Day 112: Random Thoughts

My thoughts in no particular order:

I'm tired of waking up so early and wish I could or had the opportunity to sleep in.

I don't want to wash my sheets today but they need to be washed and I would sleep better if I would wash them.

I want to go on a vacation. I really need a break.

I might get a pedicure today.

I enjoyed my run this morning but wish I had the stamina and endurance I had 2 months ago.

I wish I hadn't let depression from the girls leaving stop my running.

I need to clean my house. What does a sabbath mean again?

I want someone to buy my house in GA today. TODAY.

I want to buy my own house here in Texas and see all the delightful things I have had stored in boxes for the last year!

I wonder if all my stuff in my storage facility is still in good condition, still safe, still there.

I wonder if I will spend another Christmas in a different place with someone else's things?

I wonder why any of this crap even matters.

All that to say, my mind is busy and full of things that don't mean anything. I have a lot of wants and needs and wishes. I need to practice release.

Day 111: Stupid Sore

I haven't run, as in really running, several days a week, for an extended period of time, in months. Prior to my running hiatus, I was running 3-4 times a week for about 2-3 miles each time.

And then I sort of just became an emotional wreck and only wanted to eat junk, facebook, quilt, cry, read. (That should be the name of a book . . . "QUilt, Cry, Read.")

I have gone out a few times and tried running, but my heart wasn't in it (nor were my lungs for that matter). So I've pretty much been walk/running, 20 minutes at a time, once a week (if that) for about the last two months.

But, I recently decided I would run the Austin Half with my son, Jacob, in FEBRUARY.

So yesterday started my official training. The Test: A one mile time trial. The coach said, "This is just supposed to be an easy run, not race pace." (which made me smile a little, b/c I didn't know there was a difference.) He continued by saying, "You should be able to breathe easily, talk to your friends, carry on a conversation." (Was he talking about running or pedicures?)

But I took his advice to heart and ran a mile in 12:54. (Yes I was running the whole time!) I didn't come in last. (Picture Jacob's fist pump here when I told him that news!) There were 4 people behind me and about 10 people in front of me.
My pace, prior to my running hiatus was about a 10:15 mile.

THEN, like an idiot, I drove home for 45 minutes (didn't stretch) and painted a bedroom (essentially twice b/c it needed two complete coats top to bottom). If you don't paint, it pretty much is a series of stair stepping, squats and bending. For 4 hours.

All that to say, I'm stupid sore today. Or maybe just the first part.

Day 110: He Prepares Us

We always knew this day might come again. And it has come. And the first day of it is over.

Several months ago, God dropped two sweet blessings into our lives. In those early days, I thought I might have lost my mind, or that I might lose it yet, but God graciously equipped us to remember how to be parents again, at least parents of babies.

We relearned bottles and poopie diapers and sleepless nights and midnight runs to the grocery store for diapers or children's Tylenol or pedialite. We relearned the necessity of time management and attending to the details while you have the chance. We relearned the necessity of going to bed early because there was never a steady prediction of when "morning" would start.

But oh the fun we had. Oh the joys we shared. Oh the weight we lost chasing twins toddlers!

And then they left us.

But for a good place. A good home. With good people who loved Jesus and wanted the best for them.

And now they have left that home.

Back home to live with their birth mom.

And if I'm honest. That's scary. Not because I don't love her, because I do. But because I know how hard it was for her before. A conversation she and I have had many, many times.

I watched them interact with her last night. And they seemed happy. They laughed, and they played, and they explored. And for all of them it was new and wonderful.

I remember new and wonderful. And how quickly it went to "OH MY GOSH!" So I'm praying for her today. I'm praying for her to be exactly the mother that God wants for her to be. I'm praying that her children will grow up to be everything God has planned for them. I'm praying for boundaries for all of us involved. How much do we help, how much do we let her struggle, how much do we let her figure it out on her own.

All that to say, there is a reason God has been having me read Psalm 104 and trusting His design and His control. Over and over again, I can see how He prepares us for what is to come.

Day 109: Psalms

Each day, I read from the book of Psalms in the Bible. I find the greatest comfort from the psalmists. Their joy, their anguish, their delight and distress. It is all a comfort.

My favorites are Psalm 37, Psalm 34 and Psalm 104.

I have been reading Psalm 104 a lot lately and I am overwhelmed by God's grace and mercy. He loves us enough to be in control of the universe. Maybe that sounds like a silly way to say that, but it's true. He loves us enough to be in control of the universe.

Imagine if we loved Him enough to LET Him be in control.

All that to say, "O Lord, how many are your works! In wisdom you have made them all." Psalm 104:24

Day 108: A Funny Thing Happened On the Way

We did it. Drove 15 hours, painted, cleaned, planted new plants, met with Vicky and Darryl Jorgensen, some great friends and great realtors to list our house, had the carpets cleaned (ugh, tenants) and then headed back home, praying, hoping, that our house would sell.

In my boredom I got on facebook (love my iphone) and had a message from a former Texan friend who now lives in Atlanta. AS I WAS READING her message, my phone rang. It was her.

She wanted to know if we had sold our GA house yet.

To make a VERY LONG STORY shorter, we ended up renting them our house! We are soooo excited about the way it all turned out.

Our house is still for sale, but until it sells, we have such great peace just knowing that some great folks live there.

All that to say, God works in mysterious ways. Yeah!

Day 107: Hopeful and Fruitful

Today begins what will be another very short work week. The kind of week where I will pack 40 hours into two days, just to be able to keep my head above water when I get back next week.

I'd love to say this is a vacation, but sadly it isn't. I don't remember vacation. At least not the kind where husband and wife go off together to do something fun, or quiet, or peaceful, or romantic. Nope. Haven't done that in years. Since I moved back to Texas, and maybe a little before.

This time off from work is prompted by the fact that my tenants (in my house in GA that we NEVER were able to sell) moved out this week, so we have to go check out the house. We're hoping for the best, but considering the fact that we received 3 HOA letters about the OUTSIDE of our house, we're a bit unsure about the INSIDE.

So, we're headed to GA with paint supplies and cleaning supplies and yard supplies. Such fun.

But, we'll have some good talk time in the car (hopefully) and we'll have some good alone time at the hotel (hopefully, wink). And who knows, maybe we'll sell our house! I hope so. We plan to list it at $275K, which pains me to type considering we paid $321K for it! But our hope is that someone will want a kick-butt 4000 square foot house, with 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms and a really nice finished basement. Then they'll see the price tag and say, "WOW, what a deal. We'll take it!"

All that to say, I wish I could say I was looking forward to the week, but I'm sure hopeful that it will be fruitful. (That's too many fuls in one sentence)

Day 106: A Time to Laugh and a Time to Cry

Some mornings I wake up with such a clear head, bright eyed, and ready for the day, almost alive with expectation if that makes sense.

Some mornings, like today, I wake up and feel like the world has suddenly become a weight that someone placed on my shoulders, then dared me to get out of bed without being crushed by the weight.

There is no real way to describe the emotions that course through my head. I'm happy, I'm sad, I'm excited, I'm hopeful, I'm expectant, I'm overwhelmed, I'm depressed, I'm burdened.

My only explanation is that I am still grieving the loss of two sweet babies that stole my heart.

Twice yesterday I cried in the middle of a sentence . . . a sentence I have spoken many times without tears.

I have been told, and I agree, that grief is a process.

All that to say, to everything there is a season. A time to laugh, and a time to cry. A time to mourn, and a time to rejoice. I think I just thought the "times" would be distinct and not so jumbled up together.

Day 105: God Looks Like Morgan Freeman

Yesterday, as a part of a meeting I was in, we were asked, "Imagine that you are 85, near the end of your life, what does your relationship with God look like?"

Here is what came to my mind.

"I'm sitting on the porch of a cabin overlooking a lake. God is sitting next to me (and strangely he looks a lot like Morgan Freeman). We sit in silence for a long period of time because we have grown comfortable in that silence, having spent many hours together like that over the years. We are so connected, our hearts are so enmeshed, that it is undiscernable as to where His heart stops and my heart begins.

At times, when we are not together on the porch, I feel such a deep longing for His presence, that the feeling is almost palpable. I cannot be absent from Him, I cannot wander off the porch without feeling the loss.

On the occasion that words pass between us, God speaks to me of His pleasure with me. He says, 'Carol, you lived your life well. You loved people and loved the things that I loved. You let my glory shine and were content not to try to be the one glorified. I am pleased with you Carol and the legacy you are leaving for your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.'"

Quite a vision. The follow up question was, "What needs to change in your life for THAT to become a reality?"

All that to say, I have a long way to go. Thank goodness I'm not even close to 85.

Day 104: My Filter is Skewed

A few years ago, some good friends of mine started a non-profit called I Am Change and launched their first initiative called Hydrate Hope. I was fortunate enough at the time to get to volunteer with them and that short bit of time altered my filter forever.

One of the things that I Am Change hopes to do is to change people's perspective of the global situation as it relates to clean water, education, HIV-AIDS, food, and so much more. And change my perspective is exactly what they did.

My thoughts go something like this, "Man that's an awesome house. But it's way more house than I need. I can't really justify that when I know that there are people in the world without clean drinking water." Or "I can't buy a car that expensive when I know that would provide two entire villages with clean drinking water."

And now my filter has been turned even more, causing me to see the children of this world who are broken and hurting and hungry and abused. And I can't live life easy when I know they need someone to help them.

And if I wasn't jacked up enough, I read The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. Don't read that one unless you are indeed ready to "go home, sell all your possessions, and follow Jesus."

I will say this though. Living was a whole lot easier when my filter was turned in a different direction, namely inward.

I'm not trying to say I have it together, or that I'm not selfish. I am. In a million different other ways. And still often with my money. And definitely with my time.

All that to say, my filter is skewed. It's been turned off its axis and it's knocked me off mine.

I think that was what Jesus was trying to tell the rich young ruler. "Quit looking at the world through your filter and start looking through mine. Quit thinking that because you have all the religious trappings in place, because you seemingly do all the right things for me, quit thinking THAT is what it means to follow me. You want to do something to follow me, turn your filter buddy. Look at me differently and you'll see I'm not all about going to church and reading my father's Word. Those things are important. But I want you to do something much more radical than that. How radical? How about starting with sell all your possessions and follow me?"

All THAT to say, wow. What if I do have to sell all my possessions? What if I've just had a little garage sale so far and there is even more I must shed in order to follow Him?

Day 103: Moving Forward

Mike and I laid in bed last night talking. He needed a pep talk. I could tell he was clearly depressed, or at the least melancholy, so I asked him what was up. I know he still misses the girls in a BIG way. Not a single day has gone by in the 13 days since they left our home that he doesn't cry. He doesn't sleep. At least not well. He's not worried about them. He just MISSES them.

So I assumed that's what he was upset about. But that wasn't it. He said, "Do you ever feel like our lives are never gonna come together?" I asked, "In what way?" He said, "You know, with all of stuff spread out all over the world."

For those of you not keeping up, we live in my sister-in-law's house with most of her stuff and some of our stuff mixed in. (Which we are incredibly grateful for, so hear that.) But none the less, it's not our home, and most of the things in it are not ours either. "OUR" stuff is in a big giant storage facility in Georgia, WHERE we also still happen to own a home that has been on the market for 3 years. 3 Years.

So yes, our "stuff" is spread out all over the place.

But I said to him, "What stuff do we not have that we need?"

He said, "Nothing. We have all we need."

I said, "And then some."

And He said, "You're right." And he slept. (I know this to be true because I heard him snore all night!) :)

And today, we are (hopefully) going to buy a new house. It's way less than we can afford and way more than we need. But our hearts are different and our filters are different. More on that later.

All that to say, we are indeed moving forward. And soon we'll have all our "stuff" too.