Saturday, October 15

Waiter, A Table for One

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Image by Cesar Acebal via Flickr

As I pulled into the parking lot of the small cafe on the shores of Lake Superior, the parking lot full of cars gave me pause. The quick, one-night get away to the North Shore for the hubs and me had turned into a quick solo trip due to circumstances beyond our control. I had a speaking engagement at a nearby church in the morning, and I found myself facing an unexpected afternoon and night of forced solicitude.

I'd thought to sneak into our favorite cafe for a late lunch/early dinner at 3 p.m. and had hoped to find the place empty - primarily so I could hide in the corner for a quick meal - wondering if my favorite salad was back on the menu. Following the hostess further into the dining area, I suddenly realized my secret, solitary meal was still going to be solitary, but while sitting at the table in the very middle of the cafe at the intersection of every walkway - the one place where I would be on display for every couple, every group of women out for a girl's weekend to eye curiously.

I raised an ironic eyebrow heavenward. It seems that God's sense of humor was on full display.

Instead of leaving or hunching miserably in my chair, hiding in my phone, I ate the most delicious brussel sprout leaf salad with a confidence and peace that was partly faked and was partly fueled by the determination that eating alone was simply not going to bother me.

As the embarrassment at being solitary faded, it occurred to me how afraid we've become at being alone - alone with our thoughts, alone with God - that we'll do almost anything to avoid it, even to the point of choosing to be jolted with electricity rather than sit with our thoughts for 15 minutes (seriously, here's the article).

There is nothing to fear from time spent in quiet solicitude with God, whether its strolling along a rocky beach listening to the rhythm of crashing waves or curling into a hotel bed, realizing a bit wistfully that my early-rising son won't be shouting "MOM" across the hallway at 5:45 am to see if I'm up yet.

My current season in life is that of encourager, listener, finder, fixer, correcter, cooker, snuggler, driver, and laundress - and it is chaotic, loud, and requires a constant balancing act of being mom, wife, attorney, and follower of Christ. And it's all wonderful, good stuff - especially when I know that I only have these few short years in which to mold and launch these two funny, sweet, loud, crazy fledglings currently living in my house.

But, sometimes, I forget me. I focus on the woman defined by loud labels describing what I do for others so much so that the quieter labels describing who I am get swept under the proverbial basement couch, forgotten and gathering dust bunnies.

As I met and walked with God in that solitary space, I rediscovered me - the woman who quietly exists aside from the labels describing what I do for others. And I also rediscovered God - who He is, and what He says about me.

It is only in the stillness, in the solitude, in the time spent quietly in God's presence that we re-calibrate His magnificence and our role in his kingdom. And it is only in the stillness that we find ourselves, the one who exists separately from all the roles we play.

Heavenly Father, for those of us in a season filled with chaos and noise and being pulled in a million different directions, help us find afternoons and mornings and lunch hours and moments in which we can turn off all the distractions and simply sit in stillness before you. Remind us of the women we are separate from the labels. And for those of us who find ourselves in a season with too much solitude, whisper into our hearts our worth, our value, and place us in spaces where we can pour your love into the lives of others. Amen.  


Monday, October 3

When You Just Need to Take a Breath

“So what are you going to do next?”

The question was posed innocently enough by a friend last night after I’d explained about just finishing up helping with a major women’s conference and meeting the final deadline for our book (yay!) last week. 

I immediately fumbled through some things I could be starting this week, when what I really wanted to say was, “I just need to catch my breath.”

But I didn’t. Instead I rattled off another list of things that needed to be done.

Why do I do that to myself? I pondered later, as I was alone. Why do I let my value be in the things I accomplish? It’s been my vice for as long as I can remember. Finding my worth in what I do, not in who I am.

I am a to-do list kinda girl and I feel worthwhile when I can check things off of my list.

And although, there may be nothing wrong with that—at least not on the surface— there is a deeper need, a drive in me, that says to be valuable, to make a mark on this world, to be seen and noticed and even sometimes loved, you must do. Being is simply not enough.

Tuesday, September 6

The Friends I Didn't Pray For

We sat around a table planning our first gathering of moms for the new year. We’d discussed ideas for how to start and kept landing back on the subject of friendship. All the complicated, wonderful, hard and messy ways that friendship adds value to the different seasons of our lives.

And as I left I wondered how I’d happened into the friendships I have now, relationships well over fifteen years old that seemingly fell into place with little effort on my part. Until I remembered…

It was over sixteen years ago that I was living with my sister and her family on the same street I now currently live with my own husband and children. As an early 20-something, recent college graduate working two jobs, I moved in with my sister when her cancer had returned for a second time and she needed extra help with her kids and home. For me, it was a welcome reprieve from the busyness of life. Katrina had a way of making her home feel safe and warm, like a snug hug on a cold winters’ day, and I loved being able to spend time there.

One morning as we visited, she told me she was lonely. A surprising statement from her as she was always surrounded by people, involved in activities and leadership, spending time with countless people from our church and community. She told me it was true, she knew a lot of people, but then she stated, “I have a lot of acquaintances, but I don’t have any friends.”

Monday, August 29

Blue Plate Legacy {Guest Post}

Good morning, friends! Today we are so excited to once again have a guest post from Sue Moore Donaldson. Sue has taught us so much about hospitality and her love of welcoming others in is contagious! We know you will love her as much as we do. Here's more from Sue:

I have a Blue-Plate Legacy. Not a legacy my mother got from her mom, but one she passed down to me in spades.

Mom loved pretty dishes. Every Sunday we’d ask, “Mom, which china do you want to use – Grandma’s or yours?” She’d say, “How about grandma’s – pretty dishes are meant to be used!”

I got Mom’s pretty-dishes-DNA. She had two china cabinets. I have one and am holding (so far). She’d say to us girls: “Now tell me—what dishes do you want after I die.” Morbid? Maybe, but we liked to please and would wander through her cupboards and drawers and lay claim to a treasure or two—just to make her happy. (Read: just to make her stop asking!)

Mom gifted me early with a This-Will-Be-Yours-Someday present when she handed me the Blue Plate Special – a glass sandwich platter with etched designs.

Tuesday, August 23

A Family's Unexpected Redemption

We arrived in Tulsa on a Thursday evening just a few short weeks ago. We were there to see Jasmine’s birth Aunts Haddie and Mary, Mary’s husband Thomas, and their children, Trae and Harper. We greeted them in the hotel lobby, then decided to go out to a local restaurant for dinner. As we sat and visited, shared about life and familiarized ourselves even more with one another, time
seemed to stop. It wasn’t until a worker kindly came and told us that they needed to close the restaurant that we realized everyone else had left and it was late. We went back to the hotel and sat in the lobby to visit for a while longer until the kids got too tired. We made plans to swim the next morning and, as we got off the elevator to go to our room, I was excited for what the weekend might hold, not yet knowing the profound effect it would not only have on my daughter Jasmine, but on me as well.

Jasmine is adopted and her birth mother passed away this last winter. We went to the funeral and made connections with many in her family. Since that time, we’ve exchanged letters and pictures, messages and Skype calls. When her Aunt Haddie mentioned they’d be having a stateside wedding reception in Tulsa, I told her to let us know the details, we’d love to try to make it.

Monday, July 18

No, We Didn't Disappear Off the Face of the Planet

Happy Monday, friends!

You may have noticed that it's been a little quiet around TRE lately. That's because of some news we shared on our Facebook account recently:

It has been a little quiet around TRE lately and we can FINALLY tell you all why! After 4 years of writing, several hundred blog posts, two self-published books, and months of talking to a publisher, last week a dream came true when we signed a contract with Tyndale House Publishers to write a devotional for them!! We are so excited and thankful for this opportunity! We'll be sharing more details soon and letting you know of some fun things happening at TRE this summer! Thanks for supporting us friends, and if we could offer you any encouragement today, it would be don't quit chasing your dreams! ‪#‎girlswhotry‬

We've been working on this devotional for several months now, and we can honestly say that for as much as we love it,  we've been pouring all our creativity into it and haven't had much left for other blogs or outside writing. But we promise that when the summer's over and our book is wrapping up the roughdraft stage, we'll return!

In the meantime, you can keep in touch with us via our Facebook. Thanks for all your love and encouragement!

Kristin, Kendra & Julie