|Waking up to this glorious scene never gets old!|
2015 is coming to its close. It came and went very quickly. It was full and blessed, but not without its own set of challenges. My most favorite highlights of the year were visiting my family and friends in Arizona during the spring, spending a weekend in Jemez Springs for my and my husband's 2nd anniversary, the moment we knew when/where we would be moving and when/where my husband would have a new job, my family's visit to see me in Durango over the summer, and the moment I was hired on at a preschool this past August. That's quite a bit of action for one year! If I have any wishes for 2016, it's that it would be a year of slowing down, mindfulness, and that it would be relatively uneventful. However, I won't hold my breath for that since the past 5 years of my life have been non-stop and I can't imagine when it will let up.
I am so thankful to live in Durango. I don't say that enough. It snowed all day yesterday and everything turned so white I could scarcely turn my eyes away. I probably sound silly, but it will take some time before this Arizonan is bored by this winter phenomenon. I can't say that I love this season as colder temperatures aren't exactly my thing, but experiencing a real winter for once holds magical wonder for me!
Thanksgiving this year was spent with my wonderful in-laws. I always feel so at home with them. The gift I have been given with them is dear to my heart and I never want to take it for granted.
Oh yeah - I had my long locks snipped off right before Thanksgiving. It was fun shocking everyone at my work and my in-laws! My reason for cutting my hair: stress is a killer on the quality and quantity of your hair. It's a lesson in self-care.
I found some glorious sunsets over Thanksgiving break. All the images below are my amateur attempts at capturing such moments.
Earlier this month, downtown Durango held their annual Noel Night with sales and discounts at all the local shops, as well as live musicians. Nolan and I strolled through the night air, dodging the masses, and I got to sip on hot cocoa and splurge a little on items for my husband's stocking. It's so festive and friendly here! There is truly no better place to spend the holidays!
As the year winds down and I reflect on all that has passed (both hard and good), I still come to the same conclusion. Rest, simplicity, family, and friends. That's all I want in my life and nothing else is worth my energy or time. This has ignited strong desires to settle down, to start nesting (no, I don't mean babies - at least, not yet! haha), and to remain present-minded. By nesting, I mean making a home in where I am and, also, learning to take my hands off my life, spiritually and emotionally speaking.
In all my frantic decisions to help my body physically recover from chronic pain and anxiety, I realize that I have been placing new burdens on myself. So, I let go. I stopped seeing my chiropractor and physical therapist. I still consider them an option, but I have sensed that I need a break from them for awhile. Recently, I began to attend the worship services at Durango House of Prayer. It's a small gathering of Christians who spend a night each week leading in worship, intercession, and reading of the Word. I have enjoyed it and felt warmly welcomed thus far. I don't know why else I am going except for the fact that I very much miss corporate worship. I still feel confused and unready to commit to a church at this time, but a weekly worship and prayer gathering resonates with what I need in this season. How long have I been running on empty? I don't know. A very long time, I feel. It's only the Lord's grace that has sustained me in all my wanderings. I don't know quite what I want or expect from Him except that I desire greatly for His peace to manifest in my being. And that's a doable request, right? I want an end to this chronic pain in my body and the rushing of anxiety and tangled web of warp-speed thoughts in my mind. I don't really want to expect a physical healing from Him and, yet, that is, essentially, what I am asking of Him. I want to believe that this is not what He wills or desires for my life, but I also realize how important and purposeful these trials and struggles are in revealing my heart to Him and Himself to me. I am confused, to say the least. Here I am, I say to Him. I am listening for Him, seeking His direction. If He means for me to live with these struggles, I want to really live in them, not wrestling or resisting. Eternal life is that we might know Him, the only true God, and Jesus Christ in whom He has sent. I take that as statement of reality and also a promise...a promise that this life is a journey of Him unveiling and revealing Himself to us. The knowledge of God filling us up. Well, I need some of that again. As a Christian, you never imagine that you would ever find yourself at the bottom of the lowest lows. Yet, here I am again and again. I am quite sure this startled Job on more than one occasion. In the dark place, I am revealed and with each revealing I only know that humility is of greater value to God than anything else. I do not speak that flippantly to my own soul. In each revealing, that truth becomes more serious, more reverent, and more sacred. I know He will bring me to the end in strength. And that's another promise.
I'm on my two week Christmas break from work. It's something I haven't want to admit that I've really, really needed. I am so thankful for my job at the preschool and for all my coworkers. It's a safe and understanding work environment. However, the long days wrangling toddlers takes its toll. Even though I only work part time, I haven't taken a day off since I began the job. I have even picked up shifts for others who needed someone to cover for them. I have over-worked myself (for the condition that my body is currently in) to make up for all the times I never worked a day in my life. I am really hard on myself, can't you tell? There is a lesson in here for me, but I haven't learned it yet. But I can say that I am treating myself very well this break. Lots of yoga, lots of mindfulness breath meditations, coloring (just discovered the world of adult coloring books with gorgeous illustrations!), reading Outlander book #5 (still giving Diana Gabaldon a chance after the mess she wrote she in book 3 and 4!), photography, singing, listening to the Outlander soundtrack and, you know, watching the Outlander season 2 teaser a bunch of times. ;)
Christmas eve with my in-laws and opening up stockings with my husband awaits me. Although this is our third married Christmas together, it is actually our first *real* Christmas. It is the first time we have had extra spending money and time to begin our own traditions. And it's the first time we have felt settled in a place we want to call home for a long while. That, in and of itself, makes this time very special to us. Even with all the challenges and stresses that we still face, we end this year with much gratitude, sober reflection, and some hope for the new year ahead.
Also, I have managed to tease our kitty quite a bit. I think I might regret it at some point. Look at that face! No cats were frozen during the taking of this image. ;)
And, lastly, it's a terrible quality cell phone photo, but here I am taking in all the snow fall from yesterday. It was so refreshing!