riding down the windy roads in the land of a thousand hills [Rwanda] this summer, with my new friends Anna + Jennie we were playing the question game. ya know, getting to know each other. I don’t remember exactly the question that was asked – but somehow I got into talking about all the different places I’ve lived or worked that stretched me the most. the ones that were most out of my comfort zone:
living in a trailer park for 14 days, sleeping on a park bench in Paris, working in a trash dump slum community in Ethiopia, and spending a few terrifying nights in a covered wagon as big cats paraded around.
yes, my first big girl job out of college was working for the Rodeo in our state capital of Austin, Texas. before you get a mental image that I wore a crown and paraded around on my horse every night before the show started, let me stop you in your tracks. I worked in fundraising and event planning, and in case you didn’t know the rodeo is a non-profit that raises scholarship money for youth! but it’s true. I lost 14 pounds to match the 14 nights I slept and showered in a trailer during the “show”. this was culture at it’s finest. this baptist/private school girl all her life was thrown into the ring so to speak. but I loved it. it pushed me out of my comfort zone, opened my eyes, and while most of the time I felt beat down, I think it strengthened my faith.
[also apparently too busy to take photos - but these were my lovely co-workers and friends!]
now the sleeping on a park bench in Paris is less scandalous than it sounds. I was studying abroad with Baylor University in London, and our whole team did a weekend in Paris. but at the recommendation of others who’d gone before me, me and a few friends opted to not pay the extra thousand dollars or whatever it was, and decided just to sneak into the rest of our groups hotel rooms. meaning, we took an earlier train and couldn’t “Check in” to the room. we were exhausted after we’d toured the Louve, and walked around Paris all day so we elected to take turns taking naps on benches in a city park. it was a memory for the record books – and there are way more stories to record from that once in a lifetime experience. backpacking Europe on the weekends for sure taught me flexibility. [also, back in 2004, there wasn't Facebook, so finding photos of this event was difficult….enjoy the only photo I found - eating dinner at the Texas Embassy in London]
unlike the pre-blog timing of the other stories, Ethiopia was in this blogs lifetime. you could possibly remember my missionary summer where I said yes, and lived the dream of living in Ethiopia [without my man [insert sad face]] for a solid 3 months while we were finishing our adoption process of Camp + Asher. working everyday in my beloved Korah, a community build around the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Abbaba, trash dump. I lived with a family, but I was still very much living there alone. figuring out my own transportation, which often led me to take 3 city buses to Korah on a Saturday [not very safe] alone…but hey. it was an adventure, it was hard, but it gave me some of the most memorable experiences of my life so far.
so Hume Lake. In case you didn’t know, I was a church recreation major in college, and to graduate I had to do an internship. I totally could have worked at my beloved Camp Mystic, where I spent 14 summers of my life, but I wanted something to push me out of my comfort zone. I read about this camp in California from a text book, and even had a friend in my sorority who grew up going there with her church group, so I said what the heck. I applied, got in, and went not knowing a soul. and I was the only one from Texas, and well pretty much the entire south. my nickname was Dixie. I wouldn’t have traded this summer for anything – I met people I would NEVER have met, was exposed to a totally different culture in our own country, and learned so much about a state I love so much.
the thing all those stories have in common?
I did all those things alone. I took a leap of faith, and went. These experiences pushed me out of my comfort zone, they taught me so much about myself, they gave me a love for other cultures, and an “I can do anything” attitude. I hope as a family we can continue to take these sort of leaps, and we can encourage our children one day in this too.
what about you? is there a time in your life you took a leap + it changed your perspective on life?
what is this #notetoself series? check it out here.
yes, you heard that right.
my first every 31 days challenge right here on gloriously ruined, is a crazy voicemail series. we’ll call it “note to self”
just like this first voice memo says, I will be including voice memos for these posts. I’ve been brainstorming this series for a while, and a hot day at the lake in July it hit me! voice memo series! I don’t know why I do this, but I love making voice memos for myself. As my current iPhone says, I’ve been doing this since October 28th, 2010. Sometimes I just have these thoughts, ya know. thoughts that need to be recorded RIGHT then. Most of the time I have these thoughts while driving. isn’t that funny? when I’m finally pulled away from distractions [aka, technology, to do lists, laundry...] I have these crystal clear thoughts. sometimes I intend for these thoughts to be recorded through writing, and sometimes they are just memories I don’t want to forget or things I want to do.
I never thought anyone would ever HEAR these thoughts, but I’ve been dreaming about finally taking the time, and challenging myself to write the stories. write the thoughts. so this month, I’m challenging myself to write every. single. day. I’ve pre-written a few posts, but most days I want to literally sit down, listen to a voice memo, and write. some of these posts might be from “notes” on my phone, and not actual voice memos, but they are all the same. things I scribble down while traveling, after I get out of the shower, or when I can’t sleep at night.
now that I think about it, I think I know where I get this from. my dad used to carry around [pre iPhone] a handheld recorder that he would talk into as we were driving down the road, or on vacation, or sitting at lunch. things to not forget, notes to his assistant, whatever it was in his world. [thanks dad!]
so this is MY world. welcome
to find out more about this crazy writing challenge, visit the #write31days site here.
I’ll have all my 31 days posts linked HERE, or click the “note to self” logo on the sidebar!
hello there friends, it’s so nice to see you [as my sweet Camp says when I pick him up from "school"] Oh how I’ve missed you. This place, the time put into writing on this space, it’s my therapy. it’s my time. and I’ve missed it. The season is changing, friends. it’s fall. today in my city it’s cool enough to wear jeans + my white chucks AND a cardigan. I’m sitting at Starbucks sipping on Pike’s Place drip from a real mug, listening to David Gray on pandora. I have two hours all to myself, and it feels damn good. can I get an amen from any other stay at home mamas?
it seems like all-the-dang-day my kiddos are hanging off me. just yesterday, I was trying to do a workout video and Asher had to go “tee tee” so she went to the other side of the house on her potty, and then proceeded to take the little bowl out of her potty and carry it to the other side of the house….”it spilled mama!”. some days you just have to laugh. moments like these fill my days. I bet they fill yours too.
In light of this, I have to have an “outlet”. I need time to myself, but I’m learning I also need accountability and community. So I’m making some pretty big goals.
I just started a month long beach body challenge with some of my college gal pals [fit for fall!]. Workout video for 30 min at home each day + a “clean eating” plan. I can’t tell you how much the daily check ins, encouraging texts and comments have pushed me to keep going. Like a lot of things in my life, if I don’t have a plan and make a goal – change won’t happen. so I’m taking a big step forward in my health and wellness.
my oily community also keeps me sane and accountable to changing our lifestyle with the daily use of essential oils. scrolling through Casey’s instagram, visiting our Baby Steps member lounge on Facebook, and connecting with some other like minded gals keeps me motivated to keep learning, and pushing myself to better our families health and wellness.
there’s another big goal I’m working towards….
Last year, I loved following along some amazing writers as they wrote every day of October. I’ve been brainstorming what I would want to write about, and one sunny July day at the lake it HIT ME! I can’t wait to tell you about it. I’m about to start getting my thoughts on paper about it, and hopefully pre-write a few posts before linking up next Tuesday. I hope it will push me to be a better storyteller, to connect with you, to record some memories that have been stored in my head, and only make me a better writer, wife, friend, and mom! [remember, writing is my free therapy!] so come back next week, and journey with me through 31 days of October. to find out more about this crazy write31 days thing, go here.
I’m continually amazed by ALL the community surrounding infertility that is out there. As I’ve opened up more and more to share my story, I’ve heard from so many of you. Thank you, truly, for opening up and trusting me with your stories and burdens. Every time I get a comment, or email from one of you I say a prayer for you right then and there. Stories are still pouring in after last Friday’s “ugly cry” post.
this week it’s my joy to link up with my friend Chelsea and a few other gals to bring you a community post about all the LIES we women believe in this journey through infertility. The lies that we aren’t worthy [that's mine], lies that we are alone in this struggle, or we’re being punished, or we are broken and will never be healed…. head over to Chelsea’s blog to hear from these other ladies and be encouraged. If you [like us] have struggled to believe these lies, know you aren’t alone, and know that’s all they are – LIES!
joining with me this week are these gals – be sure to check them out too!
Elisha – http://waitingforbabybird.com/
Caroline – http://in-due-time.com/
Charity – http://www.thewordofanerd.com/
Jessah – http://www.dreamingofdimples.com/
Kailey – http://cheerstoplana.wordpress.com
Cristi – www.wearemakingaamiracle.blogspot.com
I left 3 hour triple baby shower [these babies have all safely made their way into the world now! praise God!] dinner before the tears started to flow. It’s such a weird thing. When you’ve been walking with a group of girls for 3-5 years, and they know you and they know your heart and your desires. they know your struggles and your heart ache. they want what you want almost as much as you do. they want to change the hard stuff, they want to make it better. they love me so fiercely. they don’t know what to say sometimes, so sometimes they don’t. and sometimes they step out on a limb and send me a message just to see how I am. I’m sure they feel nervous to do that. I would feel nervous about that too, if it wasn’t something I had walked through or been walking through. but when they do, I am so grateful. I can feel the hurt in their hearts for me. I can feel them empathizing with me. it’s nice to know I’m seen.
it’s hard. having been trying to conviece for 5 years. there are always seasons where everyone and their dog is pregnant, and this is one of them. I have way too many stories of crying in the bathroom at parties and dinners, just trying to hide and be alone. then I have stories of friends finding me in the bathroom, and praying with me and letting me hide out until the tears dry. 5 years of this. first round of kids, then second, and now we are on to round 3 for lots of my friends.
it’s weird. it’s weird because I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. but at times, I feel sorry for myself. I’m learning a lot about dealing with grief, and loss over what could have been. I’m learning that it’s OK to cry out to God, and to tell him I don’t think it’s fair, and to be mad. he can handle it. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, but I think because I feel sorry for myself I perceive everyone else to feel sorry for me too. but they are right there with me. they are confused, and sad, and hurt, and they want it to be different too! they want what I want!
when friends announce they are pregnant, at least to me, sometimes they say it in a I-feel-bad-i’m-pregnant kind of way. and I know their heart, I know they are trying to protect me and let me know that they hate it for me. that they wish I was pregnant too. but it makes me feel worse sometimes. I AM excited for them. I AM excited about new life! I DO want to celebrate. but it’s just their weird thing, because yes I am also hurting inside. I am also asking, “why not me” to myself. I am questioning God, and telling him it’s not fair. I know in my heart the truth – I know his timing is perfect, I know there is purpose in my pain, but that doesn’t mean that it still isn’t hard. not every day. but some days, it’s hard.
I’m grateful for this journey, I really am. I’m grateful that I can now for the rest of my life, empathize with other women who are going through this same struggle. I’m thankful that my pain could be my platform. I’m thankful that my heart can be broken and hurt and sad alongside other women, and at the same time I can encourage them, and relate to them in a new way. I’m grateful that this journey has only brought me to a greater dependance on HIM. I know full well that we are NOT in control, he is. He is in control of it all and He alone is the author and giver of life.
sometimes though, I just want to get in my car after dinner and drive around town before going home, and stop at random parks, and cry. ugly cry. I know the truth. I know I am loved. I know my friends + family are for me, and they are with me. but there are times in this journey that must be walked alone. and I’m walking it.
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