Advent

As I sip a home-ade mocha in the wee hours of this Saturday morning, listening to Bing Crosby and the rain pitter-patter on the window, I’m resting in the fact that it’s Advent season. A time for me that used to be filled with endless Christmas parties, Secret Santas, and hoping that I didn’t forget to give someone a gift.  But I’m learning to embrace the stillness and beauty and declare that my deepest desire is that Christ be here, in my midst, in our midst.

 

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Don’t get me wrong, I still love making Christmas cookies, decorating, watching Christmas movies and sending out cards.  I get extremely nostalgic around Christmas, yet I don’t want nostalgia to drown out the present.  The present spent with mornings in the Prophets (Jeremiah 23 and Isaiah 11), reviewing my longings from this past year and starting to voice my longings for this upcoming year.  Dusting off my hymnal from the bookshelf and sitting with Christmas hymns.  Taking chilly morning walks.

I want to wait well.  I want my heart to ache and long for His coming.  I want to name my limitations and not criticize myself, knowing that Christ came as a baby.  I want to more deeply accept that Christ came for me.  That even as I know his deeply penetrating love, I see that He came for the rest of creation.  He desires that all of us dwell safely.

What do you desire from this Advent season?  

 

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Thankful List

I love Thanksgiving for so many reasons: a short work week, yummy food, football, Black Friday tradition with my sister, watching Hunger games movies the past few years.  It’s an opportunity to relax and unwind without all the commercialism.

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While I don’t want this to go on and on, I do want to reflect on what I’m grateful for in this past year.

  • Officially receiving a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s. The ability to move forward in my healing journey.
  • Walking many Indy neighborhoods.  Enjoying the fresh air of many mornings while I wasn’t working.
  • Two families who let me live with them for several months each.
  • Friends who let me talk in circles as I lived into all the questions and fears I had about my vocation and chronic illness.
  • Year-round farmer’s markets in Indy.
  • The ability to return to work. Now working in a more sustainable way.
  • Spiritual Direction training and community
  • Buying meat and fish in bulk 🙂
  • A new apartment to call home and living with my best friend
  • Chelsea is still in remission

Have a lovely Thanksgiving week, friends.  What are you thankful for?

Unemployed Adventures

This past week I decided to dive in and enjoy the beautiful weather and my last week off work. (This week I’m starting tutoring at the Dyslexia Institute.  I’m really looking forward to it.)

One day I ventured off into historic Irvington, a neighborhood on the east side of Indianapolis.  I walked the Pleasant Run Trail, drank coffee and rummaged through old books at BookMama’s, buying a few poetry collections.

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The next day I drove to Bargersville, a southern suburb of Indy and enjoyed wine tasting at a local winery with a friend from my Sunday school class at Redeemer who reminded me to keep writing.

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I enjoyed getting the kitchen messy by making beef and butternut stew along with pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  I re-read Shauna Niequist’s Bread and Wine and got excited to keep cooking.  I started reading Anne of the Island and thought back to Anne Shirley re-runs yearly growing up.

Several times throughout the week, as I would pause and think about ups and downs of the last year, and simply say, “I feel content.” Life is not what I thought, but I’m content.  I’m someone who loves adventures, books, walking, nature.

I felt free to be, to simply enjoy and delight, to take life slowly.  

I’m still someone who prizes efficiency, checking boxes off the list, and I need to be reminded to just be.  To enjoy. To delight. To leave my schedule behind, or throw it away.

These unemployed adventures help ground me to the present moment, that in paying attention to the moment truly does give me joy.

What adventures have you taken recently?

Autumn 2015

Last week I wrote about my time of solitude at Eagle Creek Park.  I gazed into flaming reds, rusty oranges, and bright yellows and sensed that I too was being made beautiful like these trees.

This year, I’ve grown in my ability to mourn, to show hospitality towards myself, to be deeply committed to a friend.  I’ve set up rhythms and traditions, I’m more present-minded, and I’m willing to pursue my longings while knowing my limits.

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Yesterday I went back to Eagle Creek for a walk.  Leaves were no longer on the trees.  Yet beauty was still everywhere.  Leaves lined the trail and the barren trees allowed the lake to be more visible.  This year was also a year of loss.  I’ve given up my job and some friendships.  Within these losses I see the Lord slowly stripping away my future-oriented planner self, my pride, arrogance and people-pleasing ways.

Autumn is a time of loss but also a time of beauty.

Join me in doing some self-reflection: How are you being made more beautiful right now?