Moving On

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I’ve gone back and forth about when I would go public on how our life is going to change in the next couple of months. I thought maybe I would wait until the truck was loaded and we were on the road, but as my life is consumed by boxes, I suppose this is really happening.

To properly tell this story, let’s backtrack a bit.

As a child, living in Chicago for the rest of my life wasn’t something I ever seriously considered. My parents moved across the country a few different times and finally settled in this area when I was seven (Jordan’s journey isn’t that much different). The closest extended family was three hours away. Growing older, I experienced my brothers getting married, moving, having kids, and buying homes. Following in their footsteps seemed logical.

When Jordan and I tied the knot, we didn’t particularly have a “forever plan.” We had a graduate-college-plan, which than immediately led into a payoff-the-college-debt-plan. Jordan and I have spent our adult life either dating or married and therefore, we’ve had to figure out what-we-want-to-do-when-we-grow-up together. We’ve moved around (a lot), changed jobs, traveled, and started a business. But for some reason officially settling down in one area hasn’t been a priority.

The past two years have been filled with a lot of moments that seemed confusing at first, but in hindsight are starting to make sense.

In a few different waves, close friends have moved to Nashville, dropping hints along the way about us joining them. I never took their hints seriously. Jordan quietly was considering it, but he knows me well and didn’t pressure me. We were finally in jobs that allowed us to travel, spend time with friends, and be flexible enough for a growing family. I had hopes and dreams about raising children near grandparents (something I hadn’t experienced) and I wasn’t keen on jeopardizing that.

To say that last year was rough is quite the understatement. It’s still hard to be honest. I thought simply agreeing to grow our family was the big step, but that was the easy part. Our future children won’t be “oops! babies,” but they won’t come in a perfectly timed manner either.

Our life had morphed into being extremely mobile. It seemed that God was positioning us for something new. So when the pokes and prods continued from friends, I wasn’t looking at them as wishful thinking anymore. We came to realize that this could be just a small part of our amazing adventure together. I’m open to moving on, exciting adventures, fresh opportunities, and a new way of living. I wasn’t scared anymore to make future plans without exactly knowing how our future would look.

In the fall, Jordan and I are moving to Nashville. But first, we are making a pit-stop with my parents for the summer.

Although we’re sad to be leaving family and friends, we’re ready and excited for this next chapter of our life. One that is uncertain, except knowing the weather will be much warmer 😉

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^ Even after four moves, I’m still not the most organized packer.

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^ I’m really sad to leave behind these amazing built-in cabinets.

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A Battle Fought

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I worked on Mother’s Day and that was good for me. I wasn’t ready to spend the Sunday church service being reminded that another year had passed. I wish I could say it wouldn’t have bothered me, but I knew I needed to guard my emotions. Despite my own disappointment that day, I am really blessed and lucky that my mother and Jordan’s mother are both still here and influence our daily life. This isn’t everyone’s reality. Many face that day with unresolved sadness.

Last week, terrible news surfaced: a young co-worker and friend of Jordan’s died tragically. A family in an instant, torn apart by loss, was forever changed.

I was thinking how this happens everyday; gang violence, drunk drivers, or cancer. But we all too easily can become immune. 24hr news has dulled our senses.

I was thinking how we are all facing a battle. Some more life-altering than others, but they all feel monumental when we’re in the midst of it.

Working through this season of my life, everyday, sometimes every moment, becomes important. What am I supposed to be learning? How is this shaping my future? Am I loving my friends and family? Am I too caught up with myself? Am I compassionate to those around me?

The parents, mourning the loss of their daughter, are facing a harder battle than me. We can’t compare the two. But it is far too easy to isolate ourselves from others’ battles and lose perspective, magnifying our own struggles. Sometimes we need to be in the trenches with people, baring a little discomfort, and sharing a tiny sliver of the burden. In high school, in the span of maybe seven months, I went to five funerals. All of them were for young lives tragically cut short and to be honest, those feelings have never left me. Their lives haven’t left me.

Battles are being fought all around us.

I guess I am learning to savor each moment I have: this season of being a couple, being a daughter/sister, being an aunt to four healthy nieces and nephews, having food on the table and a roof over my head, going after our dreams, and even the growing pains.

We celebrated Mother’s Day quietly. I think that is the best way. My parents were away for my nephew’s baby dedication, so we spent the afternoon with Jordan’s family: playing games, eating yummy food, and at times I just sat back soaking in the day. Especially knowing so many families weren’t having a day like ours.

This life is fleeting. This life of mine is beautiful.

Following Advice

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Do you struggle with following your own advice? I know I do. It’s easy to say to someone, “Surrender to God”, and “Cast your worries on Him, cause He cares for you,” but actually living that out is a different story. Sometimes my prayers are pretty desperate, “How much longer?,” I ask. I suppose if I’m asking that, there is still more to learn.

People have told me that it’s brave to share our journey in this, very, public way, but I feel pretty far from brave most days. I feel like stress is showing up on my face (maybe it’s not the dairy?! 😉 ). And I would be embarrassed admitting how many times I’ll suddenly cry for no real reason other than I’m worn out from the emotional highs and lows.

The mind games are hard to fight. I continually catch myself, slipping into the rabbit trail I like to call, “Wallowing.” Which sadly, happens more than I’d like to admit. I suppose this is what life is about: the hard, gritty, raw parts; the parts that we’d like to bury, but really can’t face alone, so we reach out for support. Willingly, friends come alongside to support and occasionally give advice (and vice versa). As the words exit my mouth, sometimes I wonder if I believe what I’m saying.

Last week, Jordan suggested we play tennis (you know take advantage of the nice weather) and I resisted at first. After a few hours, I decided to take my own advice, enjoy the sunshine and release any frustration on the court. And you know what? It was really good advice.

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A Grateful Heart

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^ digital camera selfie circa 2010

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Last week was rough. My mood was about as pleasant as the rainy cold weather. When my Target run involved restocking my tampon supply (#truthtuesday) I was over it. Life that is. I started to annoy myself, which is the telltale sign something needs to change. I needed to remember to fight the battles of life with a grateful heart.

Life is filled with seasons of drought and plenty, which appear to interchange almost seamlessly. While reading through Galatians recently, I was struck by the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The footnote for joy was gladness, which means, “a feeling or state of well-being and contentment.” Yeah, that hadn’t been me at all the past few days!

At my old job one of our guiding principles was, “fake it until you make it.” There is so much truth to that simple and cliché sounding phrase. Once I began giving thanks (even while I was wallowing in my own self-pity and not feeling thankful or content), my mood lifted and I began noticing blessings all around.

Here is to a fresh, more positive, week.

/ / My marriage and friendship with Jordan. He deserves a gold star for the way he cares for me particularly through this season of life.

/ / My friends and family. The silent and vocal cheerleading means so much to me.

/ / After experiencing a 19 year old friend receive her double lung transplant last year, I have a whole new respect for my body. I may not be pregnant but I’m able to accomplish any physical task that is required of me and for that I’m grateful.

/ / A loving God that provides purpose and hope for my future. While it hasn’t looked like the future I had planned, it is a good future.

/ / The fact that dark chocolate doesn’t have dairy. You better believe dark chocolate is being consumed on the regular.

/ / Afternoon walks around our neighborhood.

/ / Summer plans. I don’t know how many more “carefree” summers we’ll have alone, so I’m planning on fully embracing this one.

What are you grateful for this week?

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Grateful Heart Monday

A New Day

I really can’t thank you all enough for the words of encouragement expressed to Jordan and I after sharing our baby journey. I’ve felt the community and the burden was lightened because of your honesty last weekend.

Heritage Bicycles

Entering 2013, I anticipated a little more nesting and a little less traveling. Early on in the year, we both agreed to make the most of our extra time together as a twosome. Our vacation to England and France was a blast but we also began exploring closer to home. We grew to love to our weekly excursion days, playing tennis often, and the enjoyment of trying new experiences. We were hoping for an easy transition into winter, but the cold and snow came in quick! And there are only so many seasons of Felicity to marathon before even the best of us acquire cabin fever.

Chicago was hit with a polar vortex last week, but right before the weather took a nosedive, we had one day in the 40s and Jordan and I took full advantage to get outside!

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To be Defined

Defined Infertility

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

I’ve written and deleted a version of this post several times since September. Selfishly, I kept hoping I wouldn’t need to publish this. I hoped it would remain as thoughts written down, but only for me to remember. 2013 was a big year for us: we traveled to Europe, Jordan successfully finished his first full year working for himself, we spent a lot of time visiting with family and friends, but I still apprehensively prepared for 2014.

I was ready to leave the pain that crept into 2013, but not quite ready to start all over again. I wasn’t ready to admit we had set out to expand our family, but it still hadn’t happened.

Continue reading “To be Defined”