Monday, June 27, 2016

Getting Somewhere

I got the sunroom primed! 
That feels big. It was a sweaty Saturday a week ago. (No A/C in that room + hot day + physical activity.) It took me most the day while Blake hung out with the kids. (Not counting the nursing/nap breaks for Baby Bronson.)
As I expected, per my usual, I started getting used to the white and for a while was having a hard time letting go of it, and leaning into my initial instincts of an earthy cozy (but not sad, but also not too cheerful either -- something soothing) color in the green/greige arena.
So after being around it white long enough now, I’m starting to say “Yeah it’s nice but not what I really want.” So now I’m looking at lots of swatches again. (But believe me when I say, I keep wavering like “Do I really NOT want white? Is that true?”) Either way this is just primer, it still needs paint of some color.

We need to put up the ceiling bead board and faux beams. Get two fans with lights. And a new door (the one in there now is really warped and rotted at the sides and top -- it’s not a good seal at all.)
And I also think I might get the couch in there before I pick my paint color.  I don’t want them to fight (and for me to have to paint that room twice.)
So I’m not sure when the room will be done, done. But it feels usable-ish now.
Actually we hosted a little low key birthday party with some friends in there (and the back yard) this past weekend and it was really nice to use the space.

In other news. 
Quite by surprise, our front yard all of a sudden feels like a nice place.
It’s really strange actually.
I had kept telling myself I didn’t need to work on it yet, that it wasn’t going to be nice this year still. That I’d just let that happen later when I wasn’t so wrapped up in life and other projects.
But just those tiny movements I’ve been making here and there when I can make myself, all of a sudden added up to “Wait! This is looking nice. Like really nice!” 

Then Blake’s mom came over and helped with our little flower area one morning and Blake spread out some mulch and we were both like “Wow what a nice yard.”
So then I was like “Hey lets get some furniture for the front porch it feels really bare and boring.”
It’s not a deep porch AT ALL and I didn’t want anything that would make it hard to walk across.
Big Lots had this cute petite set that I decided was just the thing.
There’s still tons of stuff to actually work on (see peeling paint on porch posts for one example.)
But none of that seems to matter right now.
We’ve made some really lovely progress without knowing it this year.
The girls were SO thrilled by this set. Jasmine asked to have (and had) breakfast out there the first full day of ownership. It was so cute.

Well once we got that in place it was like a magical fairy had just sprinkled pixie dust all over the yard and declared it good.

I’m still in denial. Every day I go outside and look at things and think “Wow, how did this happen? Is this real life?"

Because, you will remember we started here.
And before we bought it, the house was here!
Hiding behind EXTREMELY overgrown everything (but grass.)

And it’s taken 2.5 years to get on top of it.
 Very Slowly.

LOTS of door-to-door people came to our door asking if they could (heavily implying should) help us. This yard was crazy looking for a while.

We left the mess for weeks to months as we could get to it. But I knew it was going to get better!

We started putting in something, anything (these were transplanted hostas from our old house we are renting out now) (They looked really pathetic that year)... and well, we just kept going. 

We watered what was weak.

 We had to take out the dead things.

 We were left to appreciate the small things.
We found a rose we had no idea we would have.
And when I “stopped to smell it” (literally) I was bowled over by beauty.
Sometimes you know something is going to be nice, but then it’s just so tangibly delightful it makes you weak. And it can happen right in the middle of really really horrendous messes.

And then we just had to wait, and take care of it as best as we could.

 Fall and Winter bring no hope, show no progress. 

And you just have to hang on until spring. 
Sometimes you drag ourself out there and do things that feel too small to matter.
Sometimes it doesn’t look very nice. Sometimes it looks like you made things ugly in the middle of it.

Sometimes you think you hurt something so bad it will die, when you move it to a new place. But you do the best you can with what you have, and what you know, and you just keep watering it and hoping.

 And then….
it blooms.

And you think, what did I do to deserve this?
Because even though you know you did LOTS and LOTS of work. 
It’s bigger than your work.
It’s entirely more lovely than you ever could have made it.
The real power isn’t in what we did. It’s just in creation.
It’s just the beauty that comes in waiting.
It’s God’s fingerprints in life.
And it’s so cool He lets us participate in it, and add what we enjoy.

But it’s really Him making all things new.

Looking out my window every day is a blessing,
because I know know what used to be out there.
And it gives me hope.

Because this post is about WAY more than my front yard.
It’s about everything.

Me, personally -- I’m not as far ahead as my yard is.
I’m still in the before photos.
My heart and my hands are in the before.
And I’m going to relax (as best as an often-anxiety-ridden-person can) into the process of being made new.
(Once we got that table set -- we couldn’t resist a bench to complete the whole porch)

I’m leaning into this process.
Into -- 
Putting in something, anything -- whatever I have, when I have it, even if it looks too small to matter… and leaning into how I need to just kept going even if it looks pathetic. 

I’m leaning into watering the weak and taking out the dead things.

I’m leaning into appreciating the small things right in the middle of a really, really horrendous mess.

I’m leaning into waiting and taking care of it as best as I can.

I’m embracing that Fall and Winter bring no hope, show no progress. 

And I’m going to hang on for dear life until Spring.

And I’m going to drag myself out there and do all the tiny insignificant things that up to big things (that seem invisible for ages.) 

And trust that transplanting something is a stress, is scary and risky, but is possible, and good. 

And trust that digging holes isn’t wrong or actually making messes, it’s allowing for wonderful new growth.

I’ve started going to counseling.
I’ve been through a lot of hard things for a long time, and I just wasn’t up to processing it alone anymore.
It’s so good. And so helpful.
I seriously think anyone would benefit from counseling.
(By the way insurance (In America -- I can’t speak for elsewhere), is required to cover mental health -- many counselors are covered by insurance plans. If not, they often have siding pay scales. If you want to see someone please look into this aspect and don’t let the idea of price deter you, until you know the actual facts. It might not cost what you thought it would.)

I am SO GLAD I started going. I could not have processed stuff right now without it.

But part of what me and my counselor have to do is go through my thoughts and find what’s misinformed and detrimental and pull it out.
So currently my head looks about like this:

It’s not real pretty.
It’s NO WHERE near complete. It’s barely started so it’s just really, really messy.
It’s uncomfortable.
It’s unnerving.
But it’s also really, really relieving to start pulling out the nasty stuff.

It actually is a lot like when those dead bushes got removed from in front of our porch. 
By the time we got to them, I didn’t even know if I wanted them gone. They were SO bad --- so ugly, so dead, so obtrusive --- and when we bought the house I knew that, but by the time we were ready to pull them I had gotten used to them and felt sad to see them go. The first few days with them gone the view out my window looked bad to me, not refreshing. 
I felt really baffled as to why we did this. I felt some grief about it all. AND the yard looked like crap. And now there was TONS more work to do.
Anytime I saw my house it looked naked and wrong.

I’m feeling all those things right now about my head and me.
But it’s not because I’m bad. 
It’s because I’m pulling out dysfunctional things I had gotten really used to and thought were foundational.
I’ll tell you, removing something foundational is disorienting.
I’ll tell you I have a hard time being at church, and things like that right now, because I don’t feel like I have legs to stand on yet. It’s hard watching my thoughts inside interactions from a new perspective and seeing how unhealthy they have been, but not having my skills in place yet to do much about it currently.

I also have these new moments I’ve never had before --
Usually for a couple hours after leaving counseling.
(For just about that long, right now, I can stay free)
And it’s marvelous.
It’s a kind of mental clarity that physically makes me feel lighter -- Light like a feather sometimes.
 I had one day where my legs seriously felt like when you leave the roller rink (as a kid) and after all those hours of heavy skates on your legs, when you take them off you feel like they might float right out from under you, like they are filled with helium. I felt that light one time after counseling. I hardly knew how to stand the good. I thought I might float away.
And I can have moments of clarity so clear that my skin actually has more ability to feel.
I took a walk and sat on a bench and just sat there, and my skin worshiped --
I was still and knew He is God.
I could feel creation in a way I’ve never been clear enough to do before.
Touching the air, just being alive, was so raw and real I felt it in an overpoweringly good way.
It was thrilling.

And then….
 I'll go back to disoriented later.
I can be so disoriented sometimes I actually have to sit down because everything feels like it’s spinning.

I’ll tell you that grief messes with WAY more than I thought it did.
It messes with EVERYTHING.
(And I still have all the other hard things floating around too.)

But those thrilling freedom/God’s love, memories propel me forward.
And my yard tells me a story,
that you can start with a mess and end up somewhere really, really lovely; sometimes it comes so slow you forget what you’re doing and then the beauty can just sneak right up on you.

And yeah, I have to put in work to get there.
But God’s hand is the moving power.
I don’t make those plants grow. I just tend to them.
And that’s really comforting to know too.

So yeah…
with all that going on… 
I’m SO unsure of how, and what, and when, to blog.
I want to be real with you,
but I very am busy tearing out deep roots.
And while I do it, I keep on painting the sunroom and rearranging furniture.
So I’m gonna try to walk the balance beam of blogging life.
But I’ll probably err on the side of just showing projects for a bit (when I have the chance to blog) just because I don’t knowwhat I’m doing inside me yet.
So please know, if I do just start showing you small and surface-y stuff, I’m not trying to look like I have things together. I DO NOT.
I just am trying to keep my head on straight for now. 

I also want to tell you Thank you again for any and all encouraging words you have shared with me.
I carry them like smelling salts.
When I get faint, I will pull out your kind words to revive me.

"I don’t feel brave, but people who read my messy words about my messy life, told me I’m brave --- so I must be brave... so then… I think can do this.”

One of you told me I was optimistic. I’ve never been so amazed -- I feel just the opposite -- but when you told me that I was able to see how I do persevere, and I was then able to appreciate that about myself. So now when I feel overwhelmed I can tell myself, see you really are optomistic, not a messy depression hole. And that really does make a big difference inside me.

You guys told me you are cheering for me and want to see me get on my feet, so I know I have love behind me.
I’m not sure you’ll know what that means to me.
So thank you again!
And always.


  1. Aww, you made this pregnant lady tear up! I am so glad to hear that your counsellor is so good. And you are so strong to accept that help and work so hard on yourself. Digging up those deep-rooted things is so. Hard. I love your analogy with the yard! I've got to keep that one in mind!

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