monochrome sun

A Blog for My Bits.

Checking In.

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Time has flown since I went back to work in early January.  My days are spent arranging meetings, assisting our bankers and wealth management teams, learning to be a teller (in the event my teller is out of the office) and ordering collateral, swag and gifts for the brand, in lieu of a marketing person doing so.  I enjoy my job and the people I work with.  We’ve had two parties together, a birthday and a Broncos World Championship Parade.  The pace is about 4 times slower than my previous position, which allows me to perform exceptionally, but also provides a lot of unwanted down time.

Married life is good.  We love spending time together and we’re learning how to maintain the quality aspect and stay connected emotionally.  It does not happen automatically!

Our church commute is longer than I would like (it’s in the city – about 25 minutes from home, but somehow seems longer) – why is it that I feel comfortable commuting 1 hour to/from work, but 25 minutes seems too long for church?  The truth is I have stayed home from church for the past three weeks.  I plan to bring this up at small group tonight to get a discussion going and some encouragement.  I blame depression and other small things, but I know there will always be reasons to not go.  Obedience to stay in a body of believers does not require a feeling on my part, but I’m telling myself it does.

It could be winter, it could be my newly formed sleeping pill dependency, or it could be lingering grief from the move, but I have almost zero zest for any aspect of my life.

I am waiting.  I am talking to God.  I am trying to remember to regularly praise Him for who He is and what He has done in my life.  I am sleeping very well and waking up easily (in the early hours).  I am making time for new friends and enjoying their company.  But – yeah.

This is where I am.

You Lift My Head.

When I am in a winter I will praise Him.

When I am feeling nothing I will praise Him.

When I am aching, tired, dull I will praise Him.

When I feel so far from fullness I will praise Him.

When my soul is dry and poured out I will praise Him.

When I am being pulled too far I will praise Him.

When I am lonely I am not abandoned, when I am struck down I am not destroyed.

I am blessed beyond the curse, for His promise will endure, His joy is going to be my strength.

You are my glory. You lift my head.

On My Parents’ Grace.

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Right now I’m sitting at the downstairs computer in my parent’s home in Pennsylvania. Nona is snoring in her bedroom, just around the corner. My dad is long asleep, Aunt Melody and mom are bustling around upstairs, looking at old photos and just being sisters.

On Saturday, after arriving home and spending several hours with my family, I went upstairs and made the familiar route to my old bedroom. This was my room from age 15 to 19. The walls are “ripe currant,” a deep exotic red. There’s a large antlered tree branch, sprayed gold, suspended from the ceiling in one corner, above where my bed used to live. My old photos are in their old frames, exactly where I had them, on a dark wood bookshelf against the wall. There’s a mahogany leather setee with brass studs next to my closet and behind it a tall fake palm. My curtains are sheer champagne with fake teardrop crystals hanging scalloped on the valance. I have my knick knacks. Some of my books remain. Mom doesn’t know where my trunk full of books went and neither do I, but they’ve got to be in the basement because she never throws/gives away anything of mine.

I am flooded with memories.

My parents adore me. My mom is proud of who I am and considers me her friend. My dad beams with joy whenever I’m mentioned and is at rest when I’m home.

But much of the time I wish I had been easier for them.

Less troubled. Less escapist. Less boundary-breaking. Less boy crazy. Less needy. Less of a liar. Less of a rebellion from truth.

I get it now. More than ever before.

I am forgiven. God, my ultimate parent, has parented me through a heart redemption and continues to do so. I break a little more each time I am reminded of where I’ve come from.

I want to say Thank You, but I’m not sure how to do it yet. I’m embarrassed to open the past and point to things I’ve done and say “Thank You for being [this] for me then. Thank You for loving me unconditionally. Thank You for being patient. Thank You for vacuuming my room when I held way too many secrets in there. Thank You for calling me yours even when it was probably embarrassing. Thank You for bringing me home from school on countless occasions when I had panic attacks and you didn’t know what was going on. Thank You for every time you listened to my desires and bought me gifts and poured into me when all I did was take. Thank You for not shaming me when you knew I snuck away to be with a boy, or a blunt, or some darkness. Thank You for hearing my outbursts and, mostly, lovingly put me in my place. Thank You for taking on my offenses and showing up each day to call me your daughter and show me you were beyond proud of any truth shining through in my heart. Your grace helped bring me home.”

His grace, through you, brought me home.

Holiday Favorites

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If I don’t talk about my favorite things right now (as a thanksgiving gesture) I might lose my mind.

  1. Putting up a tree, any tree! This year that means a $2.99 thrift store find. It’s about 30 in. tall and cute as a button.
  2. Putting up decorations – dated, tacky or gorgeous! I choose gorgeous, but when I think about it, I wouldn’t want my parents to decorate with anything but dated ornaments, Santas, place mats and the like. (Actually my mom’s decided she hates Santa now, so that’s out the window). But those special items were my childhood Christmases – my first tastes of holiday joy. They’ll probably be back in in 10 years.
  3. Thinking about drinking hot chocolate, but realizing I’d rather have coffee. Why drink chocolate when you can eat chocolate and drink caffeine?
  4. Enjoying the snow outside. This is a new one for me. I haven’t enjoyed the snow since I started driving, as it became an escape hazard for getting out of the house. But now I am back to finding it magical, peaceful and life giving.
  5. Cozying up on the couch with a blanket & good book. This one makes me happy just thinking about it. I have a favorite blanket this year (Sferra Celine throw in Slate Blue) and a good book, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
  6. Exchanging gifts. I’ve got packages going to Florida and Pennsylvania and one under our tree for the honey.
  7. Christmas cards! Ours were sent at the end of November. We’re receiving them now and I’ve got a twine-and-clothes-pin display this year.
  8. Wine & hot toddies. At Chrismastime it’s more acceptable to bring out the beverages and call it “festive.”
  9. Baking. Not from scratch, I’m not that into it. But baking and not counting the holiday deserts.
  10. Living with lit candles. I haven’t been sad for an extended period of time for a while, but since moving to Colorado I have my weeks of sadness. This has provided a decent litmus test to see if scents truly elevate one’s mood. For me they do. They definitely do. It’s almost funny, because my circumstances don’t change, but if I light a candle while eating dinner, reading or watching tv with Joe I am much more relaxed and in the moment. Dare I say content…
  11. Community/town/city decorations. I just love ’em. Everybody tries especially hard to make life/houses/malls/stores/cafes/restaurants/etc. beautiful and it puts my mind at ease, because throughout the year I’m wondering how to give everything a facelift. The holidays give me a break – they just slap lights on problems and make beautiful places sing.
  12. The movies. At Christmas there is something extra special about going to the movies. If it’s a movie you really want to see, then of course you’re excited, but add to it that you might walk out to a snowy night time wonderland, crisp air hitting your face, a cozy couch and blankets waiting for you at home and CHRISTMAS around the corner. I don’t know, this makes sense to me.
  13. Christmas music. I sing it, I reminisce, I plan for the future, when we have bubbly babies scurrying around the house in Christmas jammies.
  14. Family/friends. We don’t have our families around, nor our dearest friends, but we’re thankful for the ones we’ve made so far and the relationships we have elsewhere. It is the BEST to be in each others’ company during the holidays and to experience how different families celebrate Jesus, love on each other and express joy and fun.
  15. Jesus. It’s in times of loneliness I’m reminded most that my Savior came for me… He came to save me, save me from the greatest loneliness I might ever know. You are more than enough for me.

What Matters?

Today I was in the midst of an identity crisis… again. A few recent events have catapulted me into job searching with a vengeance. It’s all I can think about. I applied for almost 30 jobs today. But am I looking for a job or an identity?

Denver is more competitive than I thought, mainly, well, because I didn’t think about it. I had an interview yesterday and it went really well. I know this because my interviewers told me so (I mean, it also felt great). But? I did not get the position. I knew going into it that I was not the most qualified, add to it that I’m switching industries. Now my thoughts are: “get a job” “get a purpose” and “get better at everything you do.” I am afraid of rejection, as anyone. But lately I fear the amount of rejection I will face. To “defend” myself from the fear I’ve been doing things like overly praising my cover letter writing, puffing up my belief in myself that I can achieve success without a degree, and the like. But I’m doing it on repeat and repeat and repeat to the extent that my heart is wandering. I am not looking for the job God might have for me, I’m looking at the circumstances and attempting to build myself up with myself.

Tonight I wrote a card to a girl named Safyre, who lives in Schenectady, New York. Her immediate family was burned alive when their house caught fire and Safyre, 8, is facially disfigured from the event. She asked for cards from all over the world for Christmas. I wrote her a card.

“Dear Safyre,

Merry Christmas! I am thinking of you tonight as I sit at my desk in my office. Have you had fun in the snow yet? Are you getting enough hot chocolate? I hope so. I wish you such a Merry Christmas, you beautiful girl. Enjoy every card you receive and know I (and so many others) are lifting you in prayer.

Love,

Sunny”

I heard the Spirit say “that’s the most important thing you’ve done all day.” And it humbles me. My past/future accomplishments, drivenness and job success are weak, at best, in comparison to all matters of the Kingdom. They can contribute to what God is doing and wants to do, but they are not what matters themselves.

God, position me where you want me, both vocationally and heart-wise.