I’ve been working on a lot of projects and this morning I’m kind of hoping that a little blog love will help get the wheels turning so that I can get on top of some of this work that I need to get done today.

Pardon me in advance if this entry turns into a total mind-dump.

The three-day youth camp that I’m involved in is coming up at the end of this month and we’ve had to do quite a bit of adjusting for the (small) size of the group. Initially we had a lot of (good) big plans, but sometimes you have to take a step back and really think about how good your good plans are for the group you’re with.

For a few of my kids this will be their last year of camp. It’s bittersweet seeing them move forward, but we are proud and we’re hopeful that whatever they do next in life, that the relationships they’ve built while in youth will help them build good relationships in the rest of the world too.

So we pulled back and scaled down and I really feel like God is moving through this new, simplified plan that gives space for them to be loved on and cared for. Less work and more together. Less chaos and more deep breaths and enjoying the sunshine.

For some reason I feel God’s voice pressing in on me that what they need most is not a plan, but people to stand with and for them for a few days while they relax. I feel this way about more than camp. I feel like in life that I have been slowly peeling scales from my eyes that all start with things like “should”, “aught”, “best” and just learning that, at whatever cost, whatever the pain, whatever the inconvenience, that the risk in relationship is something that I need to grab hold of and jump in with people.

My dad read something recently that pointed out that the bible never tells us to trust one another, it tells us to trust God and love each other.

When I think about it– when I really put my head to it and try to break it down and examine each piece carefully– what I realize is that all of my relationship trouble has always been about trust. I’ve always just figured that it’s hard for me to trust people and that makes it hard for me to let them in, but the truth is the person I don’t trust is God. I don’t trust that he knows what he’s doing, I don’t trust that he’s bigger than hurt, I don’t trust that he wont leave me.

All of that gets pilled on top of the people in my life and eventually results in one giant excuse not to love them.

In the rare moments when I can reach beyond myself into the infinite and feel whispers of who God really is and why I am– in a way that makes my soul sure that no words in existence can come close to expressing– in those moments I see clearly that loving people is easy when you TRUST God.

When you can step out of a boat onto water and believe that you wont sink.

When you can stand on the banks of a sea and know that it will part for you.

When you can hold onto a breath of understanding that God is so much more than we give him credit for…

It’s easy to love his people. It’s easy to see them as he does. It’s easy to want to give everything to make sure they know HE sees them.

Everyday there’s doubt, everyday there are questions, everyday there’s the tug of temptation to believe that nothing I have to offer is good enough or matters at all. And every moment I have the chance to press away from those thoughts and feelings and push forward.

For you and for me

and for my students,

for my family,

for those who are near and dear and keep me sane,

my prayer is that none of us will ever trust another human being again.

That we would all know what it is to ruthlessly trust our Savior with every ounce of our beings and that when we can’t or we don’t know how that the whole earth would sing it to our hearts.

Sometimes I can’t find myself in the morning.

Whatever dreams I’ve had have left a bad taste in my soul and I wake up feeling like there’s a thousand pound weight on my chest.

One afternoon Kristin was telling me about this video because she knew it would make me mad. This is what friends do sometimes (at least female ones) and it’s not because we’re actually trying to piss each other off, it’s just because we know what each other care about and sometimes it comes out, “Ohhhhhh man I saw this thing that would drive you crazy!”

It’s ok.

 

Of course I wanted to see the video after she mentioned it and of course she was right– my eye rolling began as soon as this “popular YouTube star and mother of two” started talking.

After it was over and I was just as annoyed as Kristin promised I’d be my thoughts went like this”

Don’t do it, Katie. Don’t take the bait. Click the ‘I don’t want to see this’ link in your mind. 

At first it worked, I misplaced it in my mind and forgot all about it, but then it was everywhere. A million and two links on Facebook, blog posts, videos, and articles all defending mom-hood against the unenlightened minds of the childless who have (apparently) collectively decided that all of our now parent friends have entered the age of douch-i-ness.

And they’re all getting it wrong. 

Put down your pitch forks and fire sticks, ladies. We don’t believe motherhood has made you an asshole anymore than being single and childless makes us idiots!

We know kids change everything and they suck up your time and energy, there’s really no need to explain or offer excuses for that, we get it. There may be a few of us who’ve never had a lot of experience with kids and maybe that few doesn’t know all of the details, but being logical human beings we all can reason that giving birth to and raising a child is not easy.

Maybe you could consider for one moment that just because we share our time with different things than you do now, doesn’t mean that we don’t share our time and that we’re obviously completely self-consumed. We still have worries and responsibilities and single person incomes. And yeah, WE KNOW that those things aren’t the same as having a child, but please don’t do us the injustice of acting like they are less important than motherhood because that really does make you look like an ass. The grass is always greener, right? We could compare notes all day.

Perhaps instead of feeling pressured by our text messages, emails, and invitations out, you might see them instead as us offering an olive branch– a way for us to remind you that you aren’t forgotten, you’re still important to us. Because for all of those same reasons your baby makes it hard for you to go out with us that you mentioned, it also makes it hard for us to go out with you and your baby. We aren’t trying to be demanding of your precious time, we just don’t want you to think that we have abandoned you since our lives have started going in different directions. It’s ok for you to take your time getting back to us and to decline invitations when you need to. We get it.

But really, here’s the thing: All that time you’re spending making YouTube videos or writing exhaustive lists of excuses for why we’re too much trouble for you in the midst of all of your heavy mom-responsibilities that you believe us to be totally clueless of, you could be sending us a three word text message that says the only thing we really want to hear from our friend whom we miss.

Motherhood, becoming a wife, work schedules, social events, being single– none of it is a good excuse to be a bad friend, and that’s the bottom line.

 

 

 

These are the things that rocked my soul as I spent the last several days with Dad in Port Aransas, Tx:

Long car rides with comfortable silence.

Deeply familiar places.

The Gulf being a place that only Texans can fully appreciate.

Sharks everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

Dad’s sense of adventure, which I believe he passed to me.

Still loving drip castles.

Dry sand warm and soft on my bare feet.

A full spectrum of outdoor experience– rain, thunder, wind, warm sun, clouds, cool air, humidity.

Being carded, I’ve still got it.

Tall golden grass that shimmers in the wind and looks velvety soft.

Having a quiet mind and heart.

Sea shells.

Cozy island coffee shop.

I ams so grateful to have had that time. So, so grateful.

Today I’m the lady who lost it in a Starbucks drive-thru.

At 9am I was already holding my breath and trying to hold it together. The last couple of weeks have been filled with the kind of pressure that makes you feel like you’re locked in a clear box that is slowly filling with water while you watch everyone on the outside move freely.

I’ve mastered the art of reigning it in until I can let the dam burst and the tears fall and that’s what I was doing as I ordered my morning coffee, all the while thinking, “Just get through today and then you have the weekend to cry.”

Cry about the stress. Cry about the fact that you still can’t handle Mother’s Day and it’s the only time your emotions about your mom are out of control. Cry about the pressure, the overwhelming number of things you feel responsible for and about how last night in your small group you were supposed to write down your hopes and dreams and you realized that just the words ‘hopes’ and ‘dreams’ make you feel cold.

I pulled up to the window and Normally Aloof Starbucks Guy was standing there with a sleepy grin on his face. He told me my total and I handed him my money. Seconds later he passes my change through the window and tells me to have a nice day.

There’s an awkward beat where I just sit there and he just stands there, goofy smile still in place.

“But…” I finally stammer, “I don’t have anything.”

I’d paid, but I was sitting there empty-handed as he was sending me on my way insisting that I have a good day.

Starbucks Guy laughed and then so did I.

But then the laugh cracked me right open, right down to the core and to my horror the tears started streaming.
It was all I could do not to sob as the words I’d just said pressed into my soul.

I don’t have anything… Not today. Nothing left.

The look of confusion mixed with sympathy Normally Aloof Starbucks Guy gave me as he handed me my iced coffee was almost unbearable.

I can’t say that I had a huge spiritual moment there. Mostly it was mortifying and I started to wonder if I was actually losing my mind.

What I do know is that God saw, he cares, and he loves.

And maybe he laughs a little, too. I hope so.

I’ve been in the middle of writers block and extreme emotions lately.

It’s not a great combination, let me assure you. So I took some time to step back and focus on some other things for a few weeks, but today ends that little break and it’s back to work writing and trying to get this emotional whirlwind to calm down a tad. I’m seriously only asking for a tad.

There are times in life when I can take things better than others, where the circumstances around me effect me less dramatically. This has not been one of those times.

Everything is pushing down on me.

I’ve been particularly plagued by wondering things about future relationships. Will I ever marry? Will I ever have my own children? As a nanny and an aunt I spend so much time looking into the faces of other people’s children– children that I love and care for– and wonder how differently it would feel to hold my own babies. Thinking these things has never been so painful as it is right now in my life. I have wondered before but it was always with the assumption that it would all work itself out in the future, but now, in so many senses, the future has come and I realize that it doesn’t stretch out endlessly before me the way it once felt like it did. It’s rough.

I’m also having trouble with the fact that I’m old enough now to not only have seen many of my friends marry, but I am beginning to seem them re-marry. Again rough because I just can’t quite understand how it works out that I can’t manage to marry once and some of them are able to do it again. And that hurts, too.

I don’t say any of that to get attention or pity. Please, please, no pity. It’s just where I’m at right now, it’s what I’m going through, but what I know is that God loves me, even though I don’t really understand it and even though it doesn’t always make sense. It’s the greatest truth I know. And things may be hard today, but love will win in the end and I will have better days.

 

Rachael, Kristin, Kaylan, and Kari

Rachael, Kristin, Kaylan, and Kari

Writing a novel is the best thing I’ve ever decided to do.

It’s hard work. It’s frustration and tears. It’s learning about myself one sentence at a time.

At this point I don’t care at all if anyone else loves it the way I do.

 

So, most of my spare time is in some way, shape, or form, given over to this writing project. When I’m not actually sat down at my desk or a table at Starbucks filling blank digital pages with the words in my head, I’m thinking about a character and the way they smell, or talk, or wear their hair. Or I’m thinking of what I need to go back and re-write, what needs to be added, a detail that I didn’t know until I had written this far. Honestly, it’s work that is very hard to step away from and for the first time in my life that’s a really good thing.

Last night I did take some time to step away, though, and I had dinner with my sisters.

All of them. Including my sister in-law.

We had dinner at Abuelos in Austin and then coffee and desserts at Mozart’s after.

It was a beautiful and fun time together.

I figured I’d better enjoy it while I can because someday I’ll write a novel about all of them and then they’ll all hate me. Ha! =)

This morning I woke up to my Monday 7:30am alarm and went into the bathroom.

When I came out I realized that my bed looked like a small tornado had been sleeping in it. My duvet cover was rolled and twisted into a heap on the left side of the bed up by where my head would have been. No wonder I’d woken up kind of chilly!

So. Mondays are for writing and I am listening to new writing music and trying to not be too bogged down by yesterday.

Yesterday was a hot mess.

So many emotion, so many random bouts of crying, so many things not going the way I thought they should have. When you’re a girl you have these days. Maybe guys have them too, I’m not really sure, but the way these days are met by the men in my life with a look of confusion and mild terror makes me think not.

So here I go.

Writing.

Wish me many good words.

Yesterday was just an off day.

I had to build a youth events page on Facebook and it took the better part of the day when it should have been something I got done in a about an hour. Things just kept going wrong.

I did a whole lot of thinking about writing. Not so much actual writing.

It’s not writers block I’m dealing, I know what I need/want to be writing, I’m just afraid of the emotional state I might end up in writing it. I’ll get there though. I know what needs to be done.

I rode my bike for a little while and it made me feel a little better about how the day had gone, but not as much as I’d hoped, maybe I didn’t ride long or far enough. I don’t know.

I went to the grocery store with Kristin.

It was chaos… there were people everywhere. At 4pm the grocery store becomes a war zone. One one side you have the slow-moving but relentless elderly and on the other soccer moms with screaming toddlers. If you fall anywhere in between those two extremes your objective once inside is just to get out alive with at least three things from your list. There’s pretty much no hope of getting everything you came for.

Kristin and I managed to get out with our lives and little else, but not before Kristin was accosted in the 15 items or less line by the older women behind us.

“YOU have more than 15 items!” the woman announced loudly. The cashier and I looked at each other warily as my sister, the beacon of friendly behavior that she normally is, turned to face her accuser.

“NOT ME” Kristin announced to the older woman’s face, “I counted!” and then she turned to look at me with a face that said, “get me the hell out of here before I punch an old biddy!” 

At that point the women behind us started to make out that she had only been kidding. Bad choice lady, at 4pm in the grocery store you can get run over with a shopping cart for jokes like that. Bad choice.

In the middle of all of that chaos I had noticed one women, also on the older side, walking leisurely through the isles, not the slow pace of the infirm, just not in any particular rush. She was, the entire time, talking on her cell phone and loading her basket. She seemed to be the only person in the entire store who was oblivious to the madness around her and it was amazing to me that she could hear well enough to carry on a phone conversation over the roar of bawling babies, shopping carts crashing together and the incessant beeping of the check-out stands.

As she passed me on her way out I heard her say to her friend on the other end of the line, “You see the best in everyone, Yolanda. You really do.”

It made me stop and think for a minute, literally about 60 seconds because in a war zone grocery store that’s all the time you have for deep contemplation. I don’t know that I always see the best in people, not really. I see a lot, but I don’t know if I would say that I even strive to see whatever is best about them. If I’m being generous with myself and others sometimes I manage to see what’s good in them.

Do we miss a lot by not looking for the best in others?

Is there a difference in seeing good in other people and learning how to see whats best about them?

I don’t know.

I got out of the grocery store alive and haven’t thought about it again until just now.

And…

Oatmeal raisin cookies

Small children with small hugs that make you feel big inside

Lots of ideas

Hope

Lattes

Writing

Being brave

 

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