Two Homes?

It’s 8:09 Wednesday morning and I can hear a host of birds singing outside my open camper windows. The interstate traffic is a muffled hum behind them, but the birds are doing a brilliant job of vying for attention and have certainly won mine.

It’s a strange feeling because on Sunday I went “home” – but then yesterday I came back “home.” Because apparently I now have two homes. I’ve only lived in my little camper in Kentucky for a little over six weeks now, but it’s won me over and I miss it when I’m gone.

Sunday was only the second time I’ve gone back to the beautiful countryside in Ohio that I lived in for the last sixteen years since moving to Kentucky – and seriously, it was great. Like, driving down the road and yelling hello out the window to all the familiar landmarks as I passed them type of great. (Y’all, being able to actually yell out the windows and have no one around to see me was – in and of itself – rather magical.)

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I had a wonderful time driving down the country roads, swinging on my familiar swingset, sitting out on the porch in the early morning stillness, the calmness of my bedroom, having a pantry full of snacks I didn’t buy, and best of all being around my family. I have a lot of family in the area and receiving enthusiastic hugs from my little nieces, holding babies while chatting with my sisters, playing games with my brother, and chatting with my parents? It was all delightful and I’m so thankful I got to do it.

Yet, when it was time for me to head back to Kentucky, I was like “Oh, it’s time to go home.” And that was really weird because I was home, and yet I wasn’t.

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After the next month and a half, I’m not sure what my life is going to look like, but for now, I’m thankful for this little sphere that makes up my world. I’m thankful for a job that I genuinely enjoy and that makes a difference. I’m thankful to be close enough to my family that I can go visit them and help out when needed. I’m thankful that my driving abilities have grown to the point where I can take on a four-hour road trip without freaking out.

I’m exceedingly thankful for two homes. For two places where I can feel completely comfortable, at home, and miss when I’m gone. I’m thankful for all I’m learning, experiencing, and doing. I’m thankful for the delights of new adventures, old comforts, and all the thousands of little elements that make up this season of my life.

And now I’ve got to shut the computer and scurry off so I’m not late for that job that I’m so thankful for. 😉

Yes, I Plan My Spontaneity, Thank You

This is the first time I’ve opened my computer this week.

Some weeks just don’t turn out the way I’d envisioned them. For little ol’ find-a-schedule-and-follow-it-to-a-T me that can be a bit hard to get used to, but I’m learning how to go with the flow and say last-minute-yesses.

Actually, that’s not exactly true.

See, I plan my “yesses” ahead of time. No kidding, folks. My natural inclination is to say no to anything besides the necessary – ya know, like going to work, eating veggies, and curling up at home with a good book.

That means way back when I first decided to move I began going through various scenarios in my mind and telling myself that I would say yes when/if those instances ever happened in real life.

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This is because even though I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being an introvert, I also see the benefits of stepping outside my comfort zone.
This is because even though I learn a lot from reading stacks of nonfiction, I learn in a different way when I hang out with new friends.
This is because balance is an exceedingly important part of life, and strange as it may seem, that doesn’t just mean splitting my free time equally between fiction and nonfiction.

So, this summer I’ve made the decision to work at including yes in my vocabulary far more often than I used to. Remember me saying I wanted to be spontaneous? Well, apparently for me spontaneous works so much better when it’s preplanned. This means that when I’m organizing the store I’ll be having a little conversation with myself, deciding what I’ll say yes to that night.

Silly as it may seem, my yesses might include saying yes to going to the laundromat if when I look up the location I’ll be able to get my laundry done and be back home before it gets dark. Or maybe my yes will be that I’ll hang out if anyone invites me to watch fireworks with them. Or perhaps my yes will be when someone invites me over, offers a suggestion, asks if I want to work late or cover someone else’s shift, or offers for me to beta read for their new writing project. In fact, all these are scenarios from the last month. I’ve said yes every time and every time I’ve been incredibly thankful I did.

And there we have it, folks. The best way for introverts to excel at spontaneity. You’re welcome for the tips. 😉

(A little clarification: My lack of posting this week was actually because I had a friend who was in a car wreck this week, so I spent four days in the hospital with her. But, even that was a totally unplanned event, so it works to call it spontaneous.)

The What-Ifs and Maybe-Nots and Here-I-Am-Now of My Grand Adventure

If you were to tell me at the beginning of this year that May would find me moving to Kentucky for the summer to work at the Creation Museum, I’m not sure how I would have responded.

See, that was a dream of mine for years, but there seemed to be way too many obstacles in the way. Every time I thought about it, I would daydream a bit, pray about it, but ultimately remind myself that it probably wouldn’t happen any time soon.

And that was the case for a couple of years.

Until it wasn’t. At the beginning of this year all the not nows and that won’t work and maybe laters slid into oblivion. It was as if doors were being flung open and other doors were creaking shut and then all at once I was looking down a corridor that was wide open and welcoming me to a grand adventure.

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It was thrilling and exhausting and comfort-zone busting all at the same time. There were multiple times when I thought it wasn’t going to work – like when I applied for the job and didn’t hear back for a couple of weeks, only to discover that they’d replied right away somehow I’d never received the email. There were times when I was so overwhelmed by everything that I had going on that I just laid in bed with my eyes closed. There were times when I pondered all I was giving up and felt a rush of sadness.

Yet, there was never a time when I questioned if it was something I wanted or was supposed to do. Because it took years of praying and working to get me to this place and all the questions and wonderings and weighing the balances happened a long time ago.

And now here I am.

I was supposed to move down Saturday morning, leaving the house at 5:00. Only, Friday night I was awake with the stomach flu and for various reasons, we decided moving with the stomach flu wasn’t the best decision. I spent Saturday resting, and blocking out the thought of maybe it wasn’t going to work to move after all. (Ludicrous, right? I mean, the camper I was going to live in was already in Kentucky, my job was starting in four days, and I was still having to shush worry.)

Then Sunday morning dawned and I left the house a little after 5:00 (to beat the traffic) and headed off on my new adventure.

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?