A Venti Iced Chai & A Spirit Renewed

My morning started off like this:


You know the type of morning…

It’s the one that wakes you up on the wrong side of the bed and sends you plummeting face-first to the floor. The one that sees how tired you’re feeling and chuckles at your silent plea for just 30 more minutes of sleep. The one that makes you wish you had just a minute to yourself so you could put your armor back on and be the person you had every intention of being this morning before that shrill screech pierced the air.

Not even Winston could calm Little Miss this morning.

I rushed through my devotion while Emma screamed, unrelenting, in my ear. She pushed away all attempts to be fed or consoled. Adding insult to injury, my alarm clock began chiming 30 minutes into the chaos, its happy tune a mockery of my attempt to schedule our feeding times. I threw myself a full-scale pity party when I realized that not only was I going to forego a much-needed morning nap but I might actually run out of diapers if I tried to wait until Fred got home from work to venture out. Meanwhile, Emma continued to scream.

Unpreparedness and exhaustion can start to feel a lot like failure when you haven’t the reserves left to see the truth for what it is. The truth being:

  • Crying does not equate failure.
  • Sometimes you need to experience something (like the rate of diaper consumption) before you can plan for it.

The only thing I retained from my devotion this morning is that it contained one of my favorite verses: Isaiah 41:13 

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

I’d be lying if I told you that reading that verse in the midst of chaos turned my morning around. Heck, I’d be lying if I told you that I even took the time to reflect on whether or not I had any fears – although it’s clear looking back at my morning that I did! All I knew is that if I accomplished nothing else today, I could say that I read my devotion. Done. Mark something off my list.

Emma eventually settled and I began to feel capable of eating breakfast. And showering. And although I didn’t feel capable enough to go out for more diapers, I put Emma in the car seat because I knew I needed to. And you know what? A miraculous thing happened: I made it to Babies R Us to get diapers without a peep from the back. Emma started to cry when we parked but quickly settled. I found the diapers and purchased them without incident. Feeling encouraged, I headed to Target to get a few mommy items that I’ve had on my list for far too long. Emma slept peacefully as I carted her around the store, spending too much time soaking up the feelings of independence, of normalcy, of courage, hope, glee, joy, blessing, and peace.

I made it through the checkout line and grabbed a Venti Iced Chai from the Starbucks kiosk on my way out the door and my heart began to leap, filled with the type of joy that goes beyond a sleeping child or favorite drink on a sunshine-filled day. I was experiencing the kind of joy that drives right down into the soul of a person and erases all doubt of the morning – a God-granted joy. A God-granted peace.

“Do not fear,” God says. “I will help you.”

It’s just a basic recap of a tired new mom running errands but it is so much more. It’s a story about promise and truth. About little things that become big things. About a day turned on its head for the better.

It’s about this: Image becoming this: Image and knowing that God’s hand was involved in every moment.

6 Months and Counting

This coming Sunday, Freddy and I will be marking our 6th month of marriage by teaching small group at our church, catching our Sunday service after, and meeting up with friends at a Whitecaps baseball game. Freddy thinks celebrating “month-marker anniversaries” is foolish, so I’ve arranged the game as the perfect “unassuming” way to make the day a little special for us.

Truth is? 6 months is a big deal to me. It is not a big deal in the sense that I didn’t think we would make it this long or I can’t believe how quickly time has gone. A) We’ve made a life commitment that we intent to keep until death do us part and B) we are painfully aware of how much faster life becomes the older we get. That being said, 6 months is significant to me because… (don’t judge here)… I think it’s taken us this long to find our groove.

When Freddy first added his words to this blog, I felt a little slighted. Although he did take the time to explain that he didn’t really feel like he was floating belly up during the first 6 weeks of our marriage, he implied that married life was comparatively as jolting as the Meijer fish plunged into new and frigid waters. Ouch!

Yet despite my best efforts to be as honest as I can be about the ups and downs of newlywed life, my husband was the one to cut right to the punchline while I found myself dancing around it. The first six weeks were hard. And when the first six weeks turned into the first three months and then the first five months, I kept thinking to myself: “This is amazing, but when does it stop being so hard?”

Please keep this in mind: Living together is a challenge. It’s a brilliant, exciting challenge but it’s a challenge all the same.

I had a friend tell me that when she and her man moved in together, it took them 5 months to stop the petty arguments and find a peace with their new living situation. When 5 months came and went, I cried. I nearly sobbed. I broke down in a grandiose and childish way, citing everything that wasn’t going according to my perfect plan for my marriage to my bewildered and frustrated husband. He wasn’t thrilled about our current state either but you wouldn’t find him crying about it.

You see, we couldn’t have guessed that transitioning in work would put such a strain on this perfect image we were trying to create. We couldn’t have guessed that the very image we deemed perfect was actually flawed from the start because it required a plan, our plan, and the world’s willingness to play by our rules. (Okay, so we probably could have figured out that last one, but there was a lot going on to distract us and aren’t we entitled to that? Ha. So much to learn…)

In the many conversations that followed my dramatic fallout, we talked about things like: expectations for us as individuals and expectations for us as a couple, scheduling time for each other – the necessity of intimate time, the benefits of “sharing space” together while working on our individual tasks, and the need for alone time. We talked about career goals, work demands, and healthy hours to spend at our jobs. We admitted to one another that some days we needed to fake it until we made it (ex. when bringing the stresses of our days home with us and suddenly being asked to give each other our best, we needed to slap on that smile and deliver). We talked about the malleability of husband/wife roles with regard to different periods of life. We covered A LOT of ground.

Here is a cliff notes version of one those discussion that led to my biggest “light bulb” moments:

Work demands started taking up more and more of our schedules on both sides, making me desperate for Freddy’s attention every minute that I had him in front of me. I not only wanted him to be focused when I had my time with him but I wanted every free minute of his time. Yipes! Okay, I can see how that looks when I write it out now, but I promise you that when you are in the midst of feeling disconnected and alone, you think that it’s the only solution!

During one of our conversations, I offered up that I knew he needed more personal time and more friend time. In that same breath, I was also explaining that I felt I couldn’t afford giving it to him. I felt hurt if he asked to go golfing on our one free day and I thought that it was my job to fight for our time together.

Are you ready? Queue the light bulb:

My role as Freddy’s partner might involve putting my own needs on the back burner – essentially volunteering for last place when things get hectic.

I agreed to step back. And I asked for a lot of help and consideration from him when I got needy. Time passed and Freddy started to find more time outside of work. He started having more time with friends. And I started feeling less neglected. In fact, the more I let go – the closer I felt to my husband. And the more time we actually had with each other. Or maybe it was just more quality time of the time we had. Whatever. The point is, I had to change the way I was looking at it all. I cited “our relationship” as the reason for my neediness but what I was really saying was “Me! Me! Me!.”

When I started to view our time apart as a way to honor my husband, it became so much easier! And now we’re a week away from our 6 month-marker and we have this new level of peace, understanding, and tolerance. We also have a new level of intimacy. And instead of focusing my thoughts on “Does this get easier?,” I’m enjoying my time with Freddy. He’s fun. And funny. And incredibly sexy. And caring and attentive. I just needed to stop pulling him so close to me so I could see the bigger picture for our marriage.

Happy 6 months! 🙂

Different Types of Noise

When you live or work in constant noise, it becomes a dull hum to you. Every once in a while you might absent mindedly tune in to realize that your environment really is quite loud, but more often than not, you are immune to the sound. Even though you don’t hear it, however, it has an effect on your body.

Perhaps that’s why I’m always so tired…

Today was one of those “Hey, turn it down!” days. I was sitting at my desk, which is conveniently located on the manufacturing plant floor, when it struck me that I should probably be wearing ear plugs. It’s not that the plant is dangerously loud. As far as plants go, it’s actually quite quiet. But somehow I managed to tune in and it made me wonder if I had just located the source of my exhaustion. Am I on edge? Now that I hear it, do I also feel a correlation with some previously unexplained muscle tension? My neck started throbbing immediately.

I took those trains of thought and sent them on an express track toward Dreamland. (Luckily, Tuesdays are slower days for me as far as customer reports go so I can afford to take the trip from time to time). I started thinking about life at a quiet job – or better yet, a dream job! How different would I seem if you ran into me during the work week? No more bloodshot eyes! Always freshly showered. No wrinkles in my clothes. I’d be bubbling with energy!

I came home to a light Spring storm and opened my window and sliding door. The rain was soothing and the birds were joining in to celebrate the day. That’s when I realized that it’s not about the decibel level. My whole body relaxed and, oddly enough, my much-needed nap was allowed to pass me by as I stayed awake to actively relax. It’s beautiful – the sound of nature.

It’s been raining off and on the entire evening and the sun is only now beginning to set. There’s a difference between NOISE and (perhaps even music). As I soak in all of the tension-relieving sounds, I have to accept that I’ll be right back at the grind tomorrow (we actually have two machine specifically for grinding – how nice).

Sad to say, I am beginning to think that you let a piece of you die when you accept the call to adulthood…

Piece the Peace Together.


 : freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
 : harmony in personal relations

 The definitions above were copied from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. Read them again and note the order in which these were placed: Freedom from disquieting thoughts or emotions. Harmony in personal relations. I say the first leads to the second. Find peace in yourself, find peace with others.

I have been piecing the peace back into my life. It started off with spiritual peace, breaking down so that I could find peace in the knowledge that God has me in His hands when I can’t hold myself together. From that, I went on to learn inner peace. I let go of things that were out of my control and I let go of planning every step of my life. I took charge of what I could and found peace in the understanding that I can only choose my own attitude and actions,  not the results of my labor or the attitudes or actions of others. The inner peace I found compelled me to find peace elsewhere, to create peace and inspire peace.

Today, I made peace. A shared conversation exposed truths which provided me with answers to questions that have plagued me to my core. Making peace is perhaps one of the most growing forms in which to experience peace. Making peace means letting go of confusion, hurt, and pain and allowing acceptance (not necessarily understanding or hope) to fill those voids.

I have made peace and although it does not change my circumstance, it lightens the weight that I have felt bearing down on my shoulders. The important thing I need to remember about the growth that has led me here is that I was what I could be at any point in my life. I have grown and I have made peace with what has passed, but I could not have done it any other way during those times.

I am grateful for today’s openness, honesty, and appreciation. It’s a blessing to know that those who have been in my life long enough can know me both where I was and where I am, look at me, and proclaim that they are proud of who I have become.

Piece peace together and you will experience a domino effect. One thing leads to another.

To bring back a sentiment I used to use more regularly: I am blessed and I am grateful.