Wednesday, May 09, 2012

absence makes the heart grow fonder...

Well, I have settled back into a city I lived in before, but now as a young professional instead of a student.  There have been ups & downs since my return.  I desperately miss the mountains and all that I did that was active & outside.  I also miss the authentic friendships that I had in my last city and the women that I shared life with on a regular basis.

I've had lots of alone time, which has been good and bad.  Good in the sense that I've been able to pause and reflect.  To think about how much I've learned in the last 2 1/2 years about life - as a professional, single woman, friend & daughter.  I've gone through a lot of grief and learned how to process that in a much healthier way.  I've learned a lot of strategies for addressing triggers from my past and how to work through those in a way that will help me in the future, too.  The bad part of alone time is that I often look for things to "medicate" the loneliness.  Sometimes it's movies, music, food, daydreams, exercise, etc.  Some of those are healthier ways than others, but it boils down to the fact that instead of avoiding, I need to process through the loneliness & wrestle with it with God.

I've enjoyed being close to different family & friends.  I had a birthday open house/brunch that I hosted for myself in March.  It was so fun to see people from so many different parts of my life who are so dear.  I did miss my other friends a lot, so that made it a bittersweet birthday.

Another thing I've done a lot of is cook.  My friend recommended an amazing bread book called "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day," which is phenomenal, and makes the most delicious bread ever!  I made pizza margharita from it that was absolutely gorgeous & tasted amazing.  I can't wait to make something out of the "Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" book that a friend gave me for my birthday (delicious, whole wheat bread anyone?).  The local Farmer's Market has started up here already, which means that I've bought parsley, pasta & a basil plant (which is looking kind of pathetic due to the lack of sunshine on my patio).

I recently started doing a fitness competition with some friends to see how many steps a day we can take.  I discovered that when I have a busy inpatient day, I can easily take 10,000 steps just at work.  However, on slow days in inpatient (like today) or on outpatient days, I have to bust my rear by walking over lunch and running when I get home in order to get my 10,000 steps.  I'm dreading Friday when I'm at a conference and sitting so much of the day or in the car.  I have a feeling it may end up being pathetic in the steps realm.  

I found a great church that I feel really challenged by on a regular basis.  It's funny, but Sunday morning or evening is so hard to get going for church, and I totally think it's the enemy trying to thwart my attention from the truth of the Gospel that is preached every.single.Sunday.  The more I learn, the more I recognize the depths of my depravity & need for a Savior & I how I want to share the Good News with everyone I know.  Now to really act on it in relevant, meaningful ways that are orchestrated by the Spirit.

That's my life in a nutshell right now.  Good things and struggles.  I am a work in progress!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Driving across Kansas and Eastern Colorado is a trip that I can pretty much do in my sleep because we've done it as a family since I was 6 years old, twice a year at least.  I know all the convenient places to stop that have clean bathrooms and the cheapest gas.  We had many side adventures as kids on the trip to places like Monument Rocks and the Fick Fossil Museum.

Making the trek yesterday was heartbreaking, so I tried to experience some thankfulness and wonder at the small gifts around me through the drive.  I started with looking back at Pike's Peak every opportunity I could between leaving Colorado Springs and when it disappeared below the horizon line.  The first magenta & purple rays of sunrise reflecting off the menacing, snow-covered, sleeping giant were so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes for many reasons.  I am so grieved to not have the grounding of driving past that mountain every morning.

I noted the sun reflecting off the smooth, wind-blown glass surface of the snowy fields on the Eastern Plains that shimmered into a rainbow.  Antelope trotted along a ridge in another snow-drifted field out that direction, too.

When I crossed the state line, I was surprised that the speed limit remained the same.  I haven't made the drive recently, so was unaware of the raise until yesterday.  As I kept going east, I noticed small tinges of green in fields - the promise of springtime that can't be too far off!  Large, ominous windmills spun furiously in the fields creating a vast energy supply for such a quiet state.  I also giggled at large, fluffy llamas (or alpacas?) with fur billowing in the wind that were grazing along the highway.  Chinooks were carefully parked on the tarmac at the army airfield, too, which reminds me of trying to name off the equipment that my brother & I saw as we would drive past on the way to see family.

I want to delight in the little gifts in this season of transition when I can often focus on the challenges.  I pray that my life would reflect thanksgiving to a gracious God who loves to see His daughter cherish such moments.

Saturday, February 04, 2012


Well folks, the last few months were a dud for me in blogosphere.  I've been working on a lot of different things, the biggest of which is preparing to move (again) next week.  I'll be working for a children's hospital and am excited to expand my skill level in some different areas.

That said, I have not ceased to participate in some wonderful fellowship in my current city with like-hearted friends.  Last week I attended a workshop night on spending time with God in the midst of the busyness of life.  For some reason I always assumed in college & grad school that meeting with the Lord would continue to be easy as a working professional.  Wrong.  I get up early, stay at work late, go to the gym, come home, eat, shower & am in bed around 9:30.  I know you think it's crazy I go to bed that early, but I honestly don't function unless I get that many hours of sleep.  I've been able to spend about 15-20 minutes in the Word and prayer in the morning fairly consistently, but part of me looked down on such little time.  l have been used to longer quiet times.  However, the encouragement on Sunday was that even that 15-20 minutes is cherished time with my Savior and to make the most of that time & don't let the enemy get to me with "it's not good enough."

Afterward, some co-workers of mine and I were standing around talking to the Navigators staff person who facilitated the night.  We were sharing how the 20s-30s that are single are just kind of looked over by the church.  There's events for college students, for married couples & for older folks, but, well, the single 20-30 something just doesn't exist.  This staff person shared that he's come to realize that the church views the single 20-30 something as a "resource."  "Oh, you're 28 and single?  You'd be great with the 8th grade girls!"  Umm...excuse me!  I have value as a member of the body of Christ apart from where you can stick me to meet your church's needs, or as a babysitter for your kids.  I would like to be valued for the perspective & unique creation that I am that has value in the church, too!

So friends, please hear me when I say that I need my married friends to reach out to me and ask me to be a part of your lives as much as I try to do it with you.  One of my biggest pet peeves is having to be the one to ALWAYS initiate things with married friends.  Yes, I recognize that you are busy chasing around children, working, spending time with your spouse, and still trying to maintain a relationship with the Lord.  But in the midst of that, initiating time together with me means a lot.  I hope this post helps people understand me just a bit better.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

recent times

I moved about a month and a half ago.  Since the move, life has continued to be chaotic, with glimpses of rest in my new place.  I've been steadily addressing things in the new place since I moved.  From unpacking boxes and bins (and discovering things I haven't used in a while!), to arranging for a plumber to come fix the leaky sink and putting in a new heater filter, this has been an adventure.  I have a landlord, but they live in a different town, meaning that I still frequently have to take care of things, since there's no property management company.

I've learned to enjoy the solitude.  Coming home to the quiet, listening to the aspen trees rustle outside my windows, are part of my new ambiance.  I've been decorating and unpacking, getting bookshelves from IKEA to store my massive collection of books that have accumulated over the years (thanks to my Kindle, the collection won't grow too much or have to be toted with me in boxes).  I bought a heated mattress pad, purely on the justification that I should be able to get into a warm bed at night.  For those of you not living in this part of the country, it gets pretty chilly at night, especially since my place faces north.

I continue to wrestle with some intense things.  I think that God is trying to "clean out the closets" which happens to be rather painful.  It's really hard to objectively see past relationships (with family, friends, dating, etc) as what they were (such as neglectful, unhealthy and negative).  I've discovered that some friendships that I thought were "safe" were actually not, and I've had to put distance where it is needed.

In the midst of this, my church has started a series on Extravagant Grace. 1 John 3:1 comes to mind every time I sit through one of the messages "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God!  And that is what we are!"  A love & grace that reminds me of my status in God's eyes - a beloved, precious, and cherished daughter.  He doesn't do other things when I talk to Him, His attention is on me!  I don't have to fight to be heard, or wonder if He cares.  I don't have to live under the oppressive burden of shame or guilt - two uninvited guests that tend to show up about the same time that depression and loneliness arrive.  I'm called to live, actually live, in freedom!  Our pastor made a statement that caused me to think & I'll pass it along: "Just because we are free doesn't mean that we'll live like we're free."  I'm tired of living like a convict, like a thieving Jean Valjean from Les Miserables.  I want to run in freedom & feel the wind of that freedom against my skin!

Hopefully next time I write I'll have some pictures of my place or something else fun! 

Sunday, August 07, 2011

packing up

This weekend I really entered packing mode.  It's not my favorite way to operate, and I generally detest this, but I know in the end the process will lead to greater sanity for me.  I haven't lived on my own since I was in Africa, which some people have ventured to say doesn't count.  Just for the record, if you have to arrange your own taxi rides with people who don't speak English, ward off school age children with glue strapped under their noses and at the end of the day come up with something to do from 3pm until the next morning with spotty internet connection, no similar age friends and only small geckos to keep you company, it totally counts.  Probably more so than here.  

Anyway, I am moving at the end of the month.  I am excited to announce that I will be in a place where I get to decorate and determine the level of cleanliness.  And it has a washer & drier, which is probably the most exciting thing (that and the balcony for which I bought a small patio set).  l am greatly looking forward to this next stage, but less looking forward to the actual process of moving.

I have thus determined that if I'm going to make this process as painless as possible, I need to pack at least 4 boxes every weekend from now until my move-in date.  I started with the kitchen, which is where everything has mixed together the most.  It's been really challenging, especially when it's 90 degrees and the basement is flooded so everything from the basement is now in the living spaces of the house.  Good thing we're down a roommate for a while.

In the purging, I've discovered that I have more spices than most people should ever be allowed to have.  I also discovered that I am out of cumin, which is exceedingly important for making Mexican food.  So much for limiting my spices!  Out I ventured to the local spice shop and bought a large spice rack.  Why, you ask, did I not purchase one at Bed, Bath & Beyond, like most people?  Biggest reason: they're not big enough!  I can only find ones there that hold 20 bottles.  I need something that holds in the realm of 30-40 bottles of spices.  Crazy, I know.

All this to say, I met my quota for packing this weekend.  Next adventure: ginger peach jam making after I go to the farmer's market next weekend and buy an extremely large box of peaches.  Look for the post! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

long time gone...

The past month and a half has been so full of changes and challenges, that I don't know where to begin.

I had my 3rd annual 4th of July brunch which I hosted with my roommates.  It was amazing and we had so many people come through!  I loved the age range and some of the adorable little ones that came through our door.

I attempted to hike Long's Peak as well.  I discovered that it's a Class III (on a scale of I-V, where V is the most technical), and decided at the Keyhole to turn around for the sake of my mental stamina.  I only got about 45 minutes of sleep the night before in a very noisy campground and was feeling pretty worn down.  After picking my way through the Boulderfield to the Keyhole with a pack on my back with an ice axe, microspikes and a helmet, which kept shifting forward on my body every time I leaned forward throwing off my balance, it was time to turn around.  I think it was totally a blessing, because the rest of my group ended up on the summit seeing lightning as a storm was coming in.  I made it to tree line right around the time said storm got started.  When I got back to the trailhead, I saw a quadruple rainbow!  Unfortunately, no pictures of that rainbow.
My ridiculously large pack.  Ice axe, microspikes & helmet included.
At the beginning of the alpine meadow.
On the way up to the Keyhole, which is behind me and just to the right.

What I've really enjoyed lately though has been my art class.  I signed up to take a watercolor class at the local fine arts center, and have not regretted it at all.  I've explored different techniques and styles, and have simply savored the creative outlet.  There's something about doing art that gives me solitude and a sense of peace.  Maybe it's the search to create something beautiful and experience God in that capacity.  Maybe it's the relief from the stress of my job and other areas of life.  All that said, I think I'll be signing up for additional classes in the future. 
Starfish on a rock - using plastic wrap, rubbing alcohol, and salt for creating texture.
A piece I created for a friend, based on Psalm 27:14 (Amplified version).
A study on light using glass and fruit to capture the shape & shading of the objects.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

something borrowed

I recently went to see the movie "Something Borrowed" after reading the book while on vacation in Hawaii.  I wasn't thoroughly impressed with the book, finding it slightly entertaining, but not really identifying with it too much.  But for some reason I resonated with the movie.  I think listening to the explanation of what tension was trying to be conveyed by the producers was helpful.  The movie centers around a woman who has just turned 30, and looking back wondering if she missed a chance for love.  This main character is very career driven and goal oriented in her 20s, but is now wondering if that was part of the trade off.  I could relate to this tension and doubt so thoroughly.  What if I hadn't told someone that I "just want to be friends."  Would he have responded differently?  Would he have acted?

For the most part, the men I've "dated" (a very loose term, as none of them actually wanted to call it that, which is another problem in and of itself), I've looked back on now and realized that I'm glad it didn't work.  God knew exactly what He was doing and rescued me from some very unhealthy situations on both sides.  I've come to recognize my own unhealthy tendencies as well and the issues in my family (especially with my Dad) that contributed to how I interact in relationships.  I feel like I could approach a relationship now with much more confidence in who I am and a greater ability to communicate.  There's still that one friendship that I look back to and wonder "what if."

Now, I will keep on living the life that I've been directed to and pray that God will continue to receive honor and glory and praise.  It's not what I expected, but I know that the Lord will continue to be my portion and enough now and always.