I'm talking to you, faithful friends. The ones who still "follow" me, the ones who still will read this and comment. The long wait is over.
I'm talking to myself, too. I can breathe again.
For the longest time, I have been in alternating modes of desperation and resignation. I had forgotten God's promises and nurturing. Since we moved here, I had been working a difficult job, with people I loved and often felt beholden to. A couple months ago, A and I got stranded (literally, the interstate closed for days!) in Wyoming, and during that week, we were able to take a step back from the frenetic pace of life and breathe. And think. And pray. And talk.
It was fantastic.
During that time away, we realized that though we were SO thankful for the job the Lord had provided, we were OK to let God lead us in a new direction if he opened a door. The nature of my job was such that I constantly felt under pressure to perform, to be "on," to give 100% during the day and then still have another 100% to give at home as a wife, a friend, a church member. I'm no mathematician, but those numbers just didn't add up. I just didn't have it in me, and though the Lord sustained me and gave me energy and mental energy to survive, we knew we weren't thriving in Denver under those circumstances. Although I tried to safeguard against burnout (great article here), I kept falling into days of bitterness, or despondency, asking (as the high little kid does) "Is this real life?"
I'm happy to report that I've been reminded that God is a God of compassion and goodness. He cares for us so much better than we can! Last Tuesday, I got a phone call about a potential job opportunity. By Thursday, I had my first interview. By Monday morning I had my second interview. By Monday afternoon, I had the job. By Tuesday night, I had worked my last day with the old company and was preparing to start with a company I had never heard of a week before! And today, only a week after my first interview, I've worked my first day at the job and really enjoyed it.
All of the little check boxes we had come up with when we first moved here, God answered with my first Denver job. When we realized how weary I was, we asked even more of the Lord, and seemingly, this job fits all of them and more.
Why do I not always ask big things of God? He is capable of delivering. Am I afraid He won't come through, or that his answer will be "no?" I have learned that even if the answer is "no," he is still good. He still sustains, he still nurtures and he still provides for all our needs. The circumstances, although not ideal, were not what made me so bleh - the state of my heart was. Without tough circumstances, who - on their own - would draw close to God? I need those thorns to remind me of His goodness. He uses tough circumstances to remind us how we need him, and he uses good circumstances to bless us with things we don't deserve.
As usual, I'm a little behind the curve. Most people did New Year's Resolutions long before they were a glimmer in my eye. In fact, most people did them YEARS ago.
I have never done New Year's Resolutions. Something about them has never appealed to me. This year though, with nothing "big" on the horizon, I feel like I ought to make some small, attainable goals. The last couple of years, I had some big milestones I was looking ahead to. I rang 2009 in in Amsterdam, doing a job I loved (but didn't appreciate fully!) knowing the upcoming year would bring with it lots of excitement (engagement, marriage!). When 2010 rolled around, I was looking forward to the first full year of marriage and figuring out what daily life together looked like. 2011 brought with it the knowledge that we were about to pack up our lives and move across the country to Colorado.
2012 thus far, holds no major milestone. Nothing life-altering is on the horizon, so this is the year, I think, to make small adjustments. Small habit changes make life changes, right?
Adjustment #1 - Work out one day a week in January. Up it to two days a week in February. (Adrian said if I keep going at this rate, but year's end I'll be up to 12 days a week. What an accomplishment.)
Adjustment #2 - Put my clothes away at bedtime. If I'm done wearing it, hang it up or throw it in the laundry.
Adjustment #3 - Spend more time in community. On Sunday, Bryan spoke about the early disciples truly getting community. We moved out here to be part of a community, but it's really hard to find the time. I'm starting to realize that in order to live life with others, it doesn't have to be hosting meals every night or calling a certain number of girls everyday. It's an adjustment, so I'm starting small by being more intentional with conversations, less structured with my "community" time and more open with relationships.
So, that's that. Start with small, manageable amounts and see what happens, right? I really just want to learn to be content and disciplined in this new year. I'm thankful for the upheavals in my life over the past several years, and I hope I can learn to be thankful and content without any upheavals this year!
What about you? Do you do resolutions, or goals, or adjustments? I'd love to know about them!
P.S. - Adjustment #4 is to get a cat ;)
As it's Christmas Eve and as it's been a couple months (??) since I last posted, I thought I would make this a short and sweet update.
Life is busy, snow is on the ground and Christmas time in the city is a whole different ballgame than the tender Tennessee Christmases I've been used to :) No matter - tonight we're heading south to celebrate Christmas Eve w/ Adrian's family and tomorrow we'll do our own celebration at home with his parents. Tomorrow night is a potluck w/ our church family and then the holiday is over - it goes SO fast! We've had a good couple of days off together, including seeing the Denver zoo lights last night and catching up with a friend from college.
Since time is short today, check out a guest post I did on Kristel's blog while she's in Miami! It's been a while, but finally - another long(winded) story about our mishaps as Vanderburgs!
And until next time....Merry Christmas! May it be a blessed celebration of the gospel and the numerous other blessings in our lives.
Well, my first-ever Thanksgiving turkey has been bought. It's currently staying frozen on the garage floor of my in-laws house as a mild winter storm keeps the room at a cozy 24 degrees.
It's a little intimidating to be thinking about cooking my first turkey for a Thanksgiving meal, I'll admit. All my life, I have been surrounded by fantastic cooks at the holidays. My mother, grandmother, aunt, mother-in-law....all are whizzes in the kitchen and can seriously produce a delicious meal. For the last 10 years or more, it has been tradition for the Tuercranians to gather together and feast at Thanksgiving. Those ladies lay out a spread that allows us to feast for days upon days. I. Love. It.
When college started drawing to a close, and then when I was on my own in Raleigh, I was able to still enjoy these family feasts, thanks to a willingness to drive 14 hours so I didn't have to cook. A month after Adrian and I got married, I had a mild panic attack at the thought of having to conjure up a Thanksgiving meal for my brand-new husband all on my own. The panic fueled us to drive 6 1/2 hours to ride with my parents 9 hours to St. Louis, just so we wouldn't miss family Thanksgiving and so I wouldn't have to learn to cook a turkey.
Last year, our second Thanksgiving together, we were blessed to be invited to join friends from church and their family, so again, I was spared the horror of hosting Thanksgiving. I contributed a pumpkin cheesecake and called it a day. We enjoyed the week of Thanksgiving feasting on soups for the two of us and watching a Harry Potter marathon.
This year.....I've got my game face on already. As we've settled into our new home and our new life in Denver, we've had the opportunity to meet a TON of people who are as far from home as we are. Recognizing that it's way more fun to be alone together, Adrian and I are throwing caution to the wind. I'm rising to the challenge. All these little Thanksgiving "orphans" will be extended an opportunity to come and experience first-hand a potential Thanksgiving meltdown at he VanderHouse, courtesy of yours truly. Denver friends, if you need a place to spend Thanksgiving, consider yourself invited to the fiesta!
I have no idea how to thaw a turkey, cook a turkey, clean a turkey, stuff a turkey...I'm turkey-illiterate. But, with a week and a half to learn the ins and outs of turkey-making, I'm confident something will get figured out. Right?So....umm....any tips?
Either way, everyone knows the best part of Thanksgiving isn't the turkey. It's the family, friends and thankfulness, but mostly the stuffing and mashed potatoes and pie. I'm confident my friends will pull through :)
So, on Tuesday morning, Adrian and Ben were walking me to work like they almost always do. Ben was being a neurotic idiot like he always is. If I haven't mentioned it, he has picked up several new bad habits since the move - namely jumping on the walls chasing lights and reflections, and barking and lunging at buses.
Living in the city, buses are a fact of daily life. On Tuesday morning, Ben saw one such bus and went crazy - to the point of tripping me as we all walked through a construction area. I thought I would catch myself but....I didn't. I hit the concrete. Hard. I hit the concrete hard right next to the bus that Ben had gone crazy after. Adrian said I was maybe a foot away from being hit by it as it turned the corner and as I rolled (unintentionally) the wrong direction toward it. I ended up with a swollen, bloody knee and scraped-up palms. Oh and tears. Lots of tears.
That was Tuesday morning. After work Tuesday, in addition to being sore, a migraine began. I ate Ramen noodles and drank a glass of wine and called it a night, hopeful that the much-predicted snow would hit and that the much-guaranteed migraine would not.
Wednesday I woke up to a snowy day and a splitting migraine. Back to bed I went for a few hours to sleep and ice it off.
Thursday, the migraine was gone and the knee was feeling better but I realized my ribs hurt pretty stinking bad from when I fell. They were tender to the touch and PAINFUL when I sneezed.
Friday night, as we were getting ready to go hang out with our refugee family, my back suddenly spasmed up and brought me to tears. A couple hours later, we were fed some traditional Nepali foods in honor of Deepawali - a big Hindu celebration they were having. Although tasty, it. was. freaking. spicy. I'm ashamed to say that though I consider myself semi-cultured and well-traveled, I most certainly was not prepared for the heat or the amount of food they offered, and well....I hid some in my napkin. That junk was screwing up my mouth, my stomach, my body's natural heating and cooling system....
Fast forward to a couple hours later and as I'm trying to, *ahem* get rid of the spicy food, my back spasmed up even more and left me hobbling from the bathroom into bed where I cried over the miserable state of my human flesh. My body is a temple that feels like it had a wrecking ball taken to it every day this week.
So, here I sit in Adrian's chair. I have the computer on my lap, a heating pad on my back, indigestion in my stomach, a throbbing knee and sore ribs. I'm feeling peachy.
Did I mention that on Wednesday, Ben jumped on Adrian's face while he was working out and scratched his eye? Needless to say, the dog has not been enjoying lots of praise and cuddles this week. Why should he, when we both suffered at the hands (paws?) of his neurosis?
So there you have it - THAT'S how my body feels this week.