Category Archives: deep thoughts

Stereogram Truths

About 3.5 months ago….

Yep, that’s right. Before this week, it’d been 3.5 friggin’ months since I last posted anything. Not exactly on track to win any blogger awards, but that’s alright. I needed to disconnect from social media while surviving some craziness, but I already listed my excuses in the last post, so I’ll try to get back to the point… Now where was I…..

Ah yes – about 3.5 months ago, i wrote a post called Getting “There” and did a craptastic job of trying to translate some emotions that I was working through at the time into words on a screen. Sometimes, emotions aren’t made for words… Especially if you’re not quite a wordsmith, like me.

Well, I haven’t really gone a day or two without still thinking about what I attempted to write back then. But this past weekend, one of our church Elders spoke on Practical Grace at Work and pieces of it struck me in a way that I hadn’t really considered before.

The message was part of a series we’ve been delving into over the past couple of weeks, but this particular focus on work really seemed to hot me where I was and have been lately. I love it when that happens! I feel so… Pursued. So diligently pursued by God (something that I need to write on, one day, but that’s not the intent of today’s post).

Anywho, we read directly from several different scriptures (and awkwardly, I can’t seem to find the paper that I had with them listed, so please excuse my lack of preparedness!) that focused on our mindsets while at work. And as we read through them and focused and broke them down to examine more closely, I started to see this pattern emerge.

Has that ever happened to you? When it does, it reminds me of those stereogram pictures we used to see everywhere back around the late 90s, where at first it seemed to be one massive repeated pattern, but the more you stared at it, the more obvious a seemingly 3-D image started to appear right in front of you. And from then on, it was near impossible to look at the image without seeing that 3-D image popping out at you… Even if you walked away and came back later – it was as if it had always been there, and had never eluded you begin with.

Back to the story – what began to appear, like a stereogram, to me was the way that the bible spoke about work. I’d always read it as though it just referred to your job, or whatever you were meant to do we your life, and feel like I’ve asked God over and over again what it is he wants me to do… Which job should I take, Lord? What is your callings my life? Where should I go next? Etc etc… And now there was this image in front of me that I can’t imagine how I’ve missed before.

Every time the bible talks about “work” or “going” in these verses, it was used more so in the context of “while you’re on your way” or “since you’re going there anyway” and that just smacked me upside the head, guys!

I really need to find these verses to share with you because I feel like I just sound crazy spouting this off without backing it up with the actual scriptures, but it started to kind’ve wake me up from what I had always thought that the Bible had said.

Studly and I had talked about this after church and it seemed to hit us both this same way. We had always wondered what it was a God wanted us to “do” with out lives, and if we were in the right jobs or careers or fields and now suddenly, our eyes are open to this idea that God has people doing ANY and ALL kinds of jobs, and although some may get this calling to go into a far mission field or to do something super specific, god has also placed in our hearts desires and giftings and talents that are special and specific to each one of us for a reason. And he’s also given us wisdom and put people around us a placed us where we are in our lives (though we often mistake our own choices for overwriting his will)… He’s just knit together this incredibly intricate tapestry of ALL THE THINGS and whatever it is that we do… Wherever we go… Regardless of what we call “work” or “job” or any other related thing, we should do it with all of our heart and we should do it in worship to the Creator and the Orchestrator of this incredibly beautiful, amazing, intricate life.

Okay. I kind’ve started preaching a bit… But this was just so eye-opening for us.

So I say all of that to say this – we are starting to reshape how we look at things like our careers and callings. We will still be praying and asking God to lead us where he’ll have us, but also praying that we will learn what it is that he wants us to learn while we are in this season of our lives.

Hopefully, through this post you can learn along with us that it doesn’t matter if your job is collecting fees on a turnpike or shoveling ravel at a landscaping company or teaching 7th graders math or scheduling meetings for and exec… You can do it in worship and as if you are doing it directly for God, because you are.

Thanks for humoring me as I worked through this. I’m not sure if this will mean big changes for myself or possibly even both of us anytime soon, but I’m just grateful whenever I feel like my eyes have been opened and truth has founds it’s way in… Which is just the thing about truth. It always has a way of finding way into the open.

I’ll keep you posted on anything that may change, but for now… Of you’re the praying type and you’ve stuck with this post this long, please pray for me… For us. I’ve felt increasingly drawn in a completely different direction with my work-life, but I’m not sure yet if it’s just my being impatient or washy-washy with where I am or even just bored with having done the same thing for so long. I don’t want to be rash and I don’t want to do anything stupid, but I’ve just felt that I’ve been leaning more and more into the direction of doing something small and on my own, working with my hands and utilizing my creativity.

Advice is also welcomed and even encouraged!!

Thanks for stopping by, friends. I’m glad to be back and hope to find a rhythm with posting, again.

Love y’all!
~Hope

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Getting “There”

Lately I’ve been in one of those fogs… where you are more keenly aware of your mind and way more “inside yourself” than anything else.  And one thing that I keep coming back to – well, I figured I might as well share it with you guys.  That’s what blogs are for, right?

You know how growing up… for most people there’s a moment where we see someone (most likely a parent) doing something that they just do not love?  They seem so miserable or robot-like.  Like a zombie just going through the motions, day in and day out, because they have to.  And we swear to ourselves that we won’t be like that.  We won’t let ourselves just become a statistic… another drone that just drudges through life.

And then one day, we wake up and we’re exactly that.

How did we get there?

The bigger question I’ve been asking myself lately is… how do we change that?

There must be a way, right?  People all over the place are doing what they love.  So there’s got to be a way to make that happen.

But how do you bridge the gap?  How do you get to the point where you aren’t just mindlessly pushing through each day, constantly counting down to the next weekend and you are actually enjoying what you do?  Most people spend well over 2000 hours a year at their job, and what a waste that is when it’s a job that we don’t love.

We heard people tell us all the time that we could do anything we put our minds to.  That we could be anything we wanted to be.  So how many people actually took that to heart and really made it happen?

What about you guys – do you like what you do?

To be clear, I am SUPER grateful for the job that I have and for all that it has afforded me.  I believe that the work I do makes a difference and that is something that’s really important to me.  Maybe this is less about my actual job, currently, and more about the stage of life that I’m in.  I don’t know… But I do want to be clear that I’m not ungrateful.

I just sometimes look back and think about how I got to where I am and wonder how the slightest change in direction could’ve landed me in a completely different place.  This isn’t really the focus of this post, though, so I’ll get back to that before I veer too far off course…

I’m just not someone who sees myself sitting at a desk. I’ve been doing this kind of work for 12 years, now, and I just don’t know if it’s right for me.  I want to work with my hands.  I want to be outside more.  I want… just something different.

Do you now anyone who’s made a complete career change at some point in their lives?  How did they do this?

Doing something like this would take a lot of faith and right now it just seems like nothing more than a fantasy.

I don’t mean to sound depressing or completely unhappy because I’m not.  I have a good life.  I’m a happy person and I’m not sure if I do a good job of conveying that through this blog, but it’s true.  I’m just not one to go more than an hour without having a smile on my face.  It’s just not who I am.

But even in the midst of that, I can’t help but wonder, sometimes, if this is really what I should be doing… if it’s where I should be.  This isn’t something that I just started feeling recently, but I’ve discussed it with Studly on quite a few occasions over the years.  And it just all comes back to one major point:  how would I even begin to make such a drastic career change?
Anywho – this is really just my trying to sort through some thoughts “out loud” so I’d love to hear from you.  Anything to add?  Is anyone else dealing with similar feelings?  Have any of you or someone you know gone through this and just taken a giant leap of faith?  I’d love to hear about it!

~Hope

Parenthood – Show and Finale

I know I’m a little late, here, because most people watch shows when they actually come on instead of waiting, but what can I say?!  I’m a slacker.

When it came to the final season of Parenthood, I was a super slacker.  But frankly, it was intentional.

I love this show.

Like… I LURVE it.  For serious.  And when I watch it, one episode never seems to be enough for me.  So then I tend to “save up” and watch at least 2 at a time… especially when it got close to the finale.

This. Show.

It’s been one of the only Dramas that I have watched from start to finish and still wanted more.  And even though there have been other Dramas that I’ve enjoyed, they don’t compare.  It’s such a beautiful show.  It was always so real, instead of just the typical hollywood, in your face, constant or overly-liberal… yada yada yada.  It was just real!  It showed multiple sides to real issues.  It just met people where life actually happens, and not just where it gets people’s attention… and that alone is what then got people’s attention, I think.

Basically, if you haven’t seen the show, then you should absolutely watch it.  And start from the beginning, because there is just so much that you do NOT want to miss.

And if you do follow the show and haven’t seen the final season and/or the show finale, then DO NOT KEEP READING!

***SPOILER ALERT!!***

The ending to this show was absolutely beautiful.  It’s very rare that a show can wrap things up for its viewers, and then to do it well… that is practically unheard of.  But this show?  Oh.  My word.  It was so perfect.

I love that Sarah and Hank got married.  It was perfect.  And their wedding was SO very them and this family.

I loved and so appreciated the peaceful, yet respectable way that they showed Zeek’s passing.

I adore that they jumped forward for everyone, too, and gave us a glimpse into the future –

– Amber’s man with his own child (or their child together?) and still bringing little Zeek’s father back into the picture to show that he got his life together and spent time with little Zeek and was on good terms with Amber and her man…

– Crosby running the Luncheonette and having Amber working with him, then seeing him with his kids and a future-pregnant Jasmine in the studio together…

– The Bravermen 4 finding Adam’s perfect place as Headmaster of Chambers Academy when Julia finds her dream job with the non-profit and then Max getting his diploma…

– The Grahams… Joel and Julie not only being back together and adopting Victor’s half-sister, but then seen happily celebrating together at a future Christmas with even a 4th baby…

– Camille taking the trip and visiting the little french bed and breakfast that Zeek tried to surprise her with earlier in the season…

– And finally, the entire family playing baseball on the field where they sprinkled some of Zeek’s ashes together…

… All of this while you even listened to a much more melodic version of the Show’s own theme song playing over everything (originally Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young”).

And I loved every minute of this show.

From the beginning, this show stole my heart with its realness and it’s fearlessness in the handling of very emotional and difficult topics –

– The struggle in pinpointing, diagnosing, and then learning to live with Max’s diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome…

– Crosby’s period of growing up, from finding out he had a son to suddenly trying to become a father and then a husband, which he wasn’t so natural with…

– Sarah’s journey in finding herself as her children grew and she learned that being a single mother wasn’t her only identity…

– How parenting styles differ from parents to their children and when parents become grandparents, they are sure that they know the best way to do everything and don’t keep that to themselves when watching how their kids fall into those new parenting roles…

– Kristina’s breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and remission and her meeting and watching others that weren’t so lucky…

– Adoption as a whole… thinking you are selected to adopt a baby and then having that plan shattered when the decision is reversed, the real difficulties of adopting an older child and not pretending it’s all easy to suddenly assume an older child as your own, especially when you have other children… and then the sudden possibility of adopting another child, because adoption isn’t something you just pick up and go with randomly like finding our your pregnant is…

– Amber going through the somewhat typical phases of not wanting to listen to a thing her mother or grandparents said, and then acting out and rebelling, and then reeling from those choices and finally discovering more of who she wants to be, and then falling into making some of the same mistakes that her mother made and almost hating herself for it before realizing she can still learn and grow…

– Joel and Julia’s marriage troubles… between whether or not to be a stay-at-home or working mother, to the stress that’s put on a marriage when both careers are going full force and entailing long hours, to moments of doubt in trusting each other and then ultimately to unfaithfulness…

– Camille and Zeek growing older and wanting different things.. Zeek wanting to just enjoy their life the way it is without the requirements of a job, and Camille’s desire to travel and see the world and downsize…

I know I’ve missed so, so many things with this list, but this show – it was just so full of REAL.  Life isn’t scripted, and although this show obviously was, they did an amazing job of catching you off guard at times and choosing to be real and genuine when you thought for sure that you’d be able to predict a typical, hollywood style situational play out.

I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again – if you haven’t watched this show, then you should.  Even though I’ve talked through much of it, it’s still something that you should absolutely see for yourself.  It’s on Hulu, for sure, but I’m convinced it’s probably almost everywhere.  But if you’re going to watch it, do so from the beginning, because it’s just so full of awesome.

I’ve gone on and on about this show, but it’s just really that awesome.  And for once, a show was wrapped up in such an amazing way that you couldn’t possibly be unhappy with how it finished.  That alone is a good reason to watch it, if you ask me.

Do you watch Parenthood?  Did anyone else see the finale?  What shows are y’all watching these days?  Because I am now in the market for a new one to fill the void.

~Hope

Pushing Through

Today I’m feeling awfully bummy.

And not just because I’ve somehow cracked the code and managed to wear my pajamas all day, but also because I’m in a mood.  Back when I started telling you about our desire to grow our family, I mentioned that although most of the time I go through my days with plenty of pep in my step and without obsessing or focussing on the fact that I’m not “there” yet.  But today… a lot of things are weighing on me.

It started out as a great day, just like most.  When I got up this morning, the sun was shining awfully bright (putting a break in the string of yucky, rainy days we’ve had lately), and I had plans to finally start fiddling with my new Silhouette Craft Machine, which I can’t wait to tell you about.

But as the day went by, I just started to feel more and more weighed down.

It’s not as simple as one might think.  I don’t always know exactly what’s bothering me or what it is that’s making me feel that way, and it doesn’t always start to pile up.  But today it did.  And after spending some time reflecting and doing some evaluating, I think I’ve pinpointed several of the things that are fighting for attention.

First, and most glaringly, our lack of children.  I’m still not allowing myself to obsess over it, but it’s still there.

Then there’s the lack of friendships in our new home area.

And also the fact that we haven’t yet found a church in the area.

Also, not feeling like I have a grasp on everything that we want done in this house, or like I’ll ever realistically pull the trigger on any of the hundreds of projects I daydream about on a regular basis.

This is starting to sound like a lot of whining.  I’m sorry about that.  It wasn’t my intention.  I did, however, promise to be real here.  And that’s really all this is.  The truth is that there’s quite a lot that seems to be getting to me today, and although any of these things on their own wouldn’t be enough to shake me… having all of it seem to creep up to the foreground at once is more than enough.

So today, I am shaken.  I am sad.  I am weighed down by the things in my life that I am less than thrilled about.  And it won’t go on… I can promise you that.  I will let myself have this day and then I will pick myself up by my bootstraps, brush off the glum, and carry on.

(source)

I will be happy.  I will be satisfied with my daily life.  I will be content in the season in which God has me, and I will be grateful for all of the blessing… the ridiculous amount of blessings in my life.  Because that’s what really matters.

(source)

I guess I just feel that sometimes you need to allow yourself to acknowledge the things that you don’t like so that you can get past them and move on.

(source)

How are you all doing, today?  And be honest.  I’m not one of those people who asks and hopes to just get a simple “fine”… I’d rather know how you’re really doing and smile and laugh with you when you’re doing well, cry with you when you’re not, and pray with you through it all.

~Hope

Book Review: One Thousand Gifts

I heard about this book by Ann Voskamp over and over for years, it seems.  To be honest, I’m not even sure how long its been available, but it feels like it was years, anyway.

I always meant to read it and just never got around to it.  And by “got around to it” I, of course, men when I was finally looking at buying books, I never could remember that I wanted this one.

Am I the only one who does this? Resolves to do something and then only remembers at THE most random times, and never in a situation where it would make sense that I would recall such a thing?  *sigh.  This is my life.

Back to what I was trying to say… (sidetracked much?!)

I finally bought the thing.  And it was in a moment where I had randomly remembered it and was just so annoyed that it had taken me so long to finally remember it that I think I just pulled out my phone and bought it off of amazon right away.  Didn’t even give myself the chance to forget again.  Just knocked that sucker out!  Done and done.  I would now finally own “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are” and could check it off the list.  Boom.

When it finally came in the mail, I unpacked it and set it on my night stand.  And it sat there.

And sat there.

And sat there still.

Until finally I picked it up one day, and it wrecked my world.

It was like I had started reading something that I should’ve read YEARS ago!

So much of this book was filled with things I had grown up hearing, but never really heard.  Then again, I don’t think it had ever been spelled out quite so clearly to me before.

Full disclosure, I’m still not even done reading it.  BUT unlike most books, this is one that I read in spurts, rather than trying to get through it all at once.  And in this case, that’s been best for me.  I mean… this book is pretty heavy.  It’s not the kind of book I can read in an airport while people are coming and going and things are noisy and such.  It’s one where I need to really focus in on it.  But that’s really just because it is so spot on for me.  It’s hitting me right in the gut each time I open the thing.

I can read it and be so hit, right where I am, and then go several weeks or a month or two without reading anymore of it.  And then pick it up again on some random day and in a completely different situation and then be absolutely hit right in the face yet again.  It’s incredible.

So I should probably get to the gist of it, right?  Alrighty. Touchy touchy. 😛 Here goes.

According to amazon, here’s the “back cover”:

Just like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. ‘How,’ Ann wondered, ‘do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long–and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?’ In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted…a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved–by God. Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive. Come live the best dare of all!

I don’t even feel like that does it justice.

It’s about gratitude… sure.  But it’s about a kind of gratitude that I haven’t really strived for before.  And I’ve always been one of those people who tries to be sure I’m grateful for the job I have and the house I live in and the people in my life.  Say thank you for even the little simple things people do for you (opening a door, etc) and making sure to seem genuine.  All of that is great, but it’s still not the kind of gratitude that this book talks about.

It’s about a deeper, completely heartfelt gratefulness for what you’ve been given in your life.  Everything from those I mentioned above (job, car, etc) to things like baby giggles heard down the hall, or sunbeams peaking through curtains on a quiet Saturday morning. Everything.

Ann has a blog (you can find her over at www.aholyexperience.com) and started out years ago challenging herself to list 1000 gifts, or 1000 things she was thankful for by a certain date.  And what she came to discover through this process was so much more life-changing then she ever imagined.

I’ve gotta admit, I’m starting to discover the same myself… and I’m not even finished reading the book!  I feel so strongly about it that I can’t even wait until I finish it to recommend it.  It’s THAT good, y’all!

So there you have it.  This book is incredible and I absoFREAKINlately recommend it to anyone in search of peace.

Peace is something I’ve been actively pursuing since picking up this book and it’s the only thing that seems to have brought me any progress.  Turns out I needed to evaluate what it is I even though peace was and daggum I was WAY off!

Please do read this book.  You’ll be glad you did.

~Hope

Dear Birthmom

You don’t know me right now.  In fact, there’s a chance that you may never know me.  And that’s okay.

Right now you could be anywhere.  You could be sitting in a restaurant laughing with friends or loved ones.  You may be alone somewhere… by yourself.  You may not be pregnant, yet, or even close to becoming pregnant.

But at some point in your future, your life will change dramatically.  And it will happen very quickly.

The next thing you know, you’ll be part of a story that you never intended to be a part of.

And that story will lead you to me.

I can’t imagine what your life will be like during these hard times.  I wouldn’t even begin to pretend that I am able to understand your life and your situation… but I can promise you that I will try my best to be understanding.  I will not judge you.  I will not hold any ill feelings toward you.  Because through your great struggle, you will bring an end to mine.

You see, I’ve wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember.  When other young girls thought of future careers, I never counted one out, but I always thought of the children that I would raise and the man who I would raise them with.  I’m not one to obsess over the idea of motherhood, but it’d be a lie to say anything other than the truth – that it is never far from my mind.

I’ve watched many women go through situations similar to yours, though I know better than to say they were the same.  And I’ve also known many women to go through situations similar to mine.  There’s no normal way to be in either of our shoes.  And yet we are both here.

Two women on opposite sides of a great struggle.  Within those struggles we will one day become liked together… and we will be linked together for the rest of our lives.

I don’t know what that story will look like for us or how much a part of each others lives we will be from that day forward, but I will never be able to truly express to you how grateful I am for your journey.

You did not plan for this, and this decision will be one of the hardest decisions you will ever make in your life, but choosing to place your child with an adoptive family… with us… will be one of the happiest days of my life.

On the day that you become a mother, you will make the most selfless decision a person can make… and on that day, you will make me a mother.

Nothing will change your status as a mother when you make this decision – no one can take that from you.  And you will do with that whatever you wish.  But on the day that you make me a mother, you will be making my family whole.  This is something that I will never be able to forget.  Because with you… without this great struggle… we wouldn’t be just that – a family.

Until that day… the day that we both become mothers… I will pray for you.

The journey before this day is one that neither of us can imagine.  It will be hard.  It will be harder than hard.  And there will be times where you want to make a different decision.  Times where you will want this to end differently.  Sooner.  And on those days, I pray that you find an overwhelming and unexpected peace.

Today I thought of where you might be.  And the truth is, based on typical timelines, you are probably far from the day when you will become pregnant.  And even further from the day that you choose to give us the gift of parenting and raising your child…. and make them ours.  But on this day, I pray that you feel joy.  I hope that you are somewhere safe… and warm.  And that you are happy.  The strength that you will need to get through this great struggle will come from somewhere deep within you, and that strength will grow from days like today until the day that our lives become linked.

So right now, more than anything, I wish you nothing but happiness.  Because one day… that is exactly what you will bring us.

~Hope

Dear Baby

I dream about you.

I dream about the day that we’ll finally meet you.  I dream about your birth mother and the struggle that she’ll face when she first discovers that she’s pregnant.  How she’ll consider several options and possibly change her mind quite  a few times before she follows through on placing you with an adoptive family.

I’m sure that she’ll wonder if she’s doing the right thing…  wonder if she will regret it… wonder if she’ll be able to follow through.

I imagine her emotional struggle as she gives birth.  How the entire time she’s laboring and then pushing… she’ll be thinking about you and the decision she’s making.  She may even, in that moment, think she should keep you with her and not place you with us.  I can’t truly fathom those thoughts.

Having wanted you for so long, I can’t imagine being not he other side of the process.  But I try.  I just want to be sure that I don’t forget her through our journey to you.  To becoming the family God has destined us to be.  Because without her, we won’t have you.  And for that, I am forever in her debt.

She will make the choice to put you above herself.  She will acknowledge that, for whatever reason, she can’t give you the life that you deserve… and in her love, and in God’s grace, she will choose us to do just that.

I think about you and how it’s possible that even as I write this, you may not have even been conceived yet.  Ad my mind wanders through various scenarios that could even bring that to fruition.

Sweet child, your conception may not be planned and the first moments of your tiny life, in the very moment when you become your very own string of DNA, just then you will become my daughter.  I won’t know you yet, and I won’t know of your existence for quite a while longer, but it will be in that moment that the life that is planned for you will begin.

In the first realization of your existence, your birth mother may feel less than excited, but just wait… just hold on to the hope that you will be loved.  You will be cherished.  You will be covered in kisses and snuggled day after day.  You may not feel it in those moments… in the moments when your birth mother feels doubt, or anger, or hurt, or hopelessness… but you are, sweet one!

As every finger and every eyelash and every flake of skin develops, you are wrapped in love.  You are created in love by a God who has so much in store for you.  And you are prayed for… longed for by parents who can’t wait to meet you.

To hold you.

To kiss your sweet face.

To smell your newborn smell.

And to watch the wonder in your eyes as you grow and experience this world and all that it offers.

Sweet love, you are cherished.  You are perfect.  You are an answer to prayer.

And all before you even came to be.

Always remember this, as it is sewn into the very fiber of your being:  You ARE wanted.

♬  I’ve missed you, but I haven’t met you.

      Oh but I want to… How I do.  ♪♩

I love you so.

~Mama

The Beaming Heart

Last week, I finally finished putting together a gift box for my longest, dearest friend in the world.  We’ve been friends for over 20 years (no… seriously!) and she and her fiancé moved to Hawaii just a couple of weeks after Studly and I arrived in Texas.  We’ve never been far apart for long, and have never been THIS far apart ever.  I miss her terribly!

It’s both comforting and heartbreaking to have her going through the same things I have been since moving.

It’s nice to know, with regard to many aspects, that I’m not alone.  And that I have someone I can talk through these things with.  And not just someone, but… HER!  Someone I love, and adore, and miss terribly, and want only the best things for.  She and I have been through so many different stages of life together and now this is no different.

So I decided a while back to put together some things for her and ship it out her way, but it took me a while to get it all together and actually mail it off.  But it finally happened, and my heart was BURSTING!  Ladies, if you haven’t had the opportunity to surprise someone with something, even just something silly and insignificant, then I can not tell you enough how much of a difference it will make in your heart.

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I may need to pause and take a moment to share something with you:  I’m not telling you any of this to get kudos or to flaunt my creativity, or write a “yay me” blog post.  That’s not what the intent is here.  Not even a little bit.  The intent of this post is to just show you how much this can truly change you and only for the better.  Now… back to the point. 🙂

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I not only wrapped up some fun things like a witch-hat headband for Halloween, some fuzzy socks, a robe, pajama pants, and a funny tank top along with a super hilarious turkey hat for Thanksgiving (most of which was in the dollar section at Target, FYI), but I also sent her a book I’ve been telling her about (can’t wait to tell you guys about it, too!) along with a gratitude journal that I started off with a very personal letter and on the last page wrote her one of the most amazing quotes (because she and I share deep, introspective, word-driven hearts):

May your days be filled with small, sacred moments of awareness.

May you set side your hurry, your pulling, your wishing for different.

May you linger over meals and take walks with slow steps.

May you hold books with pages, mugs with steam, and hands who know your secrets.

May you settle in, right where you are, refusing to wish for something different.

Enjoy your time, friends.  Live your moments – live them full.

~Vicky Westra

I just think that is so beautiful and can’t think of any better way to put it.  And on top of it just being an amazing wish (mine for all of you, at that), it is just so timely and spot on for what my dear dear friend and I are going through right now.  SO it was absolutely perfect!

As I was grabbing the final things for her package, I also grabbed quite a few (way too many, really… I have a problem!) blank sets of note cards and hoped to get back into the habit of sending random notes to my loved ones and friends on occasion.  So when I finished packing up and wrapping her package, I grabbed a few of the note cards and jotted a quick note for my mother and older sister.  And my heart just continued to grow and grow!

Again, I cannot express in typed words how much joy I felt as I anticipated them receiving these note cards and feeling a distant hug around their necks from me.  It was so so thrilling!

And I do have to give a shout-out to a bloggy friend Elisha over at Waiting For Baby Bird for the final push to get my butt in gear and finally get back into sending these little surprise notes.  She mentioned in a post last week that she did the same and it sparked that flame in me again. 🙂  Thanks, girl!

Anywho, here’s the grand finale – the package that I sent to my dear dear friend was set to arrive tomorrow, and I honestly had all-but-forgotten about it for the weekend when I got an alert on my iPhone that she posted a picture and tagged me in it.  I didn’t jump to check it right away because we were watching a movie and I figured it was just a flashback kind of picture from when we were young… but boy was I off base!  She’d gotten the package a full day early, somehow, and posted a collage-pic of her holding the bright-pink wrapped box on her balcony, and few shots of the inside package.  I was so excited!  She also wrote the sweetest note with her post and I. Was. BEAMING!

There’s just something that happens in you heart when you do something for someone else that gets you absolutely nothing in return… it’s just…  It’s amazing!  And you know what’s funny?  Up until writing this paragraph, I didn’t put it together, but the message that we heard at church today actually touched on this topic as well – there have even been studies done to find what it is that makes the happiest people, well… happy!  And you know what they found?  It was the most generous people who were the happiest.

That’s really all… I just wanted to share with you all how giving a little, very little, something can make SUCH a big difference in your week.  AND in that of a very dear friend.

So go out this week and do something for someone.  It’ll swell your heart until it almost bursts.  It’ll limit any kind of funk you may be in and it’ll quickly become something that you’ll want to do again… even if you hear nothing from the recipient.

Trust me… give it a shot and let me know how it goes!  I want to hear ALL about it.  Bring us the deets!

This week, Hope is Trying to make someone smile…

~Hope

Crazy Train

I’ve been all over the place, lately.  I haven’t been able to pinpoint when it first began, though I feel like if I’m honest – it was back before we moved.  At least back then it mostly made sense, though.  I had so much going on at once and so much to keep track of that my mind was constantly multi-tasking with no break.  Nowadays, all of that has been dealt with and finalized.  There’s no more long lists of things to make sure we get done properly so as to not end up without a place to live, without a paycheck, without our clothes and without our pup.

So what’s the problem?

If I really try to figure it out, I just end up wandering.  I do tend to stick on something from time to time, but not anything consistent.  And it could be any number of things, really.  Anything from what’s been on the news… to work details… to the secrets of life… to why you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway.  Really though – super random stuff.

And then there are times when it’s more substantial.  Tonight, for some unknown reason, I find myself thinking about the pains and realities of growing up.  It could’ve started with any number of things, but that’s where my brain lands regardless.

When I finally decided to start writing about it, I was kind’ve plateauing on how insane it is how as a society, we are graduating high school and suddenly expected to decide on a career choice for the rest of your life.

I’m 28 years old and I feel like I’ve only really come to discover and appreciate who I am as a person… as a woman… within the past year or two.  It’s been a long process, but how is it that we expect things like that form people when they are so young?  I was even considered by some to be a more mature 18-year-old when I was at that point, but even then I was terrified that any decision would end up being the wrong one.  Of course… I’d never admit that to ANYbody, but if I was honest with myself – that’s exactly how I felt.

I’m no advocate for extended adolescence.  Believe me – I’m all about people getting off their butts and either working or going to school, if they can.  Getting out away from their families to discover who they are as an individual and as part of a greater “societal organism”… but it is kind’ve crazy that we’re expecting self-conscious child/adult hybrids to make such impactful decisions.

I know this is random.  I’m sorry… I’m hoping that maybe getting some of this down and our of my head will open up some free space for more normal lines of thinking.  I am curious, though, to see if anyone else has had similar thoughts or experiences with feeling they would’ve preferred to make a different decision or taken a different path at a younger age.

To wrap up, I’m very happy with the career I’m in.  I don’t plan to hang anything until we have children, and then I hope to be able to be a stay at home mom… but I would’ve loved to know earlier on that I could do other things.  Things that my parents would’ve turned their noses up to as career choices or things that I didn’t yet realized I enjoyed so much or was even just half-decent at.  But I still get to do them now as more hobbies, so… that’s not too bad, right?  🙂

So tell me your thoughts not he subject.  Am I just totally crazy to think this?  What about my general spacey-ness these past few months… anyone else experienced similar things, or am I in my own boat with this one?  Hah.

~Hope

A Good Place

I know that I’ve already told you about my desire to be a mother and how it comes with it’s ups and downs.

Honestly? Right now, I’m in a good place.

We have a lot going on, right now – We are getting ready for a big (BIG) move. We are getting ready to finally sell the house that we are currently renting out. We are making some pretty big life changes, and that’s all good.

Maybe I’m just distracted by all that’s going on, but regardless… I’m good.

I know that it’ll happen in Gods perfect timing, and that timing will be WAY better than my own “now now now!” perspective. And I know that very day that passes means that I’ll appreciate the moment when it finally happens that much more.

I also know that the fact that we’re spending our time bettering hearts, our relationship, our health… It just puts us in an altogether better place for when it does finally happen and we do become parents.

There will absolutely be rough times. But right now… This is one of the good ones.

And I am eating it up as much as possible.

I promise to stay real with you. To share the tough times, just as I’m sharing the good ones (but probably with more detail).

In the meantime, I’m praying for those of you who are still waiting on your littles, like we are. I’m praying for those of you who aren’t at a point yet where you want littles. And I’m praying for those of you who don’t ever plan to have littles of your own and are good with just being you. Whichever stage you’re in, you are loved and you are valued.

Life is way too crazy to go it alone, so I’m glad you’ve chosen to share it with me. *Hugs

~Hope

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