not saying a fast paced life is a bad thing. I’ve had plenty of seasons that were really busy and fast paced, and needed to be. I may have more of them in the future. But for now, especially as a new mom… I feel personally compelled to learn from sloths, “live slow,” and do a few important things really well.

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^ a sloth we watched moving along when we were on our honeymoon in Costa Rica

a numbered list of pregnancy randomness

A numbered list of pregnancy randomness. {In other words, don’t expect anything profound here.}

1. I read somewhere that the average pregnant woman’s brain capacity decreases by 4%. (Don’t worry. It usually returns to normal post pregnancy.) I have no means through which to make such calculations, but I am feeling the famous “pregnancy brain” for sure.

2. Everyone always talks about how beautiful and amazing pregnancy is. I’m SO on board with that. It’s all very true. But can we just talk some about how so very WEIRD it is. Little tiny people grow inside of us, full size, people. And they TAKE OVER OUR BODIES. [I’m not complaining. It’s all worth it, for sure. I’m just saying…]

3. JUST now, for example, my little guy wiggled and my whole belly moved. My body moved guys, but I didn’t move it. HE did. I love that. AND it’s WEIRD!!!!

4. For some reason, I always want to spell belly with an IE at the end. It’s weird. I’d like to blame it on pregnancy brain but it’s probably at least half more about my life-long struggle with homophones.

5. My due date is in 8 weeks. That feels both REALLY soon and SO far away. It’s REALLY soon when I think about all the things I still need to do, all the STUFF we still need to acquire. It feels REALLY soon when I think about the potential of him coming 2 weeks early. That’s only 6 WEEKS. It feels SO far away when I think about it as 2 months from now. 2 more months of being pregnant? I’d rather not. When I think about the possibility of him arriving 2 weeks LATE… Well, 10 weeks feels like an eternity.

6. One of my favorite things about being pregnant is that I’m not the only one. Several of my dearest friends are pregnant too! They keep me sane. We text all the time about all the weird things that these kiddos are doing to our bodies. It’s so comforting to hear the “me too!” and the “YES… and this too!” Becoming a mother alongside close friends (though separated by miles) is so delightful! I love shared experiences.

7. I just have to say, that my husband is super fantastic at dealing with all my insanity (only some of which is due to pregnancy). It just reaffirms a million times over that he is going to be an awesome father, as well as husband… for the long haul!

I’ve learned some deeper things through this experience of pregnancy as well…
But, I couldn’t write about those without first acknowledging these things. :)

How much longer? // rest

I love when Christ reveals Himself through everyday stories. So, here’s one for you…

— — —

I have pink-eye. More accurately, I have bacterial conjunctivitis.
It’s awesome.
So awesome, I tell you, that I woke up EARLY in the morning and said in a semi-panicky voice, “I can’t open my eyes!!!” My husband said, “It’s okay. We’ll take care of it later. But right now, you don’t need to open your eyes. Just sleep.” I said, “BUT, it hurts!” And he said, “It won’t hurt if you just sleep.” I said, “okaaay…” and rolled over. He reached over and rubbed my back for a moment and soon, we both dozed back to sleep.
When the alarm to get up went off, still pretty early in the morning, he went and got me a wet cloth so that I could clean my eyes, open them, and see.

— — —

I’ve been thinking about this early morning incident all day and I see such a picture of Christ in Jon’s response to my panic…

When I wake up in the middle of the night, I like to be able to look at a clock so I can  know how much longer I have to sleep. I don’t know why I find that so important. It doesn’t actually matter. It’s time to sleep, not time to worry about or dwell on how much longer I have to sleep.

I’ve been reminded today of the many times I am like this with the Lord about life, plans, or spiritual understanding. I’ve definitely asked the Lord in a panicky way “How much longer until ___________?” once or twice (or a lot more than that) before because I was wanting to see something I could not see. 

I think we probably all spend time wondering the answers to questions like: How much longer will I struggle with this issue? How much longer will I feel this disappointment or shame? How much longer will things keep going well? How much longer will it take for me to learn that you’ve got this? How much longer am I going to be single? How much longer until I’ll have children? How much longer until I’ll be able to have a job that I really love? How much longer will the Lord have me stay where I am? How much longer until I can retire? How much longer? How much longer?!?!?!

In those moments of wondering “How much longer?” the Lord is often gently telling us, “It’s not time. You don’t need to see. Just rest.” (Like Jon did for me this morning.) And our response is often something like my,”BUT it hurts,” But, as Jon told me… “It won’t hurt if you just sleep.” He was right. It only hurt because I was trying to open my eyes and see. When I chose to rest, I was fine. And when it was time to get up, Jon brought me what I needed to help me see.

When we REST in the Lord, there is no need to dwell on the “How much longer” questionsWhen it is time to see, the Lord will provide what we need to open our eyes.

TECHNICALLY, I’m a “housewife?” // so that I know who I really am

Two weeks before Jon and I got married, I – unexpectedly – quit my job. It was a hard decision for me, but a needed and worthwhile one.

I did NOT quit my job because I wanted to stay home and be a “housewife,” although – TECHNICALLY – that is currently what I’m doing. That’s actually quite a hilarious thought to me. I’m a “housewife?” I’m not saying there is anything wrong with being one, I’m just saying it’s not “me.”

I expected that someday, when there were children in the mix, I would stay home. I did not expect to start marriage this way.

And yet, it has been a really valuable time for me…

I didn’t want to quit my job until I had a plan of something to DO next. I’ve always been a DOer and a GOer. I’ve spent most of my life “thriving” on busy schedules filled with lots of people and long “to do” lists. I’ve realized that I found much of my identity in my DOing and my GOing. But it was a false identity. 

I’ve struggled a bit with my lack of DOing in the last 4 months. I’ve loathed the question, “So, what do you do?” from new people who I meet or old friends that I’m catching up with. I don’t know what to say. Uhhh… I plan meals. I grocery shop. I cook. I clean (but less than I should). I do laundry (and often leave it in the dryer for a day or two.) [I’m not a good housewife, you see.] I have coffee with my friends. I read good books. I paint. I write. I babysit my friends’ kids. I spend time with Jesus. — It’s beautiful. It’s a season. I’m grateful for it. It’s full of His purpose. — BUT… That FEELS like a lame answer.

It feels like I’m a spoiled and possibly lazy little girl who got married so she wouldn’t have to workThat’s not true. At all. But that is what I sometimes perceive that others will think when I tell them that I do not have a job, nor am I very actively looking for one quite yet.

And so I find myself constantly having to choose to PRESS IN to my identity IN CHRIST alone. I am not defined by what I do or don’t do, where I go or don’t go. I’m defined by my BEing in CHRIST. This season is such a precious and needed reminder of that for me. I know it’s only a season and I look forward to some new and different things that will come… But for now I simply shall say… Thank you,  Jesus, for the treasure of being stripped of much DOing so that I can know who I really am, in you.

Well, hello there! // a numbered list of 10 random ramblings

Well, hello there!
I know. You thought I disappeared, forever.
It seems a case of writer’s block has, once again, made itself comfortable here. I’m okay with that, actually, but ready for it to end.
I cannot believe that January only has 10 days left in it and I’ve yet to write thoughts for the new year or reflections on the last.
I know that there are (a few) people out there eagerly awaiting Part 4 of Our Story, which I INTEND to post this week.
But today, I shall simply ramble about whatever comes to mind in a numbered list sort of fashion, starting now…

1. A year ago today, I was in CA packing the few belongings I had left in the world and preparing to make the journey move to TN. I left CA on January 29th. I drove the two-day trek to Dallas, stayed there for a couple of days visiting good friends, and then continued on to Nashville.
2. It’s crazy that Nashville has been my home for almost a year now (February 2nd). It’s also crazy that I’ve ONLY been here for (not even) a year.
3. AND if ANYTHING is crazy, it’s certainly INSANE that I’ve been married for over 4 months!!!!
4. Miracles. Happen. :)
5. I’ve been thinking about Christ as our Refuge for weeks now. The truth and reality of Him as such is stuck in the forefront of my mind and spirit. So, I looked the word up today. It means protection, shelter, relief, harbor, and retreat… among other things. Christ is Harbor. The place we dock and unload and stay. He’s home. Christ is Retreat. The place we go when we need to get away from it all. I’m going to stop and dwell on that beauty for a bit… You?

6. Last year I wrote 12 things I wanted/needed to do in 2012. Here’s how it went: no, yes, almost, some, if averaged – way more than yes, yes – mostly, nope, yes, yes, nope – none, yes – I think so, nope – maybe this year?
7. I wonder what I’ll look like if I live to be a hundred years old.
8. When I was a kid, koalas were my favorite animal. I have no idea why. There’s just something about them… And there’s something about this video that I find extremely moving and inspiring:

9. Who’s excited about 2013?! 
10. Read any good books lately? Do share!

remembering // light changes what’s around it

1 year ago, I wrote this:

Yes folks. That’s the latest news in my life. I have decided to move to Nashville. The details are still very much in the process. I’m applying for jobs and looking for ways to “make it work.” Mostly I’m just saying, “YES!” to where Jesus is taking me and I’m rather excited about the adventures that await… (and sometimes also a little freaked out by the number of unknowns involved… but that’s living, right?)

Since then, I got a car. I moved to Nashville and became a part of the most amazing body of believers! I got a job. I started dating and fell in love. I got my own apartment and lived alone (after having 20 roommates in the past 10 years). I got engaged. I quit my job. I got married. I got rid of my apartment and moved into his. And I turned 30 (a couple of weeks ago).

Yes folks. It’s been a crazy year –  an amazing CRAZY year. Whirlwindish in the best way.

Now, I’m really excited about THIS season. It seems as though I’m settling in – not just to Nashville, to Body Life (living in community with members of His body), or to married life… although that is happening too… But a more significant settling in is occurring when it comes to my identity in Christ.

You may have caught this above but, if you didn’t, I’m not working at the moment. Right before we got married, it became clear that I needed to quit my job. Quitting was honestly quite hard, even though I really didn’t want to be in the position I was working in. [It’s a long story.] Jon and I made the choice because we wanted more LIFE (read: Christ) and less of what isn’t LIFE. And I haven’t looked for another job yet. I will, when the Lord tells me it’s time. For now, He’s told me that it is a time to REMEMBER.

I don’t know what all this journey of remembering entails. So far, it’s included re-awakening a part of me that has been in hibernation for many years.

When I was in middle school, I did stuff like this with oil paints…

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I used to think of it as just a hobby, a talent, or maybe sometimes a passion… It filled my time and I wanted to be social instead, so I quit, because I found life with people. I didn’t find it sitting in a room painting. And yet, ever since I quit – so many years ago, I’ve wanted to start again. It’s like a part of me was trapped and needed to find it’s way out. But painting takes time, and I never had enough of it.

I’ve only just started back up and haven’t done much yet, but it’s been so fun. I don’t paint like I used to. It’s very different now (and so am I). And unlike before, it’s so life-giving to me. I now realize that painting isn’t just a hobby, a skill, or a passion… It’s a way that Christ has given me to express Him… And as I am REMEMBERING that (because while my head didn’t know before, my spirit always did), I’m excited to discover Him through it and to find LIFE in the expression of Him.

Here’s what I’ve worked on this week. It’s not done yet, but you can see part of the process of painting/creating/remembering/expressing below. I’m thankful to have the time and the means to wake up this part of me that’s been asleep for so long. I’m not sure what all it will entail but I’m thankful for this season, and for my husband and a body of believers here in Nashville who have encouraged me to explore it…

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… I love the way that light changes what’s around it.

not a waste | BE

Today, there is a pile of used tissues sitting on the floor next to me, medicine, plenty of liquids, and a thermometer on the coffee table in front of me. The same was true yesterday. I’ve been mostly planted on the couch so, earlier today, I thought about how this week is wasting away. I have no energy to DO anything.

The Lord brought to mind the first email Jon ever sent me. I was sick. He had read a devotion in a book called “Jesus Calling” (by Sarah Young) that reminded him of how I was feeling and decided to share it with me.

Thank Me for the conditions that are requiring you to be still.  Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again.  Some of the greatest works in My kingdom have been done from sick beds and prison cells. Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for My way in the midst of these very circumstances. Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is living close to Me.

Quietness and trust enhance your awareness of My Presence with you.  Do not despise these simple ways of serving Me. Although you feel cut off from the activity of the world, your quiet trust makes a powerful statement in spiritual realms. My Strength and Power show themselves most effective in weakness. 

Zechariah 2:13, Isaiah 30:15, 2 Corinthians 12:9

What a great reminder this was then and is now! This week is not a waste. It is a time to BE with the Lord, to quietly depend on Him, to be still, to simply trust.

One of my favorite spots on the walls of our home is this (^) reminder of just that. The Lord delights in our BEing in Him. We do not need to strive to impress Him. We do not need to busy ourselves with activities that make us more deserving of His love.  We simply need to BE, in Him, and allow His life to simply flow through us.