How quickly we forget

How quickly we forget

Where did I put my keys? When’s the library book due? Did I take my vitamins yet today? What’s the name of that person…the one I just met?

All day long, I’m reminded of my short memory. While I may be able to tell you exactly what happened the week before I graduated high school with vivid memory or spout out just when was the last time we all sat in the same room together, I also manage to forget everything.

I forget what life was like before toys were everywhere and a toddler was serving as my primary alarm clock. I forget the strength of the body of work I’ve created or what I’m capable of. I forget how brave I’ve been and the kind of incredible moments it’s caused. I forget who cares about me or what kind of impact I’ve had at some point. I forget the many goals I’ve achieved and bucket list items I’ve checked. I forget the places I’ve seen and people I’ve encountered. I forget what I’m working towards, what we’re aiming for at the end of the day, week, month, or year.

Because I’m not paying attention. 

I’m tired. I’m distracted. I’m bored. I’m lonely. I’m self-depricating. I’m jealous. I’m busy. I’m scared.

Here’s the thing, I think sometimes we’re living the lives of our dreams. We’ve forgotten that this, what we once wished for or only imagined, is what we’ve wanted all along. Instead of achievement or elation, we forget because we’ve already started dreaming and lusting after another life. We get to this point, wherever it may be and it isn’t everything we expected. So we move on and determine that this wasn’t the life we dreamed up, because it’s simply not enough (or too much). There’s still a struggle and grind toward that next hurdle to cross.

Now don’t misunderstand me when I say that sometimes we’re living our dreams because in reality, sometimes we are living our nightmares. This is not to make light of those very real and painful moments. There are seasons of grief or misery that strike, and those are most obviously not the lives we’ve dreamed of.  But those times may remind us of what we’ve forgotten, either in the moment or once we’ve gotten to the other side of the season. 

So what have I forgotten? That I spend time each day watching my son learn and grow. That I love the man I married. That we live in a space and city that suits our needs. That I am healthy and capable. That I’m working as a writer in a freelance capacity. That I have friends and a community to support me. That I have the opportunity to be creative, generous, and kind.

Junior high me is swooning right now. High school me is overjoyed. College me is amazed. Early twenties me is ecstatic. Mid-twenties me is thrilled. And late twenties me? Feeling forgetful but grateful.

Are there things in my life that aren’t ideal? Sure. Am I sometimes lonely or exhausted or bored or about to go crazy if I hear another battery-operated kid song? Yes, absolutely. But in so many ways, this moment I’ve landed on is fulfilling so many of my hopes and dreams. Therefore I want to live in celebration of what it is I have and what has been achieved. Instead of living in comparison or discontentment, I want to cherish and commemorate. Perhaps, this is as good as it’s going to get. You know what? I’ll take it, because in more ways than one, I’m living my dreams.

And that’s something I don’t want to forget.

Making it “Official”

Making it “Official”

In case you didn’t notice, we live in the times of the internet. We have a lot of information right at our fingertips and hardly even know what a day without instant access to all our social media sources is like.

News comes from posts and photos as people share the prominent or pretty parts of their lives with the rest of the “network”…because that’s just what we do. To avoid posting something requires almost a special request or reason to not include it online. Just like that, so much of our lives are shared and revealed to the masses.

I write and say random tidbits about my days, so I’m hardly any different. But I also try to think long and hard about what it is I’m saying and why. Do I share because I feel compelled to do so? Or because it would be useful to know? Or because I just had a really great hair day? So many thoughts and decisions on what’s best, especially in the past few months, have caused me to step back and withdraw from social media and even blogging for a bit. The problem is, eventually people think you’re hiding. And then you question what it is you’re hiding from and why? If you don’t share it online, are you embarrassed or overly secretive or just overthinking it?

This. This has been my constant cycle of thoughts recently as, quite frankly, we’ve found ourselves with some BIG news. News that can’t be summed up in one description or emoji. Unlike what our social media networks and text-based conversations would suggest, we can’t relate on the same level with people as we can face-to-face or in a one-on-one conversation. Simply giving something a heart or a star or a thumbs up doesn’t sit well with me anymore. I want to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Blasting a bit of news doesn’t allow me to do those things quite the way I’d like to.

But social media forces us share in abrupt snippets. Even if we don’t, eventually someone will leak the info online or a photo will surface, and we can’t “hide” from the news–be it good or bad. Let’s be honest, I don’t think most news is quite so simple as only good or bad. Sometimes there’s excitement and panic and confusion and pain and joy and whatever you had for lunch today mixed in all at once.

Our big news? We’re expecting. We’ve actually been expecting for several months now. Expecting to have a baby and become parents and find out just how much that completely changes our lives.

But you? I don’t know what’s going on with you or how you feel about that. Maybe you’re thrilled. Maybe that news hurts to hear. Maybe you wish it was you. Maybe you’re glad it’s not. Maybe you’re wondering why the heck it took so long for me to say something. Maybe you really don’t care. Whatever it is, I don’t get to experience what you’re experiencing on the other side of the screen here. Perhaps that’s for the best, but I feel I’d be remiss to ignore that my news causes something for you, too. To be honest, it causes more than one simple emotion for me as well.

We don’t know what we’re doing or where life will take us from here, but we’re expectant. Expecting that we’ll somehow figure it out together and also lean on trusted people around us. Expecting to be challenged in new ways and to learn a few things the hard way, no matter how much we try to best prepare. Expecting to walk alongside friends who are in the same stage of life as well as with those who aren’t. Expecting to make sacrifices and expecting to find new sources of joy and inspiration.

S+S on the steps-4952




I Know You

Painted Hills | Moving Peaces

I believe we all want to be known. We want our lives and our stories to matter. We want others to know us, to know the way we are.

I know you.

These are the words I gave my husband this morning, on this incredibly difficult day.

We want people to know our character and our motivation. Perhaps not every moment in life or all of the details, but we want to be known. We want others to know who we are at the core, regardless of the good or bad days to come. We want them to know what we are capable of and what we can be entrusted with. We want them to know our voice and the tone we set when we walk into a room.

At times, we want the victories and the defeats to be embraced, yet there are times when regardless of having an understanding of whatever situation is at hand, we simply need grace.

This is a hard day. A bad week. A trying season. 

I don’t plan to share the details or get into specifics. But I do want to know and be known. I am so grateful for the dear people in our life right now that know us, without needing to know everything. But even more so, I am glad to be known by the one who matters most.

You have searched me, Lordand you know me.”  – Psalm 139:1 



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.

White Flag

Oh hey…hey there! Yes, hi. See this? That’s the flag. The white flag of defeat and surrender. I’m out. Not really interested in doing this thing anymore. This thing where I don’t know what’s happening in my life and am emotionally a little bit drained.

So, can it be over?

My life’s not the worst. I’m not asking for a pity party. I actually feel bad even admitting to the struggle it has been the past few weeks. I hate the idea of sounding whiny or unhappy. I want to bask in the summer heat and sing songs while jumping for joy. I’ve got so much good in my life it makes me sick just thinking about being down about one part that’s not as great. I know it’s going to all be okay.

Ahem…can we just skip to that part?

I know I sound impatient here. But I also know my spirit is slowing breaking. That sounds all melodramatic right after I claim no need for a pity party. Forgive me. It seems like I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth because I don’t know how to describe how I feel. I love my life. I love my husband and my friends and my house and my family and my city. So how has this state of joblessness managed to squeak its way to the top of my thoughts? Or better yet, how can I get that sadness to go away? If this is where I have to be for right now in my life, then fine. But can we go back to the happy songs and rainbows? Because I think there’s enough good to warrant that. Really. Yet somehow on the inside I feel like I am crumbling.

Naively, I am hoping that by admitting this is hard, harder than I wish to let on, then I can move on and continue being happy for all the good going on. I figured I should start here instead of turning into a puddle of tears without warning. There, I said it, this is hard. I’m okay and life will go on, but in the meantime, I am having a hard time with it. I just am. 

An Effort to Explain

To put to words what my “health” does to my daily life is almost painful in itself. While in some ways I feel as though I talk about it almost nonstop as people question and want to hear the story, in other regards I feel as though I can hardly share with anyone at all what it really entails.

I’m not on death’s row, nor do I have a name for whatever it is that I endure. Not to be melodramatic, but endure feels as though it’s the only word suitable for it at the moment. I suppose you could liken it to a chronic illness, although in restaurants and at the dinner table we call it an allergy. If only it was that simple. Sometimes it’s not bad at all and other days it feels like more than I know how to handle.

To avoid being entirely vague for those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, for the past few years I have been through countless doctors, diets and decisions regarding my health. What was once thought to be a case of strep throat that wouldn’t quit turned into a numerous visits to the GI specialist who eventually told me my only option was to give up, because he had long ago. After senseless side effects from dozens of prescriptions, I pushed for more tests and ultimately sprung for a surgery I hoped against hope would end it all. With a few small but lasting scars to my stomach, I got to continue the chase. After an allergist jotted down some notes and sent me off without the slightest bit of advice, I found myself without a long list of foods in addition to my already absent gallbladder. From there I traveled across the state every six weeks to visit the only person who seemed to have a clue what was going on, through methods that sound laughable such as “laser acupuncture” and some crazy machine no one has ever heard of. 

It’s all a barrel of laughs as we recount it over almost every dinner table we share with friends and family. We talk about it as if it’s distant history, something that hardly matters anymore, despite the fact that my diet is more limited than anyone I’ve ever met. Oh, your cousin has had to go gluten-free? Sorry to be harsh, but that sounds like a cakewalk in comparison at this point. They make aisles of products that are specifically gluten-free and have entire menus dedicated to gluten-free options. Try going without garlic, onions and corn (and all of said by-products) for a week and see just how easy it is to eat with other people. Not to mention gluten, oats, barley and many other items to varying degrees.

I’ve likely said more than I should. I wish I knew how to best express how debilitating it can feel sometimes to figure out what to eat. There are days that it doesn’t bother me and it practically seems like a non-issue, really. There are even days that I get through the whole day without feeling sick or worrying about feeling sick later. But then there are days that anything I eat feels like a huge hurdle to overcome, and I’d much prefer to skip eating altogether, if only I could be issued some sort of gummy vitamin that provided me all of the nutritional value I needed for a meal. Mentally, it’s a struggle that I cannot even find the words for at times. Physically, it also continues to be a struggle. Because some days, I’m still sick. Despite all the many things I’ve done and changed, I continue to be sick and not only do I still get sick, but then I desperately try to figure out what I did, what I ate, to cause it. The lack of knowledge in itself is maddening. This is not something I want my life to be about, if only I could shake it.

So at the risk of losing all dignity, that was my shot at honesty about it all. I don’t know how to explain it even to my closest of friends, yet it’s something I must face daily. I am still learning to handle it with grace and patience, but often fail miserably. It’s the cause of many tears, terse words and sleepless nights. I wish I could say that I was better at coping with it. Perhaps in some ways I have become better about it but in other ways, the exhaustion of constantly dealing with it has worn me down. For fear of potentially bursting into tears or speaking with either bitterness or embarrassment, I do what I can to keep it lighthearted or avoid it when possible. Truthfully though, I just wish it would all go away. It doesn’t seem likely anytime soon, so please bear with me as I try to cope as best as possible.

The Really Real

Here’s a little bit of the real. The real, the truth, is changing…always. All of the things I’ve said to this point remain and are as true as could be when they were first said. At the same time, there are days that I don’t even know what to think.

This isn’t a vacation. The weather has already proved to be so much better, the scenery is a change of pace and we get to discover new things everyday. What a dream, right? Well yes, but dreams don’t last. 

It’s good and it’s different and we’re doing alright. But we still have hard decisions, we don’t really have friends and we don’t always know where our life is going. We miss our loved ones. We have ridiculous car troubles (yes, another instance occurred last week, too insane to talk about). We get sick. We lose sleep. We wonder what is to come.

Despite all of the good, I’ve been a mess of tears the past few days. It was sad and simple and even a bit of a relief. I didn’t and don’t regret moving or the decisions we’ve made. Through the tears I just kept saying, “I don’t want to be here today.” A lot of things went into that feeling, nothing major but nothing completely petty. I miss my mom. I miss feeling completely comfortable and confident at work. I miss seeing a familiar face at church. I miss the uniquely Iowa things you just can’t get anywhere else (we went to the fair this weekend and almost immediately decided our next Iowa visit would have to be in August so we could go to a real state fair).

This is all part of the deal. We knew that going into this move. Up until now, while we’ve been stressed, we’ve pushed through because we knew everything was ultimately alright. And it still is. But some of this hard part was oozing out and needed to be acknowledged with a few sniffles (or sobs). It’s still good. It’s still hard. It’s how we know we’re alive. And that in itself is something to be thankful for.