Sunday, September 8, 2013

The one with the football season box

Along with Football comes one of my favorite seasons to decorate for.

Fall. 

I love having pumpkins, fall leaves, and other autumn paraphernalia in my home. The Cowboys will kickoff the 2013-14 season and as I look around my apartment this morning, I realize I have no decorations up. I don't have my gorgeous fall wreath hanging on my door. I don't have my "Give Thanks" plaque hanging in my kitchen. I don't have my ceramic pumpkin bowls and platters on my coffee table. I don't have my fall tablecloth. I don't have a mantle decorated with a stream of (fake) fall leaves....I could go on, and on. 
Talking with a friend last week who said "Wait...it hasn't been a year yet since the fire??"  

Not quite a year. Almost 10 months since the fire. And with each month, I feel as though there is something else that I remember I don't have. (We're not going to talk about my Christmas decoration boxes. Just no. Can't do it.)

This weekend, the boxes I'm missing are the ones that were in my storage closet. The ones I pulled out every September. The boxes I've been adding to for 10 years. Yes, 10 years.

In other news, do you know anyone else that has lost a home? Would really love to chat with someone who has experienced something similar. Mind making a connection for me?  KThanksbye.

#GoCowboys

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The one with the books I could have written

I've been reading highlighting a couple books lately. Seriously. Someone should have given these books to me completely highlighted. Because that's what I've been doing. Almost every chapter.

With each page I read, I think to myself "I could have written this. This is me."



A few examples of sentences that express exactly how I feel (and have a friend who is working on some art work for statements like this to hang in my kitchen!) 

  • Preparing food and feeding people brings nourishment not only to our bodies but to our spirits. Feeding people is a way of loving them, in the same way that feeding ourselves is a way of honoring our own createdness and fragility.

  • Feeding people I love is a hands-on way of loving them. When you nourish and sustain someone, you're saying that you want them to thrive, to be happy and healthy, and able to live well.
  • There's something about seeing your house filled with people you love, something about feeding people, especially on days when it seems like you can't make a dent in any of the larger, more theoretical challenges in life.
  • There are a lot of things I don't know....I do know how to make dinner, and to see the people I care about gobble it up makes me feel like something is right, even when it seems like nothing is.
Or how about this one:

When you can invest yourself deeply and unremittingly in the life that surrounds you instead of declaring yourself out of the game once and for all, because what's happened to you is too bad, too deep, too ugly for anyone to expect you to move on from, that's that good, rich place. That's the place where the things that looked, for all intents and purposes, like curses start to stand up and shimmer and dance, and you realize with a gasp that they may have been blessings all along. Or maybe not. Maybe they were curses, in fact, but the force of your belief and your hope and your desperate love for life as it is actually unfolding, has brought a blessing from a curse, like water form a stone, like life from a tomb, like the actual story of God over and over....There is something just past the heartbreak, just past the curse, just past the despair, and that thing is beautiful. You don't want it to be beautiful, at first. You want to stay in the pain and the blackness because it feels familiar, and because you're not done feeling victimized and smashed up. But one day you'll wake up surprised and humbled, staring at something you thought for sure was a curse and has revealed itself to be a blessing- a beautiful, delicate blessing.
I could keep going. Really. I could. Ok, fine, I'll post one more:

I don't know what you've lost this year: a life, a friend, a child, a dream, a job, a home. I don't know what's broken your heart this year.... But I believe deeply that God does his best work in our lives during times of great heartbreak and loss, and I believe that much of that rich work is done by the hands of people who love us, who dive into the wreckage with us and show us who God is, over and over and over. 

Take my advice. Read the books. 

The One Where I Cry Uncle

*Editor's note....(yes.that would be me, Minda. Seriously? Who else writes on this blog?)  

Anyways. I wrote this post three weeks ago. It was too fresh to post after writing. And too vulnerable. And honestly, I didn't want anyone to call me after reading and utter these three words: "How are you doing?" Because if someone asked that question- I would either have to lie to them and say "I'm good" or I would probably have broken down and fallen apart. And no one wants to fall apart on a phone call. Falling apart should only happen when you're sitting on the couch with a good friend, or sitting at your dining room table with a large bowl of pasta in front of you. Falling apart should only happen when your dear friend can reach out and put an arm around you. 

So. When you read this post, know it was three weeks ago, and if you ask me today "How are you?" I can respond truthfully with this:

I'm better. I'm not ok, but I'm better. And that, in and of itself, is ok.


Written August 15
Three weeks ago, I was on my way to work when I got a phone call. A phone call with news about a tragic car accident. A phone call that stunned me.

Last night was the first night since then that I have slept through the night.

It's been a very weird three weeks. The surge of emotions that come with losing someone so young, so dear. It's just weird.

I have felt understandably sad. 

I have felt uncharacteristically lonely. 

I have felt oddly comforted.

And I have felt completely overwhelmed.

I don't think it's just the death of Matthew and Hailey that has contributed to the feelings of being overwhelmed.

October 2011, I started a new season of life, with a lot of 'new.' Since then, I'd say there have been quite a lot of 'stressors' along the way. 

  • Moved away from Texas for the first time. 
  • Started a new job. 
  • New career field altogether.
  • Stress of moving as my belongings didn't show up for a month.
  • Finding a new church.
  • New friends.
  • Learning a new city.
  • Kidney stones. 
  • Apartment fire. 
  • Let me say that one again. FIRE. 
  • Moved AGAIN to another new city.
  • Again, new church.
  • New surroundings. 
  • Temporary office space.
  • New relationships.
  • And let's be honest....a LACK of relationships.
And then.
  • Death of a close friend. 
Let me also say. I know 100% without a shadow of a doubt that moving to Tallahassee was THE best decision. It was right. It was good. 

But that doesn't mean it wasn't hard. 

And I survived. I not only survived...but I thrived there. (I realize that sounds SO cheezy.)  But I did. 

But it was a LOT of change. 

And then the fire happened. And I held it together. And then I moved to a new city. And I held it together. And then I had to repurchase everything for my home. And I held it together. And then I started looking for a new church. And i held it together. You get the point? I've been holding things together. And with each new thing- more weight was added, but I held it together. Not on my own strength, by any means. There has been grace covering EVERY situation to take place. And my relationship with Jesus has been THE reason I've been able to keep it together. 

But when Hailey died three weeks ago, I have found myself crying 'uncle!' (In other random news, I have NO idea why that phrase exists, but whatever.) But yes. I cried uncle. It was as though her death was the Jenga piece that made everything else topple.  

I've had major 'life stressors' over the last 22 months. And over the last 22 months, I have changed. A lot. The Minda that left Dallas is a VERY different Minda that lives in DC. Not worse, not better. Just VERY different. So on top of all the change, I'm learning who I am. 

Some would say I've been brave, strong, courageous, resilient. 

Part of me worries that my coworkers see me as needy and emotionally unstable. No one would have ever described the Texas Minda as needy or unstable. But my coworkers have seen the last 22 months in which I've been dealing with major stressors. So they have gotten to see a different side of Minda. A side that is even new to me. I haven't even come to grips yet with the woman I am currently. And that involves a LOT of tears these days. Tears over really silly things. Tears over big things. Tears over my belongings that didn't make it through the fire. (After the fire, I didn't cry much. Evidently I was saving them up for now.) Tears for my friend Hailey. Just lots of tears. 

And I'm exhausted. Really. 

Am I happy? Yes. I love my job. I love my coworkers. I love my new city. I love the future I'm facing. I love that my Jesus has been dependable and not for ONE second has he forgotten me or left me to fend for myself. 

But lest you think my life is all glitter/glam/excitement, let me assure you. You see the highlights reel. 

I'm crying uncle. I need some good news to head my way. 

The one about Jaryn

The year was 2011. I needed a job and m y friend Grace was aware of this. I received a call from Grace and she said, “How do you fe...