Sunday, February 26, 2017

February days

Ah, February. These days have been simple, predictable, and ordinary. It's the first time we've celebrated our anniversary in quiet and calm with no massive changes or burdens looming over us. While I always have a mind that is looking ahead, I have relished this gift of monotonous days that we have experienced this month. It's been rewarding to just come home from work to each other, fix a meal, and savor these undisturbed, introverted evenings.

We celebrate our four years of marriage by splurging at a local Asian spot, East by Southwest. Ah, my! The fresh sushi, pad thai, and housemade kombucha there were incredibly satisfying!

Staying true to our anniversary tradition, we took a short ride north of Durango to snap our 4-year photo! We were able to find a quiet back road with a view of the mountains behind us.

Of course, what's a celebration without tea, gluten-free cupcakes, and Kalanchoe blooms from my husband?

A sweet photo of our cat...just because!

There were lots of celebrations this February, one of them being my completion of the Pyramid Plus course at the Early Childhood Council of La Plata County. This was the last class I needed under my belt for my preschool teaching certification and, let me tell you, it felt so rewarding to check this off my list! The early childhood field is so fascinating to me and I have learned a great deal about the early years of development. While my focus has surrounded the care and teaching of 2 year-olds, it's really wonderful to have been given a thorough education on infancy - 5 years from these required courses. I have my incredible boss to thank for the education, experience, and opportunities I have been given here! Although the early childhood field is very hard and exhausting work, I am deeply grateful for the past year and a half that I have worked at this preschool and the opportunities that have been given to me through my job. Also, I am thankful for all this education and hands-on experience because I will  need it for when I decide to enter motherhood in the future. I already feel more like a natural around babies. ^_^

And, this past week, I turned 28. It's weird. I don't really know what to think about being in my late twenties. A part of me feels incredibly rushed to make a baby, to complete one of my several creative endeavors, etc...but, I'm like, nah! I want to enjoy this season simply as I am. It's the first time in two years that I have been free from chronic pain and anxiety. It's also the first time in over five years that I have felt generally happy and thankful and at peace in my life. So, I tell myself, don't rush this. Babies will come and goals and accomplishments will be met. For now, I am in a place to enjoy the slow and steady pulses of my simple life.

Nolan took me out to a local restaurant, Carvers, and then some local ice-cream at Cream Bean Berry. I loved every bite!

What's a birthday celebration without gluten-free vanilla cupcakes topped with buttercream frosting? I am not ashamed that I devoured four of these! Kudos to Natural Grocers, my absolute favorite grocery stop!


Ah, these four years past...what a wild ride! I couldn't have even imagined the whirlwind of life that has happened in these early years of my marriage. I close with a poem below that I discovered last year. It struck me with its exquisite candor and I couldn't have found any truer words written in regards to love and marriage.

The Truelove

There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of baying seals

who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water

and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant
yet familiar figure
far across the water
calling to them
and how we are all
preparing for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except it will
not come so grandly
so Biblically
but more subtly
and intimately in the face
of the one you know
you have to love

so that when
we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and everything confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don't
because finally
after all this struggle
and all these years
you don't want to any more
you've simply had enough
of drowning
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness
however fluid and however
dangerous to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.

// David Whyte, from The House of Belonging //

Friday, February 10, 2017

Four Years

Our fourth year of marriage began roughly. Circumstances were such that we were inundated with many unexpected and difficult decisions. These things were taxing on each of us personally and even moreso on our marriage. There was a point when we just released our inability to change the circumstances, as well as our inability to alter our own hearts and mind towards each other. It felt like it put our lives on an unhappy and exhausted standstill. Then, spring unfolded and, with it, came a peace. A genuine peace. Not a temporary calm, but an assurance in our hearts that the trial we just walked through, as well as the many ones before that and the ones far off on the horizon, are given to serve us, to humble us, to change us. It is a frightening thing to be humbled and to face the reality that you can or will be changed. And, yet, that is the very thing our Creator comes to do. Not with rough hands and a grim demeanor, but He does so as a Father who beams with delight with just one glance at His children and then, patiently, gently, but reverently, begins the work of refining, which we, as most children do in the smallness of our minds, perceive as unfair, harsh, or controlling. But to receive His wisdom is the only path to lasting freedom and joy. Freedom is choosing to trust the finished work of Christ as presently and always relevant to every step of our human journey, and to trust Who God says He is and who He says we are (He names and gives us our identity), not who we or others think or say He is or as we regard ourselves. Those small, seemingly feeble steps and choices to trust Him do hurt. They hurt because to trust an invisible God was never meant to be easy for our human faculties. Yet, every weak step is rejoiced over by Him and He never ceases to lavish grace upon grace over us. That describes the months that followed our trials. Ever so slowly, His grace proved sufficient for us. And through that grace, Nolan and I found each other again in the simple, ordinary day-to-day activities of life. It was nothing grand or miraculous that occurred to reverse the shadowed moments to a suddenly light and sweet season. We have been blessed by being humbled and it has, surprisingly to us, all the more deepened our marital love, mutual respect, and care for each other.

It has always been my one passion and objective to be completely transparent about our marriage (in a respectful and discreet manner, of course). Inspired by other couples who have chosen to do the same, it's always been my heart to share not merely for the sake of sharing, but to allow the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be revealed in an ordinary and imperfect marriage. It is never my aim to be perceived or thought of as a couple who has "arrived" at a totally ideal, blissful, and easy marriage that somehow flows harmoniously all the time. Nolan and I are two strong-willed, fiery-spirited humans and what is ever harmonious about two human beings learning to become One in every aspect? I expect that we've yet to face our hardest trials. But, for now, here we are. We've reached the 4 year mark. Such a small number, but one brimming with experiences and learning. I thank my husband today for choosing me, not just on that glorious fairy-tale day four years ago, but now, this day, too.