In lieu of trying to belong to any number of societies: Chesterton, Sherlock Holmes, the Inklings, and so on: I propose and establish one of my own. Don your intelligence cap at the door; dust off your logic and imagination; did you bring your inspiration and encouragement? We are shapers, my friends; lit lamps; light-bringers. Bring quotes*; poetry should be uplifting and thoughtful, or witty and clever, (or both). Humor is encouraged; laughter is invited back. Pull up a chair. Anyone for tea?




Has this year flown by, or has it been four years since May? Both, I think. Several years in fast-forward perhaps? So much has happened, and I'm learning so much. Here are some of the things that I got to do this year.

I became a godmother! That's been an amazing experience. And although I can't share much about her here in order to protect her privacy, I'm glad to let you know that being a godmother is one of the things on my heart and in my days.
(you be the fairy, I'll be the godmother)
I got to watch Ben get baptized...
And graduate.

Big Sandy (the retreat I refer to here) was a life-changer in my year. Not only because of the incredible work God did in that weekend, but because it was there that I reconnected with good, good friends, and made about twenty new friends. Those friendships had a huge impact on the months ahead. I was encouraged in my life and wherever it would go, but I was also encouraged to move to the cities... that this would be a good step. And for the first time, I had something to move to. Not just away from my parents home, but toward something definite. A community to surround and support me in this new stage.

Over the summer, while this was all simmering away in the minds, Will and Ben and I were able to road-trip out to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, and camp in Custer State Park. Unforgettable memories, some of which I recorded in twitter-sized memos:
- Note to self: never visit South Dakota without Zyrtec
- God bless Custer state park showers and their uniformly warm, soft water at the touch of a button.
- Wildlife loop ftw: bison pronghorns, prairiedogs
- Bacon, burritos, and brownies. The three B's of breakfast.
- Camping at Custer with Caribou Coffee

I bought a car. 
For a while there in the summer, figuring out if and when I should move to the cities, Ben and I were thinking about renting a place together. And while we looked stuff up, and asked around, and prayed about what God had for us, we decided that in the city, we'd need a car. My grammy was moving at the same time, and decided to leave her car behind. So I took that as an opportunity falling in my lap (which I have found is often the way God works stuff out for me) and I seized the moment, and bought the car from her.
The name is Godfrey.
Ben and I immediately named the car of course. Eventually we realized that we wouldn't be renting together, so I'd be buying the car alone. But we 'broke it in' together and took it on our weekend through South Dakota. So it's already seen some adventures since it changed hands.
Now Godfrey smells like pine trees and coffee and sometimes pie, and carries me about with a good will. I love that car.

We went camping again, near Mille Lacs, with The Squad (as we call the Big Sandy group that became close-knit community). Great enjoyment, tons of fellowship and bacon. Stars, water, singing.

I can't believe I didn't know these people a year ago.

I signed a year lease.
Before I had left my parents home, I got word from new friends in the city: A bunch of us girls are renting a house: join us! After family discussion (my decision-making process involves a lot of family discussion), prayer, and much deliberation (but only in the space of a couple days), I said yes. I'm in. All the way.
I'd never lived away from home. I'd never lived with a bunch of girls. Roommates were a foreign concept. I would be paying rent on my own, and learning to drive in the city, making plenty of decisions, and meeting a bunch of people. And I was all in for the adventure. I was excited, and ready.
"If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad." 
-Jane Austen

Just making that step caused me to get over a great many of my fears. And as I moved forward, encouraged by my friends in confidence and personal expression, I found new enjoyment. My family was supporting me-finding-my-way. And so I did. Perhaps I haven't Found It, as in life-purpose, long-term goals, or Conclusion, but if finding-my-way means starting down a path... that's what I've been able to do these last few months.
Like Bilbo, I've trotted out the front door, down the path and though the gate, dangerous as that is to do. There's no knowing where one might end up!

So, I've learned to navigate without gps, I set up a bank account by myself, I take my car in for maintenance, pay rent, save money. It's been great. Lots of hard days too, and difficult choices, and times when I really, really, hate being an adult. But, you know what? Lots of really cool stuff too. And I've discovered that I really like being personally responsible most of the time. Especially since all that personal responsibility comes with some awesome freedom. Isn't that crazy? It's always been that way, and most of us even know it, somewhere in our minds. It just doesn't sink in until we experience it for ourselves.
Very American too. don't mind us, we're just going to take over running our own entire country, 'cause we want the freedom that comes with that
Or perhaps it's the other way round. No matter.

I immediately turned in my notice at work, sent in a few applications, and before you could say Jack Robinson, I had a job as a barista. I discovered that not only do I love coffee, and love it black (and now I'm forever spoiled and want really good coffee) but I love making espresso drinks: all that milk frothing, and not letting espresso sit, and getting the milk thick, and the foam glossy, and the aroma. Not to mention all the happy coffee people, and the people who need our happy, or our caffeine to make their brains work. It's an enjoyable kind of service, and plays into my love of feeding people, while being different enough that I don't mind it also being my job. And I've met some cool people.
having a blast exploring the possibilities of the city: see bands live!
I've expanded my community. Through church and friends and work. More support, edification, encouragement.
I've been able to expand so much, stretch so many personal limits...
I've learned a crazy amount in this year. And I can't quantify that here.
Just a few things for summary:
You are loved. I am loved.
More than we know. More than we can imagine.
You can't hope too big.
You. Are. Loved.
Love is about space. Grace for mistakes (including but not exclusive to: sin). Room to grow, to not understand, for sadness, for pain.
God's love will never forsake us, remember? His Love covers, and casts out fear; like arms that won't let you go. He knows, and loves you still, and in spite of everything, and never less.
Tomorrow I'm going to have to remind myself again, and ask God for strength to believe it.
Won't you do that with me? It will change your life.

We are first and foremost beloved sons and daughters of the Living God.
Imagine how differently we would face our days if we remembered that?

There are a great many things that I've been able to let go of as I let these truths sink in.
I still struggle with fear, and apathy. But I'm learning and growing...
Not sure where my heart is most days, or where I'm going: but my heart is getting bigger.
And there is the eye-sparkling joy of it all!

One day I'll see the face of Jesus. For now: the riotous dance of life.

I'm singing more! Always a good thing.

There are plenty of other things of course... I got bangs cut in my hair (and lets be honest, not only was that a big deal in my life, but one of the better things to ever happen to my face) and then of course I colored my hair for the first time (which totally freaked me out at first, but now it's a cool experience).
Mat Fraser won the 2016 Crossfit games.
Olivia de Havilland turned 100 years old.
And of course we lost several people this year, including Neville Marriner, and  Debbie Reynolds.
The turn of the world...

And now... for
My Year As A Fictional Music Album:
album artwork

Track list:

1. Only Love
2. But it hurts
3. Wherever you go
4. Open heart open arms
5. Crazy Spinning world
6. Never alone
7. Rhymes with coffee
8. Murmuration
9. Just Dance
10. Let's See the World
11. Caffeine and Constellations
12. Sing for your heart

1 comment:

Kat said...

Love, love. So thankful for all the beautiful growth in you. Go God. 💛