Friday, November 30, 2012


tonight, as we put up our christmas tree, m and i were watching "the family man" with nicholas cage.  i've seen it several times and i love the underlying message, but tonight these two lines hit me...

"we have the chance to have a life everyone would envy"
"they already envy us"

a life that others envy.  of course, the first line was said completely about material things - money, an amazing life in a beautiful house, cars, trips, private schools, etc...  the second, said from a wife to her husband after he had tried to sell her on such a life, a sobering reminder that what may be enviable to one person means nothing to another.

m and i bought a new tree tonight.  the first i've ever actually bought by myself.  i hauled it up three flights of stairs, opend the box and we put it together creating something that, to me, became not only beautiful but exatly what i wanted for her...for us.  we wound 350 little lights around it, unwrapping and placing ornaments that each hold some special meaning, and battled with the stupid star that won't stay upright.  but, that stretch of time was about as perfect as it could have been.  and, as she opened the blinds so others could see our tree, i realized that while there are times i get stuck in my head and ache for a life i wish i could have, wish i could give to her...we, in this moment, have a life that's worthy of envy.

see...i had the other type of life for a while...every bit of it and it was nice for a time.  but, ultimately it was empty and looking back i do not envy the new woman who is living that life.  i wouldn't go back for anything.  i am thankful for some of the moments, but if given the chance, i would choose today - choose this little life i've created for m and i - over that life anyday.  what i learned in that time was that i was (come to find out) quickly replaceable and never could we have ever truly fit there.  but, now, here in our little apartment, i feel like i am who and where i'm supposed to be and thus able to give m a much better life worth way more than anything we had there.

we all want what we can't have.  that's no surprise.  and, i think that's okay.  it pushes us to try harder, to do more, to hopefully not become bitter and jealous but more empathetic and appreciative when we do acquire something we've wanted for some time. 

i'm human...and, if asked what i want, what i's sharing a life with someone and doing so in our home, with our children, creating memories and growing together through whatever life hands us.  perhaps that doesn't sound like much to some, but to me it sounds just about perfect.  i've had the time to do whatever i want.  i've been single for quite some time now and i have no doubt many married people reading this would argue that i have it made and in some ways they are right.  but, i want more.  i have a hard time looking to the future by myself.  to me, making long-term plans includes someone else - please don't see that as a weakness of mine because i don't.  i believe we were created to share this life with others and find myself feeling unsettled thinking about anything much further in the future than a few weeks - ok, confession, living on my own has allowed me to be that way in that i do what i want when i want not feeling the need to expect others to plan around me but, rather to just be wherever i feel like being and with whomever i choose to spend my time.  selfish?  in some ways, yes.  but, i miss things like planning holidays in my home...i feel very much like i'm a college kid again in many ways and i don't like that part of being single at 35.

so, back to the whole "a life worth envying"...i have everything i need...more than i deserve...and try so very hard to be thankful for all of that.  tonight, if anyone looked in our window, they saw a mom and a little girl creating something symbolic of everything worth envying in our little life.  that tree, those moments together, represented so much more than what was happening in those few moments.  it represented our life in all its beauty and chaos and that is something to envy.        

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


i hate how life jades us, how it makes us afraid to give of ourselves completely because with each loss we leave a piece of our heart, our soul behind.  i hate that loving someone becomes so hard, so complicated because the purity of the concept has been robbed from us by those who have hurt us.  i hate that each time we try to step forward we run into a wall of fear and insecurity so high we can't imagine climbing over it so we turn around and go the other way.  i hate that if we aren't stuck dealing with our own fears and insecurities when it comes to relationships we instead must take on those of the one we potentially love...a worse fate because we have zero control over another and much less over those terrible demons they fight. 

i love that i am still able to see the good in others...that somehow after losing pieces of myself i've been able to recreate new, better ones to fill those holes.  i love that i can look into another's eyes and see into the depths of their soul and know instantly if they are what my soul has been looking for.  i love that when i hold someone's hand i can tell within seconds if the fit is good enough to last. 

there are those who are worth it.  worth taking a chance.  worth letting go of whatever scares you. worth setting aside your past and taking down your walls.

"you are a piece of the puzzle of someone else's life.  you may never know where you fit, but others will fill the holes in their lives with pieces of you."
- bonnie arbon  

likewise others are pieces of the puzzle that is your life.  each fitting together in ways that may take a little extra time to see, sometimes requiring a little different perspective, but with a little patience we figure out how to place them so each one fits.  smooth edges are placed next to jagged ones that become seamless with time.  i used to think it was me who needed to figure out whose puzzle i fit into, then a very good friend told me to stop thinking that way...that what i needed to do was look for the one person who was the final piece to my puzzle, the one who made my puzzle exactly what i wanted it to be.  perhaps the best advice i've been given...  

Monday, November 26, 2012

monday randomness...

i've been awake since 3am...why knows why?  honestly, other than the fact i was dozing on the couch at 8:45pm, i can't think of a reason.  but, when i can't sleep my mind winds incessantly; bouncing from one thought to another with little break in between and next to no reason or rationale (although, much of it is spent stressing over just how tired i will be).  so, here are a few of my monday early morning thoughts...

life's perfect moments...sometimes they startle us, never happening when we expect or want them to...rather, sweeping in silently catching us off guard so as to make us appreciate them all the more.  something so simple as a cup of coffee prepared for me by somene who doesn't even drink it but knows how much i love it....or, a child, sleeping on your chest giggling in their sleep...or, often for me, a glance - a simple look shared between two people that says way more than any sentence ("i didn't say anything."  "no, you didn't have to...")...

i miss letters.  few people write them anymore, but my gran always did.  hand-written, usually very simple with stories about our family or the basics of her day.  she hated her hand-writing, but i loved it...mostly because in it i saw how much she loved me in those words...she took the time to sit down and write something special just for me.  i should write more letters. 

i have a mental list of things i have to get done in the next couple days...stupid stuff i've put off for too long.  procrastination.  it's an art. if they awarded degrees in it i would have my ph.d!  you would think i'd learn by now not to do this to myself, but clearly i'm a bit slow.  people say it helps to make a list.  here's a little idea of what's on mine:

get car inspected/oil changed (damn it!  my stupid back light is still out!  eff...)
suffer through the dmv before the end of the month (don't even bother telling me that i shouldn't have put this off - i already know and am beating myself up enough about it)
switch the laundry
pay bills
order christmas cards
buy stamps
order new checks
sign m's notebook before we leave this morning
get gas
make my christmas shopping list (you know, in an effort to actually use it!)
pull out pictures for christal
buy a christmas tree/lights (don't even get me started on the emotional baggage i'm fighting for some reason this year regarding the holidays - i'm determined to fight through whatever personal lonliness/drama i'm feeling to create a great christmas for m)

on thanksgiving i had dinner with my extra family...people i love so much...and, they asked me to pray before we ate.  see, in my family, sarah is the one who is always asked to pray - not me.  i haven't prayed out loud, publicly in a while.  i used to do more of it a few years ago when i was more involved in church, but since i've basically been a bystander when it comes to my religious life of late, i haven't been doing much of that.  it felt good...and i asked them (ok, i gave them no choice what so ever) to each say something they were thankful for as we prayed...there is something special about hearing the words of others on a day like thanksgiving - to know what is in their heart and to take a couple moments to focus on those things rather than on the chaos of whatever else is going on.

i bought a book yesterday called "Now Is the Time" is what i just read:

now is the enjoy the day
make the most of every day.
use up the hours like a child.
there are no guarantees how many we get.
older people will tell you:
they rarely regret the things they did,
only the things they didn't do.
don't spend your life intending to do something.
start now!

"and in the end, it's not the years in your life that count it's the life in your years."
- abraham lincoln

i think my favorite line is "use up the hours like a child" - a child doesn't wait for life to find them.  they create life in each moment.  they live fully every second they're awake, expecting nothing but the best from everything; not knowing that something less than perfect could happen.  i think back to summers as a kid...when we stretched the day as long as we possibly could.  time didn't matter.  the only disappointment was not having enough time to do everything we wanted.  i want to see that kind of potential in each day.

and, now i'm really thankful for a great cup of coffee! 

Friday, November 16, 2012


"imagine meeting someone who understood even the dustiest corners of your mixed up soul"
- anonymous

imagine.  someone who understood every single thing about you...about your soul.  even the deepest secrets you keep buried somewhere so far down that even you don't have the answers or don't want the answers, or the explanations for them.  what if we each had that person, someone who saw us so completely, so fully...but, in seeing us like that, didn't judge us but rather took the time to understand us?  how would we feel?  complete?  safe?  less alone?  less afraid to truly be who we're meant to be?  whole?  i don't know.  i don't have the answer to that, but i can guess that i would feel all of those things and perhaps some others.  i believe we all seek to be understood, that the disappointments we encounter in our most intimate relationships stem from being misunderstood...that we want desperately for just one person to see all of us - all. of. us. - completely imperfect, exposed, broken.  yet, when seen by that one person who sees us as a whole; rather than seeing only our faults, our cracks, our ugliness, or even the pieces of ourselves we choose to let the world see...we are beautiful, complete...exactly who we are meant to be.

i love the lyrics to the song "broken and beautiful" by mark schultz...

we all fall short, we all have sinned
but when you let God's grace break in
it's beautiful
come as you are
surrender your heart
broken and beautiful  

is it possible to find someone who understands us so completely that we are able to surrender our heart, to trust them with our brokenness in the hopes that they will see us as beautiful?  i hope so.  

"sometimes people are beautiful.
not in looks.
not in what they say.
just in what they are."
- markus zusak

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


sunday at church three questions were asked...

who have been saints in your life?
who are saints (currently) in your life?
to whom will you be a saint?

saints - maybe not what you're thinking...not simply those recognized most often in the Catholic church or other denominations where you truly pray to a saint.  no.  saints are defined as anyone who is christian, holy and sanctified by God - His people.  paul wrote that all believers are saints and God's possession (acts 9:13) and His beloved (romans 1:7) and because they are called by Him they owe their status to no one but Him.  also, and perhaps the most important to us as we are right now...saints are outlined as those who touch us, who help us become who we are meant to be, inspiring us and showing Christ's love for us.

the first person who came to my mind was gran - not a surprise to me or anyone reading this, but a clear, simple answer none the less.  carter, too...although for somewhat different reasons...what i can say is that i learned much from his short time with us and there is no question in my mind that he was a gift from look in his big brown eyes and you knew you were looking into the face of God - patience, perseverance, the absolute will to endure whatever happened to his little body with the grace of someone much older - a true testament to all of us for sure.   

as for my current saints...that takes a bit more thought, perhaps because it's a lot more personal given that those people are still with me and may not even realize i see them that way.  they are people i have been blessed with for various reasons...all of which were placed in my life at very important moments and who have given me things they may not even realize.  

the last question hit me the hardest.  to whom will i be a saint?  there is no way to answer that.  unfortunately, instead, i think it's easier to know who we fail...

i've always needed to know i matter...that i'm special somehow.  judge me if necessary, but the truth is we all have a similar need i believe.  it is vital to me to know that i make a difference, that my time with someone means something, that even a few moments are worth...something.  i think it's because i am one hundred percent certain that life is made up entirely of tiny moments, fragments really, that when squished all together are the sum total of who we are, of what our life becomes.  i believe whole-heartedly in saying what you mean, never holding back out of fear or uncertainty when you need to tell someone something, and always...always saying "i love you" when you feel it.

a saint.  sanctified.  holy.  a believer.  someone who inspires, who loves, who helps us become who we are meant to be.  to whom will you be a saint?

Friday, November 9, 2012


"i have so much to tell you, mommy!"  - the words she all but busted out once we were finally alone in our car after a long day.  she had saved up every bit of goodness that had happened in her day just for me...stories of  scoring her first playground soccer goal and sharing the same birthday as a college football player who had come to read to her class...stories that meant the world to her.


"you have to promise not to tell!  double pinky promise not to tell!  okay?" - the first real secret she has shared with of huge importance to a little girl, and made even more special because her older friend had chosen to share it with her.


"just a little longer, mommy...this is my favorite place to be.." (mine too, precious girl.  mine too.) - we start each day the same way...wrapped up in my bed just before she has to get started out as five minutes, but has stretched to seven or eight some days...and no matter what i'm doing, or how big of a rush i'm in, i stop and just "be" with her for those few minutes.  they may be all we really get that day, but they are ours.

i'm having a hard time with the fact that i can barely hold her anymore.  of course she can sit on my lap, but to really pick her up and hold her it takes a lot of effort because she isn't all that much smaller than me these days.  when she was younger she almost always would wrap herself around me while i was singing in church...laying her little head on my shoulder and wrapping her tiny arms around my neck.  this past sunday we were in church and i had this absolute longing to do that again...and it made me a little sad.  i've known for a long time that there would be a "last time"; that there would come a point in the not so distant future when i truly couldn't hold her anymore...and that simple fact alone causes me to ache somewhere deep inside.

there is something about having only one child.  not that it was my intention to do so, but just the way it worked out.  she has to be everything - the firstborn, the baby, even the often misunderstood middle child.  she is the only one who knows our life, our stories, our traditions.  she has no one to blame anything on (although she tries to blame the dog from time to time), nor no one to learn how to share or argue with.  although we are blessed with many good friends who are often very much like family, our world is small in many ways.  i try very hard to surround her with a variety of people who give her the things i can't, or help enhance the things i want her to learn.  i'm well-aware that i'm only one person, that i alone can't do it all - as much as i want to most of the time.  i hate asking for help.  hate feeling like i can't do or be or give it all to her.  but, in the end...when it's all said and done, and it's just us at the end of a long day sharing stories...or curled up with charlie on my bed before the day has a chance to get in the way...i get to love her.  i. get. to. love. her.

Monday, November 5, 2012

in the end...

in the end we're all stories.  that's really all there is to it.  some more elaborate and detailed than others...some with more adventure or mystery...some a bit more sad than others...some full of twists and turns, ups and downs...and some...some seem barely read, the pages still nice and neat and binding fully intact.

what's my story?  i've been thinking about that a lot the past week or so.  if something happened to me right now, who would tell my story and what would they say?  did i make an impression on someone's life?  did i do anything worth remembering?  would people point out my flaws, talk about the things i've done wrong, the ways i've hurt others?  what would they tell m?  would she know my heart?  does anyone know me well enough to truly tell her everything about me? 

if we were to read our own story what would we think, what would we feel once we got to the end?  and, i don't mean in regards to the ending itself but rather about the the whole picture...the bits and pieces, the characters, the plot, the choices we made...what would we ultimately think?  i fear being disappointed.  i want to write the most amazing story ever.  to fill each page and then dog-ear the really good ones so i can go back and re-read them when i want to.  i want the binding to be broken from so much use, from so much love - because that's what we do with a really good book...we open it over and over again, pouring over its contents and finding something kin to an old friend.  i hope that if someone i loved were to read my story they would see themselves almost jumping off the pages because of the special role they played in my life.  that they would feel like i had taken the time to get to know them well enough that their character was just as they imagined it to be. 

the pursuit of life.  the writing of a story.  my story.  full of amazing people, many of which i've loved more than they may ever know.  i've seen a little of the world, and dream of seeing much more.  a mom, a sister, a daughter, a friend.  perhaps someday a wife again.  trusting i will be able to see the path being laid before me and smart enough to follow wherever He leads me.  praying constantly to see my place, to know where i fit, to be whatever it is i'm meant to be...and to never write a chapter i'm not proud of. 

this life.  it's mine.  there are few things i would change.  i regret little and love with everything i have.  i am vulnerable, but don't see it as a flaw.  i think it makes me human, more empathetic.  i hope the next chapters are beyond full...that i stop waiting for my life to find me and create the story.  my story.  so, in the end, it will read as i want it to.  not as someone else has written it.     

Sunday, November 4, 2012


"we do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch.  once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit."
 - e.e. cummings

for me, these words are absolute truth.  i have always needed, craved even, acceptance and encouragement.  my greatest demon is the fear of being, the belief i'm not, enough.  it is my fallback, my default, when something doesn't work out...especially when it comes to people.  i hate this part of me....hate that i automatically retreat inward when something goes wrong or when i'm told i can't do something, can't have something/someone.  i immediately look to what could possibly be wrong with me rather than accepting that some things just aren't meant to happen or figure out how to work harder to do better.  i'm not proud of this.  i feel it makes me weak...lowers my potential and ultimately puts me in a position to not become everything i'm supposed to.  i spend too much time focusing on what's wrong with me and feeling sorry for myself rather than stepping up and simply doing better or accepting that because something didn't work doesn't mean i'm somehow less valuable.  it's a flaw of mine and one i'm constantly working on. 

but, why is it that most of us need someone else to point out our strengths, our beauty, our worth?  why is it so hard to simply see those things within ourselves and not need others to validate them to make them real to us?  is it possible to see our own potential?  is it possible to look in the mirror and not see only the self-perceived flaws?  can we walk past a window and see our reflection and smile because we know everything we hold inside, seeing only the things that make us beautiful, that make us unique? 

maybe what we should do is stop looking so much at ourselves, take the focus off of that which is undesirable about us and take the time to point out all of the things that make those around us beautiful, unique, valuable. 

"intense love does not measure, it just gives."
- mother teresa

i'm not saying we shouldn't look inward, shouldn't try to be the best we can be, but maybe if we take the time to see the good in others we may not be so focused on the things we THINK make us less. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012


"How He Loves" - David Crowder Band

He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves

We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking
So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way

And oh, how He loves us
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us so
how he loves

i first heard this song a few years ago at jacob's spoke to me instantly, helping me realize just how deep His love for me is...opening my eyes to the absolute power of that love and ultimately helped me see that if He can love me so completely, how can i not give the same to others?

i love so many lines in this song...
"when all of a sudden, i am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, and i realize just how beautiful You are, and how great Your affections are for me."...
"drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes"...
"so heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss"...
"i don't have time to maintain these regrets"...
"how He loves..."

and then, i read this...

"i loved you at your darkest." - romans 5:8 (confession: i saw this on pinterest and after looking it up, i can't find it exactly like this - not even in The Message - but, it is a very simple, very comforting interpretation of the actual scripture so i'm gonna go with it)

"i loved you at your darkest." six very simple words. i have been loved at my darkest. when i felt nothing else, when there was nowhere to turn, when nothing made sense....i. was. loved. i have always said i believe God demonstrates His love for us by the people he surrounds us with...they are His arms, His words, His comfort. i felt that for the first time when we lost carter....people who never even got to meet him were right there. always. since then my eyes have been open to these experiences, to see Him "there" when i feel most my darkest moments. and i've learned how to be a better friend to others at the same time.

i often think i feel too much. i care too much. i love too much. i say this because, with these things, comes the ability to get hurt. i sometimes wish i had more of an "i don't care" attitude, that i could somehow just shut it all down and truly not care, not feel, but, then i hear that song, read those words...and i realize He never shuts down when i need Him, never gives up because it's too hard to love me, never holds back with what He gives me, never stops reminding me of how much He loves me. and, if i want to be more like Him, then i have to give in to who He created me to a friend once told me "you are the perfect you, the perfect faith".