In This Season

In This Season

The past several weeks and months have been just a bit too much. Too much good, too much bad, too much work, and too much to think about all at once. In all of that I’ve tried to be present where I am, doing what most seems to need my time and attention.

I’ve read books and listened to podcasts about how to balance “doing it all” and at the end of the day, I think these people want to tell you the answers, but don’t actually have it figured out. As soon as you seem to strike a balance, something in life changes so your schedule and coping mechanisms all need to readjust to fit everything in once more.

I subscribe more to the notion of seasons. There’s a season for hustle and a season for rest. A season for uncertainty and a season for stability. A season for laughter and a season for tears. The length and order of these seasons may change or go against your plans, but I just don’t believe you can do it all all the time. Unfortunately, in this past season or two, blogging just didn’t take priority. While I’ve missed writing here, I don’t regret that decision.

My writing has taken on other forms lately. My days are actually filled with it, be it at the North State Journal where I work as a writer and copy editor or with my various freelance clients who I continue to work with each week. My life has certainly not been void of writing in my absence from this blog.

I have continued to wrestle with what this blog should say and how to say it. There has been a significant amount of transition and change in our lives in the past year and as a result, I’ve wanted to keep most of these thoughts and feelings private from the likes of social media and an unknown audience. Yet, I want to continue to be here, to write in a way that inspires or relates.

So here’s my wave hello saying that I’m still here and will continue to come back. I’ll bring more of an update in time and continue to write so I can share it with you.

 

Plans and Expectations

Calendar photo by Brandon Redfern

Plans and goals–they sound like such good things. Dreams and deadlines mean something has to happen. It tells a story of progress and forward motion toward (hopefully) all of the right things. It is refusing to stand idle while life threatens to pass you by.

But is that all? Is it only the promise of good that can come from such hopes and aspirations?

What about the bitter disappointment that comes when things don’t go “as planned” in life? Or the fits we throw when someone doesn’t live up to our expectations? We lose trust and hold a grudge when things don’t look the way we envisioned, because that’s only fair. This was not what we had in mind, therefore it is practically our right to let the world know.

Honestly, you and I, we are allowed to be disappointed. I will never be the person that says you should only be happy or at least attempting happiness in every moment of life. Emotions come in a wide range and part of life is allowing ourselves to experience the many joys and frustrations that a range of emotions can bring. Go ahead and feel down when you’re sad, elated when you’re happy, conflicted when you’re confused or overwhelmed. This not only makes us human, it also allows us to cope with our situation and better empathize with others.

That said, sometimes I think we set ourselves up for disappointment when we don’t have to. 

We put these high expectations on ourselves to be something and achieve something. Then we go around putting these expectations on the people around us. We make plans as if that will lock in the things we want and then pay no regard to the fact that we only have the slightest bit of control over it. If it’s in the calendar, then it’s bound to happen, right?

Right now, I have no interest in making any plans more than a few weeks away. There’s so much that can happen in a month, three months, eight months, a year. The farther ahead we plan, the farther it feels from something I can count on. I would not be planning based on reality, but on pure speculation and therefore creating more expectations to uphold. Life has too many variables and the vast majority of them are well outside of our control. 

We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, much less a month from now. Tragedy could strike, opportunity could knock, the unexpected could happen. Health-related, weather-related, people-related, work-related, government-related–which of those things can you reasonably control? Sure, you can exercise, bring an umbrella, invest in the lives of others, work hard, vote, and whatever else to contribute to the overall impact (and you should), but don’t fool yourself into believing you’ve therefore earned it and can will things to happen the way you want.

Let’s instead put our hope in the right things. Let’s give grace when expectations aren’t met and think more realistically when it comes to our dreams and deadlines. Let’s be cautious to make plans and realize when we are forming absolutes in our minds. Let’s do our best, but know that most things are beyond our control and therefore let go of our reliance on our own expectations.

Let’s give the same grace and space for in our own lives as we do in the lives of others.

 

Five Years

Wedding Day | Moving Peaces

Five years.

Five sweet, short, long, hard, crazy, wonderful years, and here we are.

We’re different than when we first met. Our goals have the same roots but have grown and changed just as we have. Our quirks and personalities, while still uniquely ours, have shifted over time. We’ve experienced pain and loss, just as we’ve experienced joy and grace.

I can’t say that life together has been everything we planned or expected. There’s no way we could imagine how we’d grow and change over time. We’ve taken on some incredible adventures and challenges I never would have dreamed we’d face. It is impossible to sum up all of the emotions and fun we have had. I cannot pretend it’s all been easy, but I also know it’s been more than worth it.

Five years ago we were two kids in love. Today, we’re still two kids in love, but somehow in an entirely different way.

Happy Anniversary to my very favorite person. 

 

Thursday Three

Thursday Three

What a long and interesting week it has been. Hard to sum up, but I’d hate to leave you hanging, so let’s talk about this week’s three.

1. Sometimes you have to say yes and sometimes you have to say no. The more I need to say no, the more I realize I care too much about what people think. Saying yes often looks more adventurous, but saying no (when necessary) looks boring or lame.

2. Writing takes time. Lately, I’ve been really trying to branch out with my writing and have sent off pieces to a few new places. This week a slightly re-worked blog post on Freelancers Union and a guest post about Argentina showed up, while a few other pieces were submitted. I’ve loved the challenge and welcome the opportunity, but have noticed a decline in posts on my own blog. So bear with me as I continue to find the right balance.

Writing | Moving Peaces

3. Change is hard. Some people love change while others say they hate it. In reality, it’s all about context, but regardless of good or bad, change is hard. Transitioning from one thing to another is difficult. You say goodbye to the old and welcome something new. A new job, a new friend, a new routine, a new role, a new home, a new challenge–the new can be exciting and/or terrifying, but it takes a lot of getting used to. Sometimes during that process we either cling too tightly to the old or are too quick to dismiss all that was good about the old in hopes of better embracing the new. Lately, there’s been a lot of change…slow and subtle change, yet simultaneously way too fast and all at once. I’ve felt some resistance, some excitement, and a bit overwhelmed in it all. The best I can do is appreciate the life I’ve had and look forward to what is to come.

Moving Part Six: Settle in and Reflect

Moving Part Six: Settle in and Reflect

Packed Truck | Moving Peaces

To wrap up this series on moving (at least for now), I wanted to make sure to touch on a very important part of the process–giving it time. Time to settle in, time to reflect, time to consider everything that just happened…even years later.

Part 6: Settle in and Reflect

The act of moving does not happen overnight. Maybe you got from point A to point B within one day of travel, but such an involved process takes time. Allow yourself time to get used to everything. Don’t strain to unpack everything right away. You will need to get used to your surroundings, from getting acquainted with the grocery store to discovering your new routine. It will take time to feel comfortable with it all. All the while, you will be trying to make new friends and likely be pushed outside of your comfort zone.

Keep busy, but not only with tasks and chores. Find time to take a walk around your neighborhood. Try a new coffee shop and visit a local attraction. Give yourself time to get to know your new community, even though you might feel like a tourist looking in. This will help you to better acclimate and come to love your new surroundings.

Since moving, I have found our favorite bakery, favorite pizza place, favorite coffee shop and have a running list of places I have yet to go to.

After a certain amount of time (6 months to a year and then again two years later), consider your decision to move. Was it the right one? Are you glad you moved? Is this where you want to stay for awhile? Do you want to go back? Allow yourself the opportunity to reflect on all you have done and learned in this time.

For me, Raleigh is the place to be. It’s perfectly surrounded by so much culture and activity in the Triangle, all while managing to be a few hours away from the beach. While pollen season was a new experience, I don’t miss the cold or the snow (which is increasingly apparent at this time of the year). My neighborhood has proven to be the perfect place to live, and I have made some great friends.

What’s your moving story?

Guest Post: What It Took

Guest Post: What It Took

Samantha’s Note: Writing for 31 days is a great challenge, but one I quickly realized I couldn’t keep. I had more than one dream and area of focus that needed my attention this month. I found myself with too much to do and realized there was some rearranging to do. Thankfully, within the blogging community there were more than a few people ready and willing to help, and I’m so glad to have a few guests posts now throughout the month. Finding self isn’t about just me. We all have a story to tell and hearing from others can help us with our own. Today’s post is by Natalie, and she’s got a great perspective to share.

 

I think we will find ourselves over and over again throughout life. New parts of ourselves, hidden parts of ourselves, sometimes painful parts of ourselves.

Natalie - Finding Self | Moving Peaces

The most significant transformation I’ve seen in myself brought out a new, hidden, painful part of me. It happened like this.

A few weeks after graduating from college, I packed up to fly over an ocean to live in a small house with seven other adults and twenty small babies. Each day, I did my best to give those little babies all I could. Downtime was infrequent, and trips to town were rare. I got poop on my hands more than a few times.

But it was a sweet time God used to confirm my belief that four years of journalism were going to be used, for sure, but social work — orphan care, foster care, adoption — was where He really wanted me. I felt like I had hit my stride. I poured out every inch of me to love and serve that summer. And I’m so thankful for that stride-hitting and confirmation-feeling, because the next few months were hard.

I came home after eight weeks and promptly moved to a new city for grad school. I knew no one. Not even my roommate. All the friends and streets and favorite spots of familiar Iowa were far away. I no longer had the physical closeness of friends with whom I had gone to middle school, high school, and college. I no longer had my familiar routines I played out for four years in a little college town in the middle of Iowa.

I started a social work graduate program. And I have to tell you, God felt distant. I struggled to find my groove in all the areas — church, friendships, and school. But He wasn’t distant by His own doing. The only times He is distant on our journey to find ourselves is when we let Him be distant.

He was there. He pursued me. And through His closeness, I felt comfortable to pursue a deeper faith, good friends, and all these new passions. I found a great church community, I found my niche in the social work program, and I found my husband.

So, what did it take to find those parts of myself I discovered in 2010? It took the removal of all that was familiar and the realization of a God who was always there freeing me to be shaped into this me.

 

Natalie | Moving Peaces - Guest PostNatalie is a part-time social worker and waiting adoptive mama. She lives with her husband and dog in Indianapolis, and she blogs about adoption, foster care, faith, marriage, and home at little things + big stuff.

This post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October. To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.

It’s a New Life

It didn’t end when we got the keys to our new place. Or when we completed our first week of work. Or even, the first time we said “y’all” without a giggle. Everything about this move is still a process as we change, as we grow.

I can’t speak for moves that are more job-related, as ours was far from it. We just showed up here one day and became a part of this city. I don’t mean to bore you as I know you are well aware that we moved, but sometimes it still blows me away. We got here and reinvented our lives it seemed. I almost wish we had dyed our hair green or something because no one would have known the difference. Our routines are different, our friends are different, our identities—even slightly different.

When we lived in Iowa, people knew us by various things, be it music or personal history. When we moved, we dropped all of that. Parts of our life are no longer as big as they used to be, while others have become bigger. Some parts are yet to be determined. It’s interesting to see what stuck. What was innately “us” regardless of people, places and things. While other elements of us may have only been for a season, there are certain talents and tendencies that won’t go away.

So do it. Make a change. Travel. Leap. Move. Do something crazy. Challenge yourself. It may not all be fun or easy. You might end up more confused than when you started. But the core of who you are can take it. You’ll grow and change, and the things that remain the same may tell you more about yourself than the things that changed.