Saturday, December 3, 2016

On humanity, the law, Thanksgiving, identity, and peace.



"All nature seems to weary now, her task is nearly ended..."
 ~ Loreena Mckennit, The Seasons ~

It is a rough adjustment for me when the days grow darker. I begin to lack motivation and inspiration, but I suppose those things shall come to me again in time.

November was a lot of things that I cannot quite find the best adjectives for. It was another busy month, which was fine. Mostly, it was the days and weeks leading up to and following the election that really irritated me. Yes, irritable...that's a perfect word. I was perfectly irritable in the month of Thanksgiving. Sounds quite right, doesn't it? I should have just avoided social media and all news for the entire month. There was a lot of noise in the world concerning the election. All the fuss and nonsense of this world, once again, convinced me that I just never ever belonged to this world to begin with (well, by the "world" I mean the spirit or sense of being and thinking that is currently within mankind on a whole). I have always been an outsider in terms of popular opinion and the ways of the masses, but this election certainly revealed how much more of an outsider I am than I ever realized. I have a mess of conflicted emotions and thoughts about this country and the embarrassment that made up the entirety of both Clinton and Trump's campaigns and their followers. Nevertheless, I am not gonna waste space sharing my opinion about any of those things because it truly is a vain endeavor to do so. However, there is one area that I have thought quite a lot about since the election. It is the whole ongoing topic of inclusion. You know, it's a popular word that's thrown around quite a lot these days. The original definition of the world is pretty simple and general, but I fear that this word is being redefined by the media and the masses of our country to meet the needs of only select groups of people. After the election, due to the violence and hate seen across our country and social media outlets, there was an obvious counter movement against it. Clashing against the strong hate and opposition were messages of love, kindness, gentleness, and the whole nine yards of all the gushy sweet stuff ever to be imagined. The violence and hate were shocking and frightening to me, but I found the messages of love rather irritating. For a couple of weeks I stewed inwardly over this. Of course I believe in and desire peace, love, kindness, etc! Why would I become so aggravated by such messages? I just couldn't grasp what I was feeling. So, being a feeler, I let all the emotions just flow. I have grown accustomed to my own inner world enough to know that an objective, rational view point will come once my emotions are allowed space to just be.The irritability turned into anger and the anger then resolved into its true form: fear.

 Everyone and everything in this world will shout and kick and scream for peace and love and equality for all except when there are individuals who disagree or individuals who hold a radically opposite lifestyle and belief system from what the world only wants to accept. The 20th century brought incredible changes for people of different lifestyles, skin colors, religions, etc. It is a good and wonderful thing that everyone gets to live freely as they choose and to be whoever they are and still hold the equal and unalienable rights as anyone else. However, while changes can be made to protect the lives of all, changes cannot be enforced upon human hearts. Prejudice, animosity, and resentment. It's a human reality. And it's a reality that has to be accepted to some extent. I am not being a Negative Nancy, I am just putting a reality check out there for any who might still be denying this.

One of the core reasons why the topic of inclusion and messages pushing for kindness, acceptance, and love towards all angers me is because, deep down, I fear the truth. And the truth is that global peace and love will never exist in this imperfect world. To be quite frank, this world will tenaciously fight to support the rights and freedoms of different races, religions, genders, and the sexual preferences of all except the person(s) that says he/she believes Jesus Christ is the only way, the truth, and the life. In my heart, I know that no matter how many special privileges and rights everyone else gets, there could very well be a day where I am denied all those things because there is only One who I identify my whole being with. And it just so happens that talk of Christ is pretty darn offensive to all. I am not gonna jump the gun and say that day is drawing near or dramatically predict persecution. I am not talking about the extremes just yet. I am just voicing, generally, that the same people that protect the rights of others aren't gonna be there to protect my rights if the time ever came for such a need. It's true, you know.

When I see posts and hashtags on social media for peace and love, I get irritated because peace and love cannot be asked for. They cannot be demanded for. And they most certainly cannot be enforced! I realize that I might be taking this a little too far. I know many just want to put those messages out there to remind others, not to force it from them. I realize that and I am not against the reminders. I am speaking rather generally about this. I am not pin-pointing or accusing anyone of this. I am more addressing the sad fact (reality check, people!) that such messages can and will and are being used to enforce others to practice love, kindness, and peace towards all. These virtues are becoming something of a Law these days. This is where the definition of love, peace, and kindness is starting to become muddled. You see, once upon a time, mankind got hooked on laws and began his love affair with government to enforce them . Laws create order and are really useful for the nitty-gritty details of human life. Back in yonder days of old (hehe!), Laws were pretty cruel. They didn't protect people, but instead were, most often, oppressive. Fast forward to the western world of the 20th and, now, 21st centuries. Wow, lookie lookie...mankind finally got on to certain amount of equality and fairness. Now oppression is fought against so that all can have the same shared voice. However, I fear the tides might be (might be! Who am I kidding? They have already and, no doubt, will continue to) turning into the opposite extreme. Now, there are things called "hate crimes." While I wholeheartedly agree that violence of any kind against any person cannot be accepted or tolerated, I do not agree that merely voicing disagreement towards someone or having a radical or differing opinion of others is considered a hate crime. But this is the way the world is turning. While hate crimes are mostly defined as an exact of violence motivated by racial/sexual prejudice, there is no doubt that it has and will become a more generalized definition to extend towards anyone who merely (even peaceably!) disagrees with the lifestyle of another. To love all, to be at peace with all, to be kind towards all is becoming redefined as not ever voicing the slightest hint of disagreement, contrary opinion, or opposing belief-system towards those selected for special rights and privileges. Yet, in the same breath, those same voices will say, "yes, equality for all!" But actions speak louder than words. Inclusion, by the world's definition, is really only inclusion for some and not for all because true inclusion would mean having to accept others that don't agree with you or maybe hold a belief system that is different or (gasp!) offensive to your own feelings and thoughts. These days, everything just seems very, very conditional.

Love is now the Law and you must, you should, you ought...!



The surefire way to get the opposite of what you want is to demand and enforce what you want.



I am not sure about you, but when I am told and forced to accept someone, to love them, and to get along, I actually want to do the opposite. That kind of attitude and spirit just incites rebellion in me! To be honest, having to read all over social media that "we need to love" or "be kind" or "be this" or "be that," brought about an eruption of anger, rebellion, and anti-everything and anti-everyone in me. This might shock some readers, which I am totally okay with. I am human. Just because I am a born-again Christian doesn't mean I never feel anger, rebellion, and dislike. Last I checked, I am still flesh and blood. And I certainly do not want to be told how to be. To be told that I need to be loving smells like the foul beginnings of the Law at work. Oh, good intentions are behind it all, I am sure. But good intentions aren't enough. And if anyone would love a detailed look at the spirit of the Law, read the entire book of Romans. The Law today looks different, but it's the exact same spirit.

So, in summary, I am not an advocate for that kind of inclusion, love, kindness, or peace. Those are warped definitions.

As one who claims Christ as the only way, the truth, the life, I am aware and accept that there are and will be others who may hold their prejudices or hostility towards me, perhaps from assuming that I am like others of the Christian belief who have been harsh or judgemental towards them. I get it. I have the "unpopular religion." But I do hope that as much as I strive to extend mutual acceptance and understanding, that others will also give the same to me. Also, another reality check (gasp!), judgements are a natural part of being human. Yes, many times judgements are irrational and unfair, but hey, that is part of the human journey and we all grow in humility at our own pace (sometimes later rather than sooner, unfortunately).

So maybe we should all just accept each other at where we are at in our human journey, whether it looks offensive and ugly or not?

A nice thought, but probably never gonna happen. Mankind is predictable and mankind loves to stay on repeat. Quite frankly, this is really what I need to accept.



As one who identifies with Christ alone, I strive to be peaceable towards all, to treat others with a gentle kindness and with an enduring love for humanity because no matter how far we have fallen, the original blueprint in every human being is that every man and woman was made in the image of God. I also strive for honesty and truth that will not be watered down, but will seek to administer such opinions or truth with gentleness and zero hostility.

So, this past Thanksgiving I wanted to reflect on the really basic, eternal things that I am thankful for. To be human and to live in a human world means there will be change, decay, inconsistency, and instability. I can't set my joy purely in the things that are fading away.

I am thankful to be free of the the Law, from all the shapes and forms that it takes. I am thankful that my identity as a child of God is eternally sealed, made in His image, born again with a new heart and mind by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit in me. I am thankful to be free to Love unconditionally (with the growth, patience, and time that, that takes as a new creation to show). I am thankful that my hope and my future does not hinge upon Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump or any ruler for that matter. I am thankful that this one life I have been given is not my own - I am free from having to demand my way or my wants because I can now choose to trust in Him who so cares for me, in trials, sickness, blessing, and more.

So, blah blah, my opinion, my thoughts, my stance. I know these words are like one star among all the billions. Most of the time, I just keep my thoughts to myself on the internet. But, since this is my blog, I might as well as be me every now and then. ;-P

Finally, photos! Some of them are from earlier in the month when Nolan and I took a short hike, some every day shots, and then some snapshots from Thanksgiving with Nolan's family. I meant to take more photos, but most of the time I am just lazy.













The morning after the November supermoon event!
Walk away for one minute and the kitty claims your seat!













































You can tell my husband is a fan of photos, right?




































 






















And I close on a personal note regarding my chronic pain journey.

I have been going to physical therapy since April for major chronic pain issues in my thoracic spine area, left shoulder blade and upper shoulder, and neck. This journey has been intense. Relief, then return of pain, then relief, then pain. Emotions sailing high and low. Thoughts spiraling, thoughts normalizing. I am significantly recovered from the state I was in when I first started attending physical therapy. For once, I don't feel totally trapped in a cage of restricted, tight muscles and throbbing pain and misalignment. I actually have my posture back! Never did I realize how wonderful it felt to sit up straight naturally instead of constantly fighting to hold myself up. I still have many more days of therapy to go. It's taking longer than I had planned or wanted. These sessions take a big portion out of my hard-earned checks. I recently felt the dagger of self-inflicted guilt when I began to really put the pieces together and understand the cause of my chronic pain. It's humiliating, really. I thought my chronic pain was due to haywire hormones and a gut imbalance. For so long, I wanted to believe I was the victim of my own body doing its own thing because of the stress of life. But in truth, I did this. I brought about my own battle with physical pain by the many poor, irrational, and devastating choices I made in 2014/early 2015 when I lost all sense of who I was. I did some specific (unintentionally!) harmful things to myself during that season. That year truly did bring about a crisis of identity in me. Brought on by the divorce of my parents, the harsh realities of moving to a new city, and leaving behind all that was familiar and comfortable, I lost myself. 2014 was the year when the me that I knew, the me that I made up, was torn down. The person I am now is not who I was just 2 to 3 years ago. I have faced massive challenges in every aspect of my being and I pray that I am a better person because of all this. I pray that I am now becoming who I was always meant to be because of these trials. All this pain, this awful amount of both physical and heart-wrenching pain, has broken my inward Spirit again and again. For so long, I have resented these words spoken by Charles Spurgeon: "I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages." I have battled hard with God (still do, sometimes) about so many things, about who He is, about who I am. Slowly, I am emerging from that spirit of conflict and fighting into one that rests and waits and trusts. The ability to rest, wait, and trust emerges from that awareness of who the Lord is, who He truly is, not who others or myself have described Him as. And it emerges from a renewed awareness of my own identity. My identity - no longer linked to family members, my husband, friends, or my accomplishments, talents, or my physical state, or even my emotional being. My identity, now sealed into something unchangeable. I am Abba's child. I am the beloved of the Father, the fruits of which may not yet fully be revealed, but are slowly growing into place. There is a stillness and steadiness in this. How can there be such peace in so much that is not made whole or made right? How can an invisible, unknown God be seen and known? How can I know belonging and certainty in the aloneness and the unmerciful changes of time?


Could It Be?
Michael Card

In the ebb and flow of living
As we wander through the years
We're told to listen to a voice
We can't hear with our ears

They say to live by something
That you can't see with your eyes
Is there really any purpose
To this foolish exercise?

Could it be, You make Your presence known
So often by Your absence?
Could it be that questions tell us more
Than answers ever do?

Could it be that You would really rather
die
Than live without us?
Could it be the only answer that means
anything
Is You?

In our words and in our silence
In our pride and in our shame
To the genius and the scholar
To the foolish and insane

To the ones who care to seek You
To the ones who never will
You are the only answer even still

Could it be, You make Your presence known
So often by Your absence?
Could it be that questions tell us more
Than answers ever do?

Could it be that You would really rather
die
Than live without us?
Could it be the only answer that means
anything
Is You?

It's a question you can't answer
An answer you cannot express
That the gentle Man of Sorrow
Is the source of happiness

You'll never solve the mystery
Of this magnetic man
For you must believe to understand

Could it be, You make Your presence known
So often by Your absence?
Could it be that questions tell us more
Than answers ever do?

Could it be that You would really rather
die
Than live without us?
Could it be the only answer that means
anything
Is You?

Could it be the only answer that means
anything
Is You?



Wednesday, November 2, 2016

the last glow

My post for October isn't going to be wordy. It was a simple month filled with expected things. I may whine about boring routines (always have, hehe!), but it's what I would most like for, at least, the next couple years. Routines are stable and grounding and I am grateful to be in a season where that's what my weeks consist mostly of (never thought I'd ever say such a thing! haha). There is something comforting about coming home to my husband each evening, whether it was a rough day and we have to vent about it or not. Coming home feels safe.



Because Nolan and I were a bit lazy this year, we ended up missing the peak season for colors in the high country. Just didn't get out there in time! So, we drove west towards Hesperus at the beginning of October and found some trees that were still glowing. While everyone has been filling their minds with the negative realities of the upcoming election, I felt an extreme desire to get lost in the woods, to forget everything about this world, to be held by the beauty and comfort of nature quietly soothing me.











 














We attempted to capture some trees here in Durango at sunset, but only snapped a few nice images in the process. The sun disappears fast!



 




















October was unusually warm here and that motivated me to bike ride quite a bit. Since I absolutely dislike exercising during the winter months (even on the sunny days, I can't stand aerobic exercise with the bitter cold air or wind nipping at my face!), I am trying to take advantage of this 60 or 70 degree weather before I just want to hibernate every day.




Ah, here are my Outlander Pops celebrating with me as I embarked on the eighth book of the Outlander series. ^_^ It's taken me a year and a half to make it through Gabaldon's series and while she has yet to publish book 9, I do feel pretty accomplished that I made it through these thick novels. Not all of them were worth my time, but book 8 has definitely been more satisfying.



And, on the last weekend of October, Nolan and I enjoyed a wonderful dining experience at James Ranch in the Animas River Valley. It's a family-owned farm, market, and eatery. I have no idea why we never thought to go there sooner! I am sure it's even more inviting in the summer with all the greenery and more produce. Definitely going back there next year! For anyone who might ever pass through southwest Colorado, I definitely recommend checking out this place here. Their grass-fed beef hamburgers are divine! It was a relaxing place to end the month.



p.s. Note to self, have Nolan take more photos of me in the future so others know of my existence. haha! I have noticed that, lately, I haven't been in many of our photos. I will try to be in more photos this next month, especially during Thanksgiving week!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

"cause that's the way of time, nothing and no one goes unchanged"


Nearly everyone says autumn is their favorite season. For me, it's mixed with longing and nostalgia. I adore the radiant displays of colors, but the fact that it ushers in so much change makes me a bit melancholy. I don't accept change very well these days. So, naturally, I found myself struggling with some sadness most of the month of September. This is largely due to the fact that I reached the six month mark from when I last saw my family and friends. I have noticed this pattern ever since I moved away from my first home in fall of 2013. I can make it pretty well for awhile and enjoy my life without them, but after six months of not being with them I am overcome by enormous waves of homesickness and longing. Needless to say, all the feels came on strong in September. Darn my intense emotions! Also, the end of summer and beginning of autumn season has always marked huge transitional changes during my 20s. In 2009 August, I was given a terribly rude awakening when a very close friend (who I thought was going to be in my life forever) betrayed me and I was forced to wake up to reality and make some decisions about my life. In 2010 August, I came home from a Bible school to find that my parents' marriage was on the brink of its end and, also, we were moving away from our house that was dear to me for six years. In 2012 September, Nolan and I became engaged. In 2013 August-November, Nolan and I are started to prepare for our move to ABQ, NM. In 2014 October, my battle with chronic anxiety and pain began (a chapter which is coming closer and closer to a happy ending, thanks to the wonders of herbalism, nutrition, and physical therapy). So, as one can see, the entire period from August through November is mingled with hard, tragic, and good memories that spurred radical change in my life. The weight and reality of this is almost always on my mind. Thankfully, this autumn season hasn't been too eventful. September was mostly filled with routine and as dull as some days felt, I am happy to just feel a bit more settled here in Durango.

At the beginning of the month, I tried my hand at some grain-free English muffins, which tasted scrumptious with melted butter and raw honey drizzled on top. My husband made the delicious "James Monroe Punch" (an actual recipe put together by the James Monroe, yes!) with fresh grapes from his parents' vineyard that we juiced. It was divine! 



I came to the end of one of my goals this year by printing the past 3.5 years in photos. As I type this, I am waiting on the last batch of 300 photos (of all the ones I've taken in 2016 so far!) to arrive at my door soon. It will be added to the collection below. ^_^ It's pretty fun to finally have hard copies of our photos from our 3 years of marriage. We've seen and done so much and I am so glad I have become more intentional about taking photos. 




We spent a weekend picking more produce from the Rhodes' homestead. Apples, plums, pears, grapes, tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and more. Picking fruits and veggies there never grows old. I want to always remember the abundance of my husband's parents' home and hearts. The moments I have spent with them have been comforting and dear.





Beautiful Russian Sage!




















































I went on a little shooting excursion with my husband, sister-in-law, and her husband. As you can see, things got interesting...hehe! I'm all pro-gun and stuff, but personally, I don't really feel the sport is for me. >_<


































And, as promised, some photos of our finished bedroom decor! While I still plan to re-finish and paint the bed frame at some point, I am done with purchasing pretty items for our space. Most of the ideas for our room came straight from Pinterest. I wanted to keep our space pretty simple and, as much as possible, fairly minimalist. There are lots more ideas I could have implemented in our space, but due to the budget going towards more important items (like the macrame wall display, macrame plant hanger, the Song of Solomon verse wooden sign, and the canvas prints of our engagement/wedding), I decided to keep it straight-to-the-point. The dried lavender hanging on the wall by the door is from our wedding day. Still a lovely reminder of our special day!









































And one with the strings light on! Ooooo!
And thus ends another month! I leave you with a gorgeous and sultry Jazz tune, Everything Must Change, as sung by Oleta Adams. I was introduced to this song by a vocal instructor of mine years ago and it has stuck with me ever since. I sing it to myself to help myself through life transitions because music = peace in my being, even if it's a melancholy tune and the music makes me cry. Isn't it just divine that music is always a balm of healing?


Everything must change
Nothing stays the same
Everyone will change
No one stays the same

The young become the old
And mysteries do unfold
'Cause that's the way of time
Nothing and no one goes unchanged

There are not many things in life
You can be sure of

Except rain comes from the clouds
Sun lights up the sky

And hummingbirds do fly
Winter turns to spring
A wounded heart will heal
But never much too soon

Yes, everything will change
The young become the old
And mysteries do unfold
'Cause that's the way of time

Nothing and no one goes unchanged
There are not many things in life
You can be sure of
Except...

Except rain comes from the clouds
Sun lights up the sky
And hummingbirds do fly

Rain comes from the clouds
Sun lights up the sky
And hummingbirds do fly

Rain comes from the clouds
Sun lights up the sky
Hummingbirds do fly

Everything must change
No one stays the same
No one, no one
Everyone must change

Except the rain, the sun...
The music makes me cry

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

colorado life & identity struggles

 Summer's gone. It's difficult to accept. It felt incredibly short this year and I didn't make the most of it as I had hoped. Oh well, next year, right? There's a definite chill in the air and it makes me a little melancholy, but I'll survive another Colorado winter. ;) 

So, what did August bring? Mostly, routine. And, for that, I am grateful. As much as my free-spirited self loves spontaneity and fun, I really feel more grounded when there is routine in my life. I am living a blessed life here in Colorado and I do not take this season for granted at all.

My husband took me on a long back road drive through the mountains during one of the last warm weekends of the summer. We drove along Missionary Ridge and ended up at Henderson Lake, where we took our little boat out on the water. We ate our Jimmy John sandwiches and chocolate as we basked in the peaceful late morning glow. Finding private getaways is my husband's area of expertise and I have enjoyed many nice locations with him over the few years of our marriage. 




























Photos on the boat had to be taken with my cell phone as there was no way I was risking my DSLR camera on the water! hehe!











The view on the drive down from Missionary Ridge!

On another weekend, we woke up early to savor the first delights of the Durango Farmer's Market. It was pure bliss! Live Celtic Irish music greeted us as we strolled through the market and I felt immense happiness. Then, the morning was topped off by purchasing a grain-free peach tart and local made kombucha. Best market experience ever!


Who is that handsome man strolling through the market? ^_^ hehe!



























I had my first photo session with a former coworker and her daughter for a mommy and daughter shoot. It's something I have been wanting to do for awhile and, thus, I am pretty much offering a free photo session to anyone willing to be in front of my camera along with the edited photos. I have aspirations to do my own photography business one day, but anything business-related terrifies me. So, I'm not exactly sure it's for me. There are many roles that I would have learn to how to play and I should probably look into a photography business class at some point to see what it all entails. But for the moment I am just going to enjoy the artistic side of it and work on taking lifestyle/portrait sessions and Photoshop Lightroom editing. One step at a time.

























Towards the end of the month, I was offered a weekend babysitting gig, which meant extra spending money...which meant...I had to splurge at Natural Grocers Vitamin Cottage - my favorite place to shop for food!

















And I ended up baking some mouth-watering almond bread and a delicious raw cherry pie. I was in heaven! Whenever I find a recipe that turns out perfectly and tastes exactly the way I enjoy, I become incredibly giddy! I am filing these two in my recipe box for all time. 

















  Working and getting practical daily matters completed doesn't leave me much time for creativity. It's frustrating some days, but I am settling into being at peace with it. Everything shall happen in its time. I do plan to commit more days these next two months to continuing my music endeavors. Also, by next month's post, I shall be able to share photos of some home projects I have been putting together. Yay! :)
  In the midst of all my doing, working, and keeping myself busy [too busy!], I have had moments to ruminate on this season of my life and the future goals that I am striving towards [creatively, domestically, health-wise, etc]. One of those "goals" (if it can even be labeled as such) is maturing into independence. I came into adulthood late. I would say it hit me flat in the face by my mid-twenties. Before then, I hadn't even a clue. As much as I resent the realities of adulthood, I would still really like to fully come into my own. There's a lot I can express about this, but more specifically, I have recently meditated upon the relational aspect to my independence. For most of my life I was a daughter and a sister and much of my identity was defined by family. As I grew, I sought to move this into the realm of friendship, but that repeatedly met in heartbreak as I realized my ideas of friendship were starkly different from others. Even in recent years, I have experienced that disappointment again, especially after I moved from my home state. But when Nolan came into my life, I found a friend and a lover and someone worthy of leading my heart. There is nothing quite so exhilarating and special as this! Naturally, he became my entire world. And, as comes so terribly natural to my way of being, I fell into defining my whole self by my marriage relationship. I've been all-in since we first started our relationship. In fact, in my mind, there is no other way of being for myself. However, as time and experience reveals to everyone, I cannot strictly define myself by my relationship to another. Relationships are deeply significant to many aspects of our personalities, characters, and way of being. But it easy to lose one's sense of self in another. I have seen it happen before. This realization struck me boldly in the heart and I found myself asking, how do I allow my self to be content in the self created by God and also be in such an intimate relationship with another? Before, those two were mutually exclusive to me. Not that I totally lost sense of my own identity apart from my husband, but more like I just couldn't be at rest in my aloneness apart from him. He had to be part of everything I was, every thought and feeling and action. That's how I roll. As I occasionally and teasingly sing to my husband, "All or nothing at all/half a love doesn't appeal to me..." Those are lines from a Diana Krall tune, for those of you who don't know. ;)
   I've reflected on all this in regards to my marriage, a gift which is so beyond precious to me and also the hardest experience of my life. The trials that we've endured together in the short 3.5 years of our marriage have inspired these thoughts that I am still searching out. I think it's strange that I am learning this in marriage. I think, shouldn't I have learned this as a single? But not necessarily. Perhaps, whether one is single or in a relationship, a healthy form of independence is needed to remain objective and to fall back on one's own sense of self. Not selfishly, I must emphasize. I run the risk of sounding like our awful me-centered American society. Ugh! Dear God, that's not how I want to sound! What I am trying to get at is a sense of being grounded in the identity one is given by God. It's the only lasting identity because anything else we regard ourselves by is just temporary. Personally, without my husband, my family, and anyone close to me, who am I? That is the question I am asking. When the ones I love disappoint me or, perhaps, cannot meet a need of mine, who am I? How do I stand without that flow of acknowledgement or affirmation so long needed or received by them? Can I enjoy an experience or seek out an activity without their presence? I am reaching for the fundamentals here. I want to not only know the practicalities of how this can be lived out, but also the emotional side to it. I am overcome by waves of longings for the nearness of family or my husband when I am experiencing certain places or hobbies. I also have experienced a heartache when I hear of or see photos of my loved ones doing something without me. I want us all partaking of life at one another's side. But that's not reality. It's a great struggle and I often wonder how there could ever be such balance or rest in it.  Yet, I am touched by the importance of wrestling with these things. Mostly, I desire peace in this. For me, there is only one option in relationships: forever. But relationships don't last forever. Whether they come and go in life as individuals part ways or the flesh breaths its last, relationships, simply put, don't last forever. This is a grand and obvious reality that I am thinking upon here. It's actually a very terrifying one for me. I have never, ever taken lightly to friends moving out of my life, even if it's on peaceful terms and our paths are simply just weaving two opposite directions. I wish I could give an accurate description of the overwhelming emotions that unleash in my being when this has happened in my life. It makes me ponder, whatever will I do when its time for my parents to depart from this life? Or, if my husband passes before me?! Or, one of my siblings?! Or friends?! Yeah, I am thinking about death. How awfully morbid of me. But hey, these are where my thoughts often lead. haha! Don't worry, I am not thinking of death so grimly. I am just dwelling upon it to gain perspective and wisdom about how I am to live my days now. Nevertheless, I have digressed from my original thoughts on how all this pertains to my marriage and family-life, which is my present focus.


I desire peace in my own being. To go about life, sometimes needing to experience or make choices alone, and to acknowledge my own emotions on the sadness of it and yet strengthening in my ability to be alone. It's important, I feel, to begin to learn this now. My hopes to one day enter motherhood are in the distance. I want to come into an understanding of these matters before I welcome a mini-me into this world. However, even if I never have a child of my own, I want to come into a state of restfulness in my relationships to others. I am sure this will be a lifelong journey. Most likely, there is no state of arrival, but I do hope for peace. Maybe this sounds like a cliche verse to quote at this moment, since it's typically Christian to head slam with this passage below. But instead of reading it through the rigid lens of "I should/I ought/I need to," I am thinking of this verse as God's gentle Fatherly reminder to come under His wings and rest in this truth. I don't have to know how this works. I don't have to be mature and have it all together already. I just have to accept that there is contentment even in a state of need and that the experience of it comes when it comes. All I do is trust.

 for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 
// Philippians 4:11-13 //
A wildflower field my husband brought me to along Missionary Ridge! Oh, Colorado!!