September 17, 2013

mid-month pleasantries

how it's already half-way through september is beyond me. while i am currently sick and haven't seen anything but my bed for the last several days, i was super thankful for a trip up to boston last week, mostly to put in long hours at work to get my project over a big hump. it did allow me to spend my evenings with a few friends as i guest-room/couch-surfed, and i got to breathe in some fall air. the next trip will hopefully entail more free time to visit with people and do fun things.

that being said, it was kinda overwhelming to be back and see everyone i would normally see on a regular i was just away for a long weekend and nothing had really changed (and like i'd lived the previous 6 weeks in an alternate universe). i left during a really hard time for most of my friends/community, and it still felt fresh.

today, i signed an offer letter for a position at a small company in downtown austin. it felt bittersweet, like the transition is at the point of becoming final, the daily tie to boston life will be cut short fairly soon. i'm hoping it won't be too hard to be both sad in missing my peeps and the memories i've made there as well as excited and looking forward to building something here.

being sick in a new place where no one really knows (to therefore care) has been a bit "doomy and gloomy" and as i crawled out of bed earlier today for another glass of OJ, i took a brief look around at the mess, the glasses and mugs, the scattered casings of the medicine i've been taking, the unpacked bags, and the remnants of the food i've been barely able to eat, and i thought, man, the unashamed state of a single person in the deep waters of a cold. no propriety in what i look like or am living in, and a deep cleaning on my to-do list before anyone is allowed over. unless they want to come over while i'm still sick, with a pick-me-up gift. in that case, unashamed.

August 29, 2013

how is august almost over?

today marked my 1-month anniversary of having arrived in austin. i have to say, i am a little surprised by how well the transition has gone, and how affirming the move has been. i miss friends and my old routine but this feels like where i'm supposed to be right now (maybe in a bigger sense than just geographically speaking, and yet for some reason, changing geography was a part of it).

most of my boxes are unpacked, i'm slowly starting to hang picture frames on the walls, i drove to both a friend's house and lowe's w/o using my gps this week, and i'm eating as little vegetables as before - pretty good stuff. no job yet, and not a step closer towards anything in that direction, as most of my thoughts and dreams have revolved around more personal growth and questions, but i'm still not freaking out (for today). i have chocolate and ddp on hand should panic flash-storm me.

after work today, i went outside to read for a bit and got a call from a new friend, who just happens to live across the street, asking if i wanted to join her as she walked her dog. i have come a long way when it comes to dogs, my friends. the dog and i have agreed that as long as she quits licking me so often, i will air pet her often. the owner/friend finds this hysterical. i call it problem-solving. after our walk through a quiet little neighborhood and a friendly interaction with walker, an 80-something year old man who lives in the area and happened to tell us he's just celebrated 65 years of marriage, i helped move some furniture around as my friend has just gotten a new couch delivered. i felt useful.

the next few weeks are going to be quite busy with work, as well as some visitors, some babysitting, and a few trips, so i'm very much looking forward to continuing to enjoy life with some plans and structure while also enjoying just being.

and possibly really truly i hope i mean it this time looking for work. ideally.

August 26, 2013

a weekend well spent

while i didn't know too many people in the austin area before moving, there was a small collective, and community wise, it was definitely the place to move to when making the decision that it was time to leave boston (though a beach bungalow in san diego has always sounded heavenly).

this weekend, i got to spent 24hrs with 2 little kiddos, in the familiar role of babysitter extraordinaire. i book-ended that with watching breaking bad (going strong, halfway through season 2!), google hanging out with siblings (i think we could get away with charging people for joining a zenchenko google hangout for the entertainment quotient alone), some napping, and some reading, as well as visiting a new church b/c i didn't get home from babysitting until sunday afternoon.

anywho, kiddos. ridiculously cute and well-behaved. i've known the dude since he was 3 mos old (so we celebrated our 4yr anniversary of my first time babysitting for him this summer), and even though the family moved down here about 2 years ago, it was great to have stayed in touch and visited them a few times in my travels down. i'm pretty good with hot wheels and making crashing noises, but i fear my imagination won't keep up much longer.

baby girl was born right before my first ever visit to tx, so until i'd moved, i've only seen her a few times, half of which she wouldn't remember. you wouldn't know it by the amount of hugs and kisses she obliged to all weekend. every time i was out of her line of sight, i'd get a "lizzie?" in a tiny toddler voice. i don't even know why she started calling me that or how she knew that that's a reasonable nickname, but it's the cutest thing. it's so awesome to already be a "lizzie" down here, when many a kiddos in boston loved to call me that. i'd respond with a "yes?" and turn to catch her eyes and then she'd just give me a grin and carry on with whatever she was doing, until the next "lizzie" was necessary.

we did lots of playing and reading and "just a few more bites" at mealtimes. at some point on saturday afternoon, we're all on the rug reading and dude tells me, "i gotta go poop", and i'm all, "ok, let me know if you need help", and he indicated (details withheld) that he was capable of an un-supervised trip. 10 seconds later, he calls out from down the hall, "you can come in here if you want, it's not very stinky". his logic was reasonable, and who wants to be left out of play time and attention when bodily functions call, but i tossed back a "no, i'm ok out here". i love the innocence that kids possess and assume the world operates under. it's a gift to be able to uphold that for them while walking them through their childhood into the less pleasant themes, big and small, that come with growing up.

at church last night, the topic was a heavy one, and as i reflected on the thoughts it prompted, i was thankful that even though i may not have a very good sense of what my current set of dreams+goals are and what i should be pursuing professionally, i have been able to accomplish, already, something that's always been dear to my heart. i can remember "make a positive impact in one child's life" originating somewhere in 8th grade (little did i know how many kids i would get so close to for years to come). having the privilege of being trusted with so many kids over the years, and receiving their concerned "uh oh, i think i just broke something" look or owwie-induced tears with affirmation of safety and love and care, and not the anger and disappointment that i was familiar with, has already allowed me to be a positive impact/contribution to at least one kid's life.

it may seem weird that i babysit "so much" (one time, a guy from one of my small groups said that's probably why i wasn't married, but that's for another story/topic), but in sitting back and appreciating that i get to do this, i've become more cognizant of the fact that as much as it allows my parent friends to go out and the kids to be tucked in fed and bathed by someone who cares about them, these little moments, and these precious kiddos, are also mending and healing my fractures from another time, and making me whole in my brokenness. and for that, i am so, so, so thankful.

August 22, 2013

my own cup of tea

last week, when talking with a friend as i was crying and walking around the parking lot of a coffee shop at which i was working (oh hey, boy sorrows!), i said, i've spent the last year or so finally growing comfortable with my existence and who i am, instead of wishing it all away, but it still hurts when i'm nobody's cup of tea. meaning, i'm thankful that i'm at a place where i am embracing myself as a person, my spirit, but in doing so, it reaffirms that i'm not a lot of things - light and breezy and instantly enjoyable and warm and all that other stuff, the stuff that seems to be the opposite of a lot of my most dominant characteristics. and so while i learn to enjoy who i am instead of dwelling on who i'm not, it's also bittersweet to realize that my flavor isn't everybody's cup of tea. not everybody's as in i need everyone i come across to like me (there's not enough room on the saucer for all that), but those who i particularly care about, who get to know me and still walk away.

and my friend said, listen, you are a beautiful, exquisite china tea cup, and some day, someone will see that, and then we started laughing and joking about putting together the latest "you're worth waiting for" fad across Christian bookstores nationwide, about each woman being a worthy tea cup and selling a book with a "decorate your own" tea cup. i even suggested a line of saucers for the fellas, so this could really go somewhere.

i've been dwelling on this analogy over the last few days, and recalled something i wrote earlier this spring, that similar to how a word has a definition and a meaning, i have gone through the process of getting a better sense of my definition, and now meaning is finally able to follow, because a definition is just one-dimensional, static. it's certainly nice framework, but there is so much more to something or someone than a string of others words - meaning sends the definition out to live. if life is like a spelling bee, i want to be used in a sentence!

i have hopes for this transition to an entirely new place, in an entirely new season of life. i have faith, though it occasionally wavers. last night, as i said goodbye to someone in the only way i knew how, i was incredibly sad. it didn't make sense how something that could've been, became a confusing nothing. but i prayed as a i cried and drove back home, and this morning, was touched by this passage that reaffirms my hope and faith in something that is bigger than my own cup of tea, and that gathers all kinds of cups of teas together for something more than individual flavors:

 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
(Isaiah 55: 8-11, ESV)