Clinging onto Grace

The Setting

Have you ever been tubing behind a boat? It’s an activity I’ve enjoyed since I was a little kid. Sometimes when I’m hanging on tight and being whipped and thrown in every direction, I wonder why I enjoy it. But every time I end it is like a sense of accomplishment and the next opportunity I have, I come back for me.  Lately life has felt a bit like that. It’s a funny thing when life heads in a different direction than you planned and you grab onto the rope just trying to hang on. It almost feels like I’ve been half on a tube hanging on one handed for the last nine months of my life just trying to keep my head from going below and swallowing a bunch of water. Can anyone else relate?

If the me from nine months ago was looking in on my current life I wouldn’t even have any idea it was my life. The only things that are stable are my furniture, my dog, my cell phone number, and the fact that I remain an oncology nurse. So, I guess, when I reflect on the fact I feel exhausted and a bit wandering, it feels a bit more understandable.

Nine months ago I was dating someone, but knew it was probably about to end. I had absolutely no idea though how the break up would be drug out and get worse and worse as time went on. I had no idea that the duplex I had called home for 3 years would  no longer be my home come July 13th. I had no idea that I was headed from outpatient oncology to inpatient oncology. I had no idea that the women’s group I had been leading and leaning on for 3 years would be going on, but without me there. I had no idea that everything about my day to day life was about to change.

It’s all about grace…

So, as I’ve continued on in this season of learning about and leaning into grace, I’m learning more than ever what it means to give myself grace. As I navigate the somewhat familiar, but not home like streets of Indianapolis. As I learn a whole new job. As I hit speed bump after speed bump in life, or I guess, if we’re still going with the tubing concept, huge wave after huge wave, I’m learning I can’t have it all together. I’m learning that establishing a whole new home, a whole new job, a whole new church, a whole new friend group, and a whole new routine — it is absolutely exhausting.

And as I look around, I realize, we are all exhausted from this thing called life. I wonder how is it that we can help each other by easing the big waves, or providing assistance to help grab the other handle, or how is it we can help slowdown the boat to help each other? How is it that we can help each other to travel along life easier? And I think the answer comes in grace. Letting go of expectations where they should not be, giving people grace when they mess up, and realizing that we need to lean into the grace provided from up above.

Grace — I’m clinging onto you with every weary bone in my body. Trusting that this crazy tubing ride like life will at some point slow to a comforting float, but until that season, I’ll cling to grace.

Being You

Friday was the day of great revelries with costumes, candies, and corpses. The one day of the year when you are allowed to be what you are not. Or is it?

husband eating #baconcorndog #glutenfree #cheater #ilovefood #irony
Husband eating #baconcorndog #glutenfree #cheater #ilovefood #irony

In today’s society of electronic media and online social networking, we can be whomever we want to be at any time. Everyone has the tools to be a celebrity – perfect selfies, enlightening foodie shots, posting statuses perfectly crafted to make every moment as dramatic as possible. That is what people see. That is what we want people to see. But it isn’t everything. Continue reading “Being You”

Life giving places and spaces

People who know me can attest to the fact that I’m a festival nerd. Currently, I am sitting in a non-chain coffee shop in a western suburb, with a bag of farmers market cherries on the table, awaiting the art fair opening in one hour. Days like this make me feel ALIVE.

I’ve suspected for most of my adult life that I need little “retreats” like this one to feel healthy. Upon graduating college, I struggled with time management and couldn’t figure out what to do with myself once I left work at 5 p.m. I erred on the side of sitting at home, watching chick flicks, and ultimately feeling like I was stagnant. I started exploring my area and contacting local chambers to be kept up to date on events and places to try. How life-giving it was for me to go and experience culture in my community!

In various moves since my initial year in Indianapolis, I’ve kept up the tradition of finding spaces and events that recharge me. Admittedly, I am a learned extrovert, so the stimulation of the festivals coupled with retreating in a corner of a coffee-house, balances out my extrovert/introvert personalities perfectly.

This has not always been easy to make room for in my schedule. I had a stint of three years working two jobs that ate up my energy from 4 a.m. To 7 p.m. or from 11a.m. to 7a.m. Due to that circumstance, I literally didn’t have time to do my “life-giving” activities because sleep won out every time. I was tired and crabby, partially due to lack of sleep and partially due to the fact that I lacked a recharge.

I recognize that not everyone has the luxury to take a day or partial day to do what brings you life. I’ve been there, and I assume the struggle will be magnified once a husband and children and all the responsibilities they entail enter the picture. However, I am convinced that once you find something that is life-giving, don’t give up on working to carve out time for it. I’ve learned that I enjoy others around me much more when I’ve taken time to recharge,(and others seem to like me better too!).

Challenge: make a list of things you like to do and places you like to go. Circle those that you could make time for in your schedule within the month of August. Think realistically about what is actually attainable within the context of your current life situation. Next, put a dot next to ones that you know aren’t feasible within the next month, but that within the next three months you would like to make room for in your schedule. Keep that list somewhere to remind you that life-giving places and spaces are necessary. In a few months, you’ll look back and breathe a deep breath and realize the time management adjustments were well worth it!

We’d love to hear what/where brings you life!

Coffee house/farmer's market

Dear Diagnosed

To the diagnosed person,

I know that I am probably writing to the majority of the U.S.A., but I felt that this letter needed to be written just to you. Yes, you there; you with the recent diagnosis. What did the doctor say? Cancer? ADHD? AIDS? Depression? Diabetes? I know I could go on, but I would get writers cramp if I tried to name all the possible diagnoses in the world. Every day there are so many who receive diagnoses, and while many are mere viruses, many are fatal diagnoses. “You have six months to live,” or, “you will need to take this medication for the rest of your life.” Maybe, “your results came back and we are concerned.” Whatever the doctor had to say, here is what I have to say to you:

This diagnosis doesn’t define you.


Continue reading “Dear Diagnosed”

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