June 19, 2012

Trying

I want to be the best.  I want to do it all.  I want to be all things to all people.  And, I want to do it flawlessly.  I want to be the best wife, the best daughter, the best sister, the best friend, employee, runner, cook, Christian, housekeeper, musician, writer... the list goes on.  Whatever I do, I want to do it well.  Better than everyone else.

And it's exhausting.

This is nothing new.  I've always had a mean competitive streak.  A character trait that is somewhat helpful in a game of cards, but not always so helpful in life.  I often even find myself unwittingly 'competing' against no one in particular, rather my own idea of perfection.  A goal completely unattainable.  And so I fail.

Then, when I inevitably fail, the only option that remains is to try harder.  You can deduce the downward spiral from there.

Lately, through divinely placed books, conversations, and wise, loving friends, this particular issue has been brought to the forefront of my mind.  Ever so slowly, I am being taught how imperative it is that I let go of this cycle of striving.  Life seems much more manageable when I think that I can control my surroundings.  Funny thing is, that couldn't be farther from the truth.

What I need is not to be all things to all people.  What I need is not to be the best at whatever I put my hand to.  What I need is to fail.  I need to recognize how truly broken, needy, incapable, and far from perfection I really am. And until I do, I will not be living the life that glorifies the One who is worthy.  For it is in my weakness that His strength is revealed.

I write this, not as one who has come, seen, and conquered.  I write as one who is yet in the midst of the battle.  The war rages, the blood stains; yet I must - in His strength - continue to fight to seek and obtain the freedom, the peace that comes with releasing my self-inflicted burden at the foot of the Cross, for He promises that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

May I ever step aside so that when others look at me, I disappear and they see Him.

"What heights of love, what depths of peace... When fears are stilled, when strivings cease.
My Comforter, my All in All... Here in the Love of Christ, I stand."    - In Christ Alone




June 18, 2012

In Appreciation

For all the big things and all the little things, my sweet man never ceases to amaze me.  After I received a 2nd degree burn over the weekend, Cole has patiently treated my burn with application after application of aloe.  Before I have the chance to wince like a wimp when I reach for something, he is there to help.  All of a sudden, the most basic things like doing my hair or fixing dinner have become extremely painful.  (And between you and me, he's not all that bad at pulling my hair back into a ponytail - for a first-timer. ;)

While I know that this is a minor discomfort and that there are a million ways in which I could feel more miserable, this man goes above and beyond to try and make me feel comfortable.  And he never underestimates the power of a few flowers and a sweet card.

I am so thankful for this man who works so very hard during the day and prays every night that God will show him specific ways in which to love me.  This is far more than I could ever deserve.  What incredible love, what overwhelming Grace.



June 17, 2012

Old-Shoe Friends

My heart is full.

I know I say that a lot around here, but it's no less true.  As Sunday draws to a close, it is as though we are slowly waking up from the dream that has been the past 48 hours.  Granted, a dream from which you wake with sand in your hair and a rosy-red sunburn on your shoulders - but still.

This weekend, we discovered a Pacific Northwest gem to which we've been (sadly) oblivious for the past two years:  Pacific City, Oregon.  One of Cole's best friends from college and his wife recently moved there, and we finally got our act together to go visit them.  And what a weekend it was.

We arrived late Friday night and immediately hit the beach to build a fire and roast marshmallows.  Fire, s'mores, beer, and friends on the beach on a summer night- does it get more idyllic than that?
That night, we stayed up into the wee hours of the morning just talking.  Reminiscing about the 'good ole days,' and marveling that we are old enough to have 'good ole days' to talk about.  It was as if time stood still - that is, until we realized it was nearly 1:45am and we're not 21 anymore...

The next morning, after sleeping in and lingering over breakfast, we hit the beach to soak up some long-awaited summer sun.
 Some handsome guy charging the photographer....  ;)

We spent all day on the beach.  Throwing the football, tossing a Frisbee, watching the waves roll in, skipping rocks, talking and talking, cartwheeling, handstand-ing, running, relaxing, burying Matt in the sand.... and soaking up SO much sun.










In the afternoon, Cole and I stole away on our own for a few hours to summit a nearby sand dune.  The views were breathtaking (or maybe I was just still huffing and puffing from the climb...) and the sprint back down was even better.



Once at the bottom, we took full advantage of low tide and explored the tide pools and caves.  (You read that right, Mom.  I voluntarily explored those tide pools :)
This weekend was just too much.  It was a sweet disconnect from the stresses of everyday life, a sweet reconnect with dear, close friends, and the most refreshing weekend we've had in a long time.  The time flew far too fast. There is something mysterious and wonderful about the effortless comfort of close friends.  It's like my heart breathed an audible sigh of relief.
A few years ago, my parents coined the phrase "old shoe friends."  These are friends that they've known for a long time; friends who don't need a housekey - they just walk on in; friends who need no agenda or itinerary, but are simply content to just be together; friends who may as well be family; friends that just, plain fit.  Think of an old shoe - the way you effortlessly slip it on and it hugs your foot with an old, learned familiarity.  It is comfortable and it is home.  These are old shoe friends.

Thank you, Matt and Kara, for a wonderfully refreshing time of fellowship and fun.  What a sweet blessing friendship is.  You're the best lookin' old shoes we've ever seen.

Well, I'm off to spread another layer of aloe on this sunburn and sweep up the pile of sand that mysteriously made its way to our laundry room... the weekend was worth every grain.

Happy Monday!


June 7, 2012

1000 Gifts: 261-280

-The Fourteenth Installment of 1000 Gifts-

261.  Authenticity with friends
262.  Farmer's Market
263.  Cream Cheese
264.  A day with Carrie
265.  Strawberry shortcake
266.  Grace and Truth Bible Church
267.  My weakness
268.  A 5 mile run
269.  Forest Grove Farmer's Market
270.  The way the rain glistens on a leaf
271.  Breakfast with Dani
272.  Cracker Jacks
273.  A weekend in Seattle with my love
274.  When the grocery store is quiet
275.  A night at the ballpark
276.  Brutal honesty
277.  A drive with the top down on a summery spring night
278.  A free Friday night
279.  God's provision
280.  Our couches


Happy Thursday!


June 1, 2012

In the Quiet

Sometimes, words come so easily.  They flow without thought or plan.  And sometimes, there are simply no words.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot conjure up nor string together coherent sentences.  For a person like me who often seems to have no shortage of words, it is an odd feeling indeed.

Lately, I've just felt, well, quiet.  Not that life has slowed down, nor have my thoughts ceased spinning, for neither is the case - it's just that every time that I sit down to write, nothing comes out.  So, I push back my chair, refill my water glass, and retreat to the couch.  Wordless, again.

I wrestle in this space:  craving authenticity, while fearing vulnerability. Do I really have anything worth saying to add to the already over-saturated drone of the internet?  It seems somewhat self-congratulatory to assume that what I write is worth reading.  So, why do it?

I do it because I must.  I must write, I must process, I must muse.  I do it hoping that someone eavesdrops on these silly conversations that I have with myself and can relate.  I do it to keep those who are faraway nearby.  But, what about when there's nothing to say?  What then?

Well, I suppose then I just write some confuddled (yeah, totally a word) post about writing nothing.

And, even in the quiet, it turns out, there's still quite a bit of noise.



Just Us

We will also remind you that this is just a BLOG…just the highlights. We don’t sit around happily smiling for pictures all day long. Our life is far from perfect: we are imperfect people serving a perfect God. We do strive to glorify God, but we fail miserably and find comfort in knowing that our debts have been paid and we have been set free.

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