Wednesday, November 27, 2013

One Year Later

Only I can tell my story. And the older I get, I realize more and more how my story is about who God is and what He does in each of us. And part of what He does is provide comfort. "Deep and enduring, powerful beyond all imagination." I've experienced that comfort this year.

One year later, this November feels so different.
I know what it's like when the things that always used to make you happy don't do the trick anymore, because they can't break through the sadness and fear that are covering over everything in your life. I was there, and I'm not there anymore...But you'll get through this, and you'll find yourself in an entirely new place... Shauna Niequist
November 27, 2012 I lost my apartment to a fire. I wouldn't say I was materialistic and lost a ton of high priced things (let's be honest- my two couches combined cost a total of $100) but I did love my stuff. And the things I lost meant a lot to me. In the last 365 days, life has been different. I'm different, I'm in a new city, everything I own is new, and my relationship with God is new. And in the newness of life, I'm learning that our story is all we have. How will I steward my story?

One year out, I'm still trying to process it all. I had hoped that three months would go by and I'd be back to my normal self. But I'm realizing that what I'm living right now is a new normal. And what I do with the new normal will determine my next season. In the good seasons and the bad, we have the opportunity to experience God in a new way. And He's that big. He's big enough, complex enough, to experience Him in a new way in every season. In your next season, may you experience Him in a new way. This year, I've experienced His ability to comfort.
My prayer for you is not that you live a life that's only sweet and never bitter, but that in even the bitterest of moments, you will find the comfort of Christ, deep and enduring, powerful beyond all imagination. -Shauna Niequist

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The one from Lisa

Guest blog post from my older sister, Lisa. 

Today is my baby sister's birthday; her 26th to be exact. Hard to believe that little blonde-haired, blue eyed heartbreaker is now a skilled ER night nurse with the heart of an adventurer. I could spend all day praising her many talents, show you a map of all the places she traveled, speak of her love for all things Portland, or tell you how many half-marathons she's completed. But, today, I'm here as a guest on Minda's blog to talk about how Caralyn was, and perhaps still is, everyone's favorite. 

Growing up as pastor's kids in rural East Texas, the church members become your extended family of sorts. We didn't grow up near any actual extended family, and so we welcomed the idea of so many new aunts, grandmas and cousins to act as our surrogate family. 

However, things didn't turn out for Minda and me quite as well as they did for Caralyn. When we moved to Cunningham, Texas, I was just on the cusp of entering that awkward phase; you know the one where your face hasn't quite caught up with your teeth yet. Minda, bless her heart, had a bowl cut. Enough said. So needless to say, we weren't quite as cute as Caralyn, the sweet and charming toddler with the chubby cheeks. 
One family in particular had a sweet spot for Caralyn. They'd take her shopping, buy her clothes, invite her for sleepovers, and dote on her cute sweet face. The one thing that I recall with the most vivid jealousy, is every Sunday, after church, they would invite Caralyn over for Sunday dinner, a hallowed tradition in our tiny community that to this day is only slightly less celebrated than Christmas morning. Caralyn would go over to their home for gourmet mac 'n cheese and cupcakes and other culinary delights while Minda and I would schlep home with mom and dad for tuna helper. Boooooo. (No offense mom and dad.)


The salt on the wound was the drop off. Caralyn would be chauffeured back to our home, come bounding out of the car, fists full of candy, in a new dress with the smell of cinnamon rolls on her breath, and blissfully settle in for her afternoon nap with visions of sugar plums dancing in her head no doubt. All while Minda and I pouted in our rooms with fish breath. Such injustice. 

Well Caralyn, it's a good thing you're still so cute and we're not bitter. 

(PS I'm forwarding you a counseling bill.)