This time of year

This time of year, the days get shorter, there are fewer sunrises and sunsets that I see and I often walk into work when it’s still pitch black.

I was having a conversation with a co-worker last week. We both have lovely memories of fall–she having a birthday, me celebrating an anniversary. But life has dealt us each hands that are not so favorable in our favorite month of October.

Not only does this time of year spark so many fun memories–pumpkin patches, hayrides, fall festivals, costumes, pumpkin spice everything, apple crisp–it also holds some very bittersweet memories. Memories that aren’t always documented with a photo.

This time of year, I recall the Saturday morning we spent waiting on breakfast at Josie’s and saw one of the sweetest transactions that renewed my faith in the human spirit.

This time of year, I recall the joy in sharing we were expecting a baby in October 2015.

This time of year, I recall the phone calls to and from the nursing home where my Mom lived her last days on this earth before being admitted to the hospital.

This time of year, I think of my best friend who works for The Breeder’s Cup.  I recall her bringing a gorgeous white poinsettia to the hospital after the races that was decorated for fall to cheer my Mom up.

This time of year, the tears come at unexpected moments. Right before bedtime on a Saturday night. Watching a particular movie. Making the apple crisp.

This time of year is not easy. Most of these moments aren’t things we really want to remember, however, they are forever marked in our minds. In our hearts.

But I’m reminded that my Mom is whole. She is no longer suffering. You can’t really capture that.

If you’ve been around me at all, you know that I’m passionate about authenticity, self-care and not just publishing the highlight reel, but the everyday, mundane reel. That’s why I’m going to be honoring a mundane Thursday with #OneDayHH tomorrow.  Laura Tremaine started this a few years ago.  I love seeing the timestamped documented day from dawn to dusk. To be honest–I don’t know if all the usual suspects I follow will be participating. But what I know is that 2 years ago, I participated for the first time.  2 years ago, I looked at the mundane of a Tuesday as I navigated the busiest time of my professional year alongside my mom being in the hospital and what I didn’t know was entering the last 11 days of her life on this side of eternity.

I took a photo that is beautiful yet still haunts me. I didn’t realize it would be one of the last photos I took of my Mom. But I’m forever grateful that I took it. And even shared it. And just like two years ago, I don’t know exactly what tomorrow will hold. I know what’s on my calendar. I know I’ve got some friends with exciting things happening. I know I’ll go to work. Lots of mundane. Will you slow down…take some pics of the boring stuff…and realize that every moment of life is sacred if we take the time to see it as such?

Join me won’t you?

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Be Genuine

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw a lot of pics from me this weekend about my church’s 25th anniversary celebration. I have been attending this church since I moved to Kentucky in August of 2005. How I ended up there is quite comical.

The school I work at had a “go to church with a faculty or staff member” day  the second Sunday of the semester for new students. Being new myself, I decided this would be a great way for me to check out a church community. The friends who also worked at GC and told me about the job I’d just landed went to this church in neighboring Lexington and I thought I’d check it out, knowing how similar our views on church were.

Well, at the last minute, they had family come into town and so I show up that morning, with 3 other students waiting on them to come take us to Crossroads. I sprinted back to my office, got on the website and printed off a map, hoping and praying that my innate sense of direction would get me there.

Mind you, at this point, I’ve lived in Kentucky for all of one week and have yet to venture to Lexington.  At all.

So, I get off the exit, turn left as the directions instruct and begin driving into horse country. I’m instructed to go to the third light and make a left onto Todd’s Road.  All I’m seeing is farmland on one side and a (random) TV Station on the other.  We come to a T in the road.  Snap.

The best way to do it right is to do it wrong first.  ~The Nester

It is right about the time for service to start and we are lost. With no smartphone in my possession (8 years ago), we start brainstorming and decide that perhaps the directions meant to say take a RIGHT off the exit. So, I turn around and sure enough, the directions were incorrect. We arrived that morning just as worship was ending and the {female} teaching pastor was taking the stage to share her heart.

Perfection is NOT the point….we wouldn’t need grace if that were the case. ~Lara Williams, HelloMornings Meetup

I knew I had to come back. I loved what I heard, the vision for this church and this one little hiccup wasn’t going to stop me from giving Crossroads a second chance.

Thank goodness. These folks have become my family.

These people are imperfect. They are real. That’s what I love. We’ve made mistakes. It hasn’t always been easy. We are human. But God’s grace remains.

Help me be honest, but not scared ~Annie Downs

What I’ve learned and what was echoed on Sunday was that we are to be ourselves. The church (and those of us who are the church in real life) need to accept people as they are. Challenge them to be more like Jesus. And call it a day.  We don’t need to convert them into looking more like everyone else around.

Avoiding comparison isn’t as much about self-protection as it is about loving other people. ~Jessica Heights

We must be honest with our story. With our lives. The church must do the same.  Our generation is longing for something real. Something tangible. We aren’t evolving to appeal to a generation. We are evolving to become more like the Christ we see in scripture. Jesus spoke what was real to him. What he lived day to day.

There is power in speaking something you are living. ~ Annie Downs

Not only must the church be genuine, but we must as Christ-followers. One thing that Allume taught me was that I have to write what is real in my heart. It is real to me and hopefully those of you visiting this little home will feel that reality.

Be real and be you.  People do not want perfection, but stories.  Tips can be found in a magazine. ~Tsh Oxenreider

So who am I? Who is the genuine Faith?

She’s a broken girl, with hurts and hangups. One who wishes to be content, but has a restless spirit in this season.

Come in your brokenness to write.  If you live your life to be seen by man, you will receive your reward now…your Father will reward what is done in secret.  ~Ann Voskamp

She has dark corners she wants to keep in the dark, but knows that God came to spread His light.

We can’t possibly know the truth in darkness. And light comes with honesty. Even in tough times.

The only way to build trust is to be broken. ~Ann Voskamp

Sunday, I gathered with several thousand other broken people, to declare what Christ has done in our lives through our church.

His light will shine through our own dark corners.  His light will bring peace to captive hearts.  His light will bring freedom. Only through Him and his light do we have the freedom to be our genuine self.

Be well,

Quotes from the Allume 2012 Conference 

 

{This is post #1 in my reflections from Allume 2012.  Click here to visit the rest of the series.}