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!!