Tuesday, September 1, 2015

simply tuesday

We celebrated our anniversary this weekend. It's been eight years for us now. We didn't do what people would normally think of for an anniversary...no fancy dinner, no big gifts or surprises, no night out on the town all done up in our rock star clothes. Instead we drove 11.5 hours to North Carolina for a book release party for an author I love. {insert crickets} This is where the awkward silence happens...where crickets chirp because no one really knows how to respond to that...lol.

Sounds fun, right? I've heard it a few times in the voices of friends and family..."so what are you doing exactly...what is this for? Is this a work thing? Did you stop anywhere else along the way? Did you go out to dinner?"

Nope. None of those things. We ate fast food for most of the trip, and I wore the same clothes home that I wore there. {gasp!} But I tell you what my dear ones, it might have been the best anniversary weekend we've ever had. There were no expectations. No reasons to fuss. Just us, in a car, in our comfy clothes, singing a little Poison and having the best conversations about our dreams, our God, our smallness.

That's a big part of the reason we made the trip to North Carolina. God's been teaching us our smallness. It's been unfolding for us over the last year or so. You know, thru life altering, soul shattering moments of the hard and the good and the every day. I think it's fair to say we used to chase after life. It's like we were trying to get there. Wherever "there" was. Because that's where real life would start. Right? That's when we'd feel full and accomplished and like we were ENOUGH. 

But that way of thinking has been blown out of the water by ventilators and hospitals and heart defects. We don't look too far ahead, we try not to chase life. We don't always win that battle either. But like I've said before, we have these new eyes now. We see differently. We look at leaves on trees and shake our heads at their glory. We wear tool belts at work even when it's not necessary...we take pictures of hard hats and steel mills because we know we might not always get to...we savor the opportunity to work hard. We're present in the moment in ways we never were before. We pound our fists and raise our hands and sing to our God and know in 10 minutes we could be standing there in glory with Him...hands raised...forever. 

Life is short. Shorter than we realized. It's always been. We are a mist. MIST, people. The every day is a gift and there is so much there...so so much. You just have to slow your pace, open your hearts and look for it. 

"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."
James 4:14

And by the way, we're not facing death. We're not dying in 10 minutes, there's nothing that serious going on. But that doesn't mean we're not living like it. It's a small-moment perspective as Emily P. Freeman would say. One that might sound sad and dreary because it's about being small and embracing it...but for us, it's not like that. It's more like the lottery. ? And guess what, we won! Yeah, we might be carrying around a bucket of the hard stuff, and it's heavy...and more than a little annoying. But it pales in comparison to the sea of joy we experience loving the little things like trees and leaves and tool belts. Because really...life could be like it was before. Pretty. And easy. Derek could have a perfect heart and could be strong and run and push hard like he so badly wants to...but the holes would be in our souls then, not our bodies. We wouldn't have these eyes. I choose these eyes. And I know he would too.     

So when I read a book like Simply Tuesday and am reminded to boast in my weaknesses and live small ... it just makes sense to drive across the country to celebrate it. Emily's words resonate with me. It's pretty much what we've been living and breathing, but she connects the dots for us like we couldn't have done on our own.  One of my favorite parts of her book...

"Jesus taught his disciples to pray for daily bread, the kind we can't carry into tomorrow. Looking to the future may give meaning to my work, but I have to be careful not to look to the future to find meaning for my life. There is a daily-ness to my work, a small-moment perspective that whispers for me to connect with the work in my right-now hands, not because it's going to become something Big and Important, but because Someone who is Big and Important is here, with me, in me, today."
Emily P. Freeman

What we've been learning is that the package will never be complete my friends. The nice and tidy, money having, skinny life of our dreams will never make us whole. It fills our eyes, our pride, but it will never fill our souls. Our souls were made by God and for God. And THAT is what we long for. I am enough...Derek is enough...YOU are enough...because HE is more than enough. When the Father looks at me, He sees Christ. He sees perfection. I can rest there. We all can. 

The truth is...we don't need to get "there"...we can live free and full right here. With broken heart valves and all. We don't know how many days we have on this earth. None of us do. All of our futures are unknown. So I say right here, wherever you are...look for the good. Look for the only real Good there is...look for GOD. And you'll start finding joy in what you have, in where you are, with what's right in front of you. 

End rant. :)

Here are some pictures from my two North Carolina trips to the Nester's Barn. One was for a Cozy Minimalist event The Nester was having...and the other to celebrate the release of Emily's new book Simply Tuesday. And these two ladies are the real deal by the way. They are genuine and kind and crazy talented. They write and create and give glory to God. 

{Prepare to swoon}  

wow. just wow!

i wish this wasn't blurry. but the kitty was a busy body.

this is where my husband starting having fun.
when he noticed he could take a picture of me with a tree stump body.

i knew he was up to something

me and emily! 

he's trying to understand chandeliers and pretty things. 
bless him for trying!

*photos by myself, my hubby, and fellow Cozy Minimalist's Kirsten Thompson and MJ Taylor