Imperfect Transitions

When I begin a journey, I have a clear picture in my mind of the destination. Sometimes this is a strength, and other times, it’s a weakness. Driving home from my parents house always approaches its end with a clear view of the foothills of the Appalachian mountains right before we exit the interstate and ends with another view of my beloved foothills as we turn into our neighborhood. I feel a sense of home when I see the mountains that watched over my journey into adulthood. When I plan out a project, I have a clear picture of the end product and often get frustrated when what I produce is less than Pinterest perfect, which is most of the time.

When I started writing this blog, I had delusions of grandeur of a book contract within six months of my first published post. The Lord has chiseled away at my imagined perfect endings over the past several years, regularly redirecting me to being present and grateful in the process instead of in the end product. More than two years ago, this blog provided an outlet to process my grief after losing my daughter Cora. Grief is a funny thing; it stays part of the very fiber of your being but eventually, it blends into who you are and doesn’t remain a healthy thing on which to focus. Over the last year and a half, I haven’t been able to share or process “out loud” for all to see. Processing things in private has been a gift to me. Grief informs my motherhood, but my son’s life isn’t about the short life of his older sister. The Lord certainly has a mighty purpose for His life, and I can’t wait to see how He moves in Littleman’s life.

My life has kept moving at an almost blistering and simultaneously slow pace since I stopped writing regularly. We walked through a healthy pregnancy closely monitored by the best medical team I could ask for, we welcomed a Littleman into our family and have started the lifelong process of parenting a baby that we get to know, and Husbandman finished his masters degree. (GLORY, HALLELUJAH, PRAISE THE LORD. Let’s not do that again.) All “big” things that take forever until all of a sudden, they’re done. I play ukulele now, sort of. More importantly, the Lord has been growing my desire to study His word and speak hope rooted in truth into other people’s lives.

I want to write again, through a new lens. As I told Husbandman the other day, the lens through which I want to write is still being incubated and sharpened. It’s too new and squishy to tell the world about yet, but I’ll share soon. While it incubates, I’m going to keep working on my PowerSheets for 2018. (More info on them here. They’re the bomb. You should do them.) If you’re in a goal-setting sort of mood too, listen to the Goal Digger Podcast interview with the creator of PowerSheets, Lara Casey.

I can’t wait to see where this process takes us, friends. I’m glad to be back. 

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Six Months

A lot of life can pass in the space of six months.

You can be the only teacher of your own class.

Your office can move to the other side of campus and you can gain epic window views. (Evidence below.)

You can pay off your debt except your house. Which is entirely because of the grace of God.

You can spend every minute missing a baby that you never knew outside of your stomach, too.

It’s been six months and one day since Cora died. We’ve been to grief counseling with a therapist four times. I’ve been to the doctor more times than I’ll count, and have had blood drawn more times than that. I’ve cried what feels like an infinite number of tears.

And life has kept going. The moment that I found out that she was gone, I felt like time stopped. The days following when labor was induced and she was delivered were so saturated with pain and grief that they felt like years. Coming home from the hospital with only two big people in the car and no tiny people felt like it took a year.

And time has kept the same pace. God has continued to provide, despite my struggles and complaints. When you grieve, it seems like time should slow down to let you sit with your pain. But it doesn’t.

Time marches on, and our lives have continued. Today, my grief feels heavier than some days for no particular reason.

If you find yourself in grief after a significant period,  you’re not alone. God is still good, even when you feel like a tattered teddy bear being pulled along by time.

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Perfect #sunrise at work. #Monday #goodmorning

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Psalm 34

1I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

4I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
6This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
7The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.

8Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
9Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
10The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

11Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
13Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
14Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

15The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
16The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

19Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
21Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22The LORD redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

August

This month has been the longest month of my life, and it’s not over yet. Twice last week I thought it was already September, and panicked because I was sure that we had forgotten to pay our mortgage (due on the first of the month). I’m just now at the point where I’m almost comfortable leaving the house to go to the store or a movie with Husband-Man, so I haven’t had the time markers of work, church, or lunch breaks.

Days have passed with me not bothering to figure out what number the calendar gives them, and for that fuzzy concept of time, I’m thankful. I have spent the majority of this month purposefully not looking towards tomorrow. When we got the news that Cora had died, time stood still. As we’ve gone through the process of mentally trying to grasp the fact that our little girl is gone, we have measured time in prayers, focusing on making it through only the next five or ten minutes. We have spent a month that began with us planning for her arrival and picking out nursery colors driving to the hospital and doctor’s offices, enduring countless tests, delivering her, hearing the silence when her body entered the world, meeting with the funeral director, coming home to a house that we bought with her in mind, but most of all, clinging to the promise that God is still good. God is good, even when I cannot understand what He is doing. God is good, because we had her for seven months, and the first face that she saw was His. God is good, because of who He is.

I am thankful for you helping remind us of His goodness, through your prayers, checking in on a us, feeding us, and keeping up with us in general. I’m learning every day how to trust God for enough strength to make it through today. As we continue to learn how to be in the “normal” world after we have been so changed by this experience, we appreciate your continued prayers, and your continued reading. I’m still writing, even if I can’t share everything that I’ve written. My hope is that through writing, I can encourage you to continue to seek God in whatever circumstances you find yourself. My hope is that through writing, my Cora’s short life can honor Him.

And the baby is…

stubborn baby

Yesterday, I had hoped to be able to share with you something gender-based about our baby (called “the Bean”). I have super cute plans for telling the whole world “what the baby is”. (FYI, the Bean is a baby. I’m not pregnant with a puppy.)

Notice that everything is yellow.

The above picture is not very recent. Because most ultrasound pictures make the Bean look like Skeletor. Let’s be real. Ultrasounds pictures are confusing. And because… the entire time we were having our anatomy scan, the Bean had its legs crossed and was sitting on its feet. And would not move its legs when I talked to it. Or poked my belly. Or pouted. (FYI, the baby is totally healthy, and so am I. We are very, very grateful.)

(This is the second time that we’ve tried to figure out the gender. The Bean hasn’t cooperated either time. They’re in no hurry to satisfy my curiosity.)

So, when I got back to work and had a chance to text our families, everyone asked “So, what is it?!”

Stubborn.

Just like me. I am not in control of this tiny person.

The Bean is already a person, with likes and dislikes and a personality.

  • The Bean already likes coffee, as evidenced by the wiggles I feel after I drink my allotted 8 ounces a day.
  • The Bean likes cold water, and when I bounce around in the pool.
  • The Bean likes bluegrass music, and kicks me when I turn it off because he or she just can’t get enough.
  • The Bean loves their Daddy (maybe his name will also be Daddy-Man in addition to Husband-Man), and the silly songs he sings.
  • The Bean hates it when I get upset, and let’s me know that I am making their house uncomfortable and that I need to calm down.

God already has big plans for the Bean; bigger and grander than mine. God knows the hairs on the Bean’s little head, and exactly who He has created them to be. And I’m blessed beyond measure to be growing this human. I’m blessed beyond measure to already be this little Bean’s Momma, and to get to see the Lord work through a tiny life. (Even if I don’t like if that life is a girl-life or a boy-life.)

Psalm 139

1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. 5 You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. 19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! 20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhorthose who rise up against you? 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Fall

Fall is lovely.

I do enjoy summer, I go through the summer doing my best to enjoy the weather and to take full advantage of being outside as often as I can. Summer comes with time in the pool and as much sun-delivered vitamin D as possible, and watermelon. So much watermelon.

But, in the summer, I feel foggy. My head feels sleepy in the heat, and my mind wants to wonder. I struggle to buckle down and study. Study the Bible, to read scholarly sources. My brain goes on vacation.

In the fall, when the air is crisp at night and the stars start to shift, my mind becomes sharp again. I wake up feeling sharp, and I want to learn. I want to do something new and mentally challenging. I finally feel awake again.

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What are you looking forward to this fall? (And am I the only one who feels like the fall cleans the cobwebs out of my brain?)

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What I’m Into (August 2014)

I can’t believe that August is almost over. I can’t believe that it actually started. This has been one happy, busy month.

But, to give you a snapshot of my month, I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer to share.

Reading

Once upon a time, I read like it was going out of style. I would tear through any book you could throw at me, and I would be able to finish it in a day or two. And then give you a very comprehensive analysis of it. Fast forward to now, and I’m eight months out of my master’s degree, and reading almost (almost) sounds appealing to me again. There have been a few books that I’ve made my way through in the past couple of months.

I loved The Help (Stockett). I know, I’m a few years late. But it’s so good. The characters are so nuanced, and I enjoyed getting to know them. I worked at a library when the movie came out. And I didn’t read it then. Shame upon shame. But, it’s great. If you’ve been living under a rock like me and haven’t read it, please do so.

I neglected Husband-Man to read Divergent (Roth). My dear friend (who’s moved out of the country) got me the series for my birthday this year (… in January…) and I enjoyed reading the first book. It’s not high literature, to be sure. But, it’s fast. And it’s an interesting story. As Anne mentioned over at Modern Mrs. Darcy in June, YA books can hold a wonderful place in the life of an adult. I hope to read the next book in the series next month. And to not neglect Husband-Man as much while reading.

TV/Movies

Husband-Man and I don’t have cable, so our TV/Movie forays are limited to what’s available online for free and what the public library carries. But, this month, I started watching the Fox Cosmos reboot with Neil Degrasse Tyson, and it’s so cool. Husband-Man is way more into documentaries (no focused on fuzzy animals) than I am, but this series moves fast enough that even I can get into it. I don’t agree with all of the scientific theories championed, but the production quality is fabulous.

Also, have you seen Animal Planet’s Meet the Sloths? It’s a slow show. (Punny. Very punny.) And it’s adorable.

I also watched Four Weddings and Funeral. And Pretty Woman. Does that count? Nothing cutting edge and cool. But definitely classic.

Music

I just found All About that Bass by Meghan Trainor. (Edited version shared.) It’s fun to dance to while getting ready for work.

On my blog

Really getting motivated to get fit

Honoring the memory of my old car

Being a noob at work

The cover letter I always wanted to turn in with job applications

General Monthly Obsessions 

Ricola. Have you ever tried to sleep when you just wanted to cough? And Musinex (although I have always hated their marketing campaign). Can you guess who had a major cold this month?

There’s this new shop in the town that I work in, and I’ve decided that that’s where I’m doing almost all of my Christmas shopping. It’s called Bargain Hunt. They buy returns or out of season items from other retailers, and sell the items at a discount. But, when they label most items, they put a date on the label. And the date determines percentage discount. Oh, it’s so much fun.

Also, let’s talk about coffee. I am getting too attached to it recently. And cute cups make it worse.

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See?

What have you been into this month?