The Grand Adventure Around the Corner

Sometimes I feel like the most dramatic human on earth. (Actually, that in and of itself was a dramatic statement. I’m not really quite that dramatic.)

See, it feels like a somewhat earth-blowing (that’s a mixture of earth-shattering and mind-blowing, in case you wondered) experience to be moving away from my lovely little home and delightful family, even if it’s only for a few months.

It’s not like I’ve never left home before. I went to Peru for two months once, to Indonesia for a month, and I’ve spent four or five weeks in Mexico various times over the last few years. But this? This is different. It’s me moving off to start a new job, live in a camper by myself, and having a grand adventure without a passel of siblings surrounding me. Plus, there’s also the possibility that I’ll be going to India for three months at the end of my summer away, so that’s kinda big, too. IMG_0108.jpg

It feels rather huge.

I’m excited. Thrilled, really. I’m ready for the adventure, eager to start, and raring to go. Yet, at the same time I sit here each morning the birds serenading me a with a beautiful symphony and wonder why I ever thought it was a good idea to leave.

Today is my last day at the coffee shop. I keep telling myself that I might be back in a few months, but I’m not sure if that’s because that will make it easier for to say good-bye or because I really believe it.

Three and a half days from now I’m off to join my family for vacation and when I get home? Well, then I move homes. And as long as I focus on the delightful thought that my camper will be my home I’m excited. I can’t wait to grocery shop (seriously, the amount of excitement that is causing me is kinda scary), learn the ins-and-outs of camper life, and begin my own routines.

Yet, at the same time I know I’ll miss a lot of special things… My niece being born, haying, VBS, all the loveliness of being surrounded by family, the summer memories that are inevitably made each year, and dancing barefoot in church.

I’m trying to make sure I’m balanced with what I think about – both delighting in the newness that will be my new normal and also thinking through what I will miss so I won’t be blindsided by it.

So, I’m dramatic about moving (I know it sounds like I’m leaving for years instead of months), but I’m fine with the drama, because it’s a grand adventure in life and it’s just around the corner.

Moving {Grand New Adventure, Here I Come}

Y’all.

I’ve had a dream for a long time.

That dream consists of working at the Creation Museum.

I’ve also had another dream – one that might possibly be considered childish and silly, but I’ve dreamt it for a long time nonetheless.

That dream consists of living in a camper. (I know, reaching for the stars there, buddy.)

This summer, Lord willing, both dreams are going to come true.

The story to how this happened is long and rather amazing to me, but probably pretty boring to the general population. It includes a lot of prayer, a lot of surprises, jumping clear outside my comfort zone, and tons of behind the scenes work. It’s been characterized by a large amount of craziness, unexpected reactions, and me kinda freaking out many, many times.

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See, I’m a homebody. I like to be at home. I like the comfortable and normal and traditions that continue year after year without much variation. I’m a happy, content, loyal type of human.

And then, suddenly I wasn’t anymore. And it surprised me and was somewhat horrifying and totally confusing. Until I realized that it wasn’t that I had changed, instead it was God was showing me it was time for something new.

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My first reaction was that it would never work. But then some wise people asked me why not? So I talked to some other people about it, and they cited the same reasons why it wouldn’t work as I had first told myself, so I, in turn, asked them why not? And guess what, they agreed with me, Why Not? And thus started a bunch of exceedingly out-of-the-comfort-zone situations for little ol’ me.

And those situations ended with me telling my current boss I was going to be leaving (at least for the summer, who knows after that?), and signing on for a new job. It’s been exciting and overwhelming and thrilling and exhausting all at once.

So, Lord willing one month from today I’ll be heading to Mexico for vacation with my family, then the same day that we get home, I’ll be packing my car up and moving to Kentucky.

That’s a big reason why writing has been on hold for the last month. First, there were job interviews and trying to work out all the logistics. Then came the yeses, so my time has been rather busy with cleaning the camper I’m going to be taking, making lists of things to do, shopping for the camper. (Dishes, curtains, pots, and pans. You name it, we got it.)

There’s also the little matter of finding people to take over what I’ve been doing at home. At work, we have a new girl (and another one coming aboard soon), and it’s fun to get to work with the newbies, reminding myself that I’ll be the new girl soon. And at church, we’ve been working at finding new people to step in with teaching children’s church. I’ve had a delightful time hanging out with those kids for the last fifteen months, and so I’m trying to help the new teachers ease in as seamlessly as possible. Plus, at both my jobs I currently have we’ve had co-workers that I’m close to also leave, so all the goodbyes and going-aways have been tough, but exciting as I know they’re launching into their new dreams.

So that’s it for today, folks.

Except for one more thing: Y’all should totally come visit me at the Creation Museum this summer! 😉

Comfort Zone Busting

There’s this odd thing about comfort zones: they start out really small, and then as life happens they grow.

The crazy thing about comfort zones is that everyone has a comfort zone that encompasses different things. This has a lot to do with personality, how someone was raised, and how much effort they put into learning and growing.

I’m fairly certain that by nature (aka, my personality) my comfort zone is significantly smaller with normal, every-day things than most of the people around me. For instance, I still have little internal (and sometimes external) freak-out sessions when it comes to tasks that the average American probably doesn’t even think about anymore.

On the other hand, there are other things that don’t give me a pause that are probably fairly far outside of most of my peer’s comfort zone. (Make food for 150 people for a week? Sounds like fun. Make a phone call to schedule an orthodontist appointment? How about no.)

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I’ve realized in the last year that I have to push outside my comfort zone a lot – as in probably every day I do at least one thing, and often times a multitude of things, that are outside my comfort zone. At times I think this is just because my comfort zone is exceedingly small, but then I do something without a second thought that makes someone else freak out, and I’m reminded all over again how different each person’s personality zone really is.

One thing that has helped me be more okay with pushing the walls of my comfort zone to the max (which, in case you didn’t know, is very uncomfortable), is really paying attention to where my comfort zone is. Because guess what? My comfort zone is different from where it was a year ago. Or even a month ago.

Do I like answering the phone at work? No, not at all. But I no longer want to cry when I hear the ring and see that my co-worker is busy. And that’s the same way I feel about driving certain places, and answering questions about coffee drinks, and hundreds of other things that I used to force myself to do on a regular basis and now do without thought.

The last few weeks I’ve been pushing out the walls of my comfort zone in yet another area of life. It’s freaky. It’s a lot of work. But it’s also rewarding.

Currently
Setting: At my second parent’s house 
Listening to: My papa play the fiddle 
Question of the Day: What’s one thing you’re learning to do that’s outside your comfort zone? 

The​ Elusive Goal of Being

It’s Monday morning and instead of trotting about on the treadmill as I write this blog post, as has become my norm, I’m sitting on my bed with my back against the wall and Praise and Worship music playing next to me.

See, I’m not in an overly exuberant mood this morning. I got up, had my devotions, accomplished a few little tasks, and did some leftover dishes. And felt wholly uninspired. This morning I don’t feel like accomplishing, doing, or working. Instead, I feel like crawling back in bed and starting the morning over again – you know, where I wake up early feeling excited about life and gung-ho about checking things off my ever-present-list.

In reality, I’m giving myself grace. This is my “Saturday” of the week – aka the only day I’m not working at the coffee shop, so I purposely decided to go at a slow pace this morning. I told myself last night that I could sleep in today, get caught up on things about the house, even read fiction in the middle of the day. (I mostly reserve that pleasure for late in the evenings except on Saturday and Sunday.)

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As it turns out though, I don’t want to go at a slow pace. I look at my to-do list and want to begin checking it off, yet I’m tired. Sundays are my favorite day of the week, but they’re also long and include a lot of people-y time. Rest is good. And necessary. And something I fully applaud when done correctly.

And that’s something I’ve been pondering a lot.

While reading the book Anthropological Insights for Missionaries I’ve been reminded over and over again about how I view the world. About how I’m so focused on doing, doing, doing, that I often have a difficult time just being instead of doing.

Doing is good. But being is also good. And there’s a balance there somewhere that I’ve (as of yet) found to be totally elusive.

Resting, pondering, thinking, recharging, visiting, and letting go are all things that I need to do more often, yet sometimes it rattles me because, well, ya know, it doesn’t feel like I’m doing anything. I want to – need to – have my identity wrapped up in who I am in God instead of what I’m checking off a list.

Checklists are good. But checklists and checkmarks being my identity is bad.

And so, I’m learning.

This morning my pace is plodding. I’m taking time. I’m letting go of my expectations. I’m accomplishing, but slowly. And that’s okay. Because life doesn’t always have to be rapid and active.

Currently
Setting: Sitting on my bed  
Listening to: Praise and Worship music on Spotify
Random Fact: My ivy plants, Maggie and Nathan, basically died back in December, and are beginning to grow again! 
Question of the Day: Do you ever ponder the differences between being and doing?

When Writing Takes Preeminence

Sometimes writing is about sneaking in sentences, paragraphs, and a page here and there as you flit about life making meals, scrubbing the floor, folding laundry, and washing the dishes.

And then sometimes writing is about being able to intentionally carve out time where you focus solely on writing and feel the rest of the world recede as your characters and worldbuilding take preeminence in your life for a glorious time period.

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Last year contained a lot of the former – somehow fitting writing in spite of everything else clamoring for my time. Often times I didn’t feel like much of an author. It was an uphill climb as I told myself over and over again that this was just a season and one day I’d be back to writing the way I wanted to.

During the year I was able to accomplish writingish tasks, but not with the aplomb and delight I was used to. Instead, it was like a scrubbing a burnt pot – a lot of work, a lot of time, and not much to show for my effort.

Then this year dawned. Life has slowed to a reasonable pace, rhythm has been established in my world, and writing has taken off.  It’s beautiful.

I work at a coffee shop that is forty-five minutes away, and although I really like my drive (hello thinking and processing time), it also bothers me to drive an hour and a half for a five-hour shift. So, I’ve begun going to work early to work on my writing.

My reasoning was that I’d be working on writing if I was at home anyway, and everyone seems to consider coffee shops to be great places to write, so why not? And guess what? As it turns out, coffee shops are amazing places to write.

At home even when I try to stay focused on writing I’m always hopping up to put a load of laundry in the washer, stick supper in the oven, or go for a walk. And that’s fine and necessary. But being able to write without those distractions? It’s amazing. 

Currently
Setting: Treadmill 
Listening to: Spotify on shuffle (currently the Narnia soundtrack)
Random Fact: The weather dropped over twenty degrees while I slept 
Question of the Day: What’s your favorite hot drink? 

Reassessing Goals for 2019

It’s the last Monday morning of January and I finally got around to re-writing my goals for 2019.

I had decided when I wrote my year-long goals at the end of December that I would think about them during the first month of the year and decide what goals I really thought were realistic and good to focus on. I could add, take away, or edit the eleven goals as much as I wanted to before the month ended.

Because, ya know, goals are meant to be used as tools, not to act as chains.

So all month long I’ve been thinking about my goals. Very early on I knew one of the goals wasn’t something I actually wanted to focus on this year so I nixed that one right away. The other ten were solid though, so I kept them as well as adding seven more.

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My handwriting for my new goals is a little bit shaky because since we’re coming up on the end of the month I’m needing to be multitasking in order to accomplish everything left on my month-goal list. That means I’m walking on the treadmill with a built-in desk as I answer emails, blog, write weekly goals, and catch up on the rest of my easily-done but time-consuming tasks of the morning.

It’s a common joke that a lot of people are “over” their New Year Resolutions by the end of January, but a cool thing about goals is that you can have something fresh and new to work on every day. Every week. Every month.

Today, twenty-eight days into the month I’m far more excited about the goals I’ve set for 2019 than I was at the beginning of this year. I’ve found a rhythm that works for me, and although I do have unproductive days where I get behind, I’m eventually able to find ways to catch up and get back in the groove.

Goals are a tool, and they’re a tool I’m really thankful for.

Currently
Setting: Treadmill 
Listening to: Spotify on shuffle  
Random Fact: Papermate Flair markers are my favorite 
Question of the Day: How are your goals coming along?  

The African Memories

Four years ago I clambered aboard a plane that I was supposed to be on for nine hours and ended up being on for nineteen hours. It was the beginning of a grand adventure.

My sister, cousin, and I arrived in a nearly colorless land where the tans, browns, and reds ran together. And then we met the people – bright bursts of color against a drab world. A people full of lively music, welcoming hospitality, unbelievable drive, and a joy and humility that I won’t ever forget.

We went to visit some friends and paint their house. Our hours were spent peeling layer upon layer of old paint off the walls, standing on ladders to roll new brightness onto the ceiling, and delving into the culture of the country. It was delightful.

While there I learned how to make Indian curry – perhaps an odd dish to discover considering I was in Ghana, West Africa, but it remains one of my favorite dishes to this day. The lady we were staying with also taught me the trick of how to make eggplant not taste bitter. (It’s really simple actually, and something I did last week: You simply slice the eggplant and lay out the slices then sprinkle them with salt. The bitter juices emerge after ten minutes or so and you just blot them up and the eggplant is delicious and bitter-free.)

Attending a Ghanaian wedding, climbing a termite mound, eating food under a mango tree hanging heavy with fruit, watching the thermometer climb to 110, and getting to ask endless questions about the way people believed, thought, and lived, made the two weeks fly by way too fast.

It was a delightful interlude in my life and I’m thankful for the memories that swing in each January to say hello.