Saturday, March 4, 2017

Am I In My Thirties Yet?


When you're young (like, elementary school young), your thirties sound so old. Practically middle aged. Only parents are in their thirties. Being in your thirties means you're really an ADULT. An old fuddy-duddy. Until a certain point, in your late teens maybe, when "your thirties" take on a sort of futuristic glamour. In my thirties, I'll be settled, secure, stylish, confident. All the magazines say so. Oh, and rich. Definitely rich. The teenage years are for angst; your twenties for exploring and self-expression. But the thirties... by then, you'll have everything figured out. Right?

Reality check: I turned 30 six months ago. And I keep asking myself: have I hit those magical "thirties" yet? I think if I have to ask, then the answer is probably no. I still question pretty much every decision, from what I eat for breakfast to what clothes I wear and how I parent my children or communicate with my spouse. I'm still not quite sure what my personal style is, or even if I've decided what my favorite color is. Today. Because, it could all change tomorrow or next week. I do recognize in personality a bit of a romantic penchant for reinventing myself, and I'll just chalk up to my artistic soul, but it certainly doesn't help when I decide I'm old enough to really figure out who I am.

But the more I ask myself these questions and look for where I'm fitting into that "perfect 30" mold, these less confident I feel in how far I've come. Because, in 30 years, I'm bound to have figured out something.... right? HA If I have to ask, the answer is probably no. I still have many of the same flaws I've struggled with since youth; I still have a hard time saying 'no' (I'm a chronic people-pleaser); I struggle with focus and clarity in decision-making; and I'm always better at starting a project than finishing it. Am I confident in what these traits make me as a person? Nope. And I don't think I should be. I think life is about striving for better. Not necessarily more (the flaw of the American dream), just better. Because that is what God calls us to be.

"For it is written: be holy, because I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16


Sounds like it gets a lot harder, rather than easier. Like running a marathon, rather than a race. And there's a lot more humility before the finish line than there is confidence. So, the magazines were wrong. I know my flaws better now than I did when was 20, though I'm not quite sure that makes me any more secure or successful as a person. So are we really surprised that Cosmo got it wrong (again)? Not really. A magazine will never give you a standard higher than self. If anything, I've lost more of my "self" than I've gained in the last few years and that's truly a positive. As we die to self, leaving behind the trappings of the world we were born into, we become more alive in Christ (1 Timothy 4:7, Galatians 3:27). 

It's still so easy to get caught up in that dream self-image -- the sexy, confident, beautiful reflection we long to see. But it's also easy to get bogged down in the failures. The ways we don't live up or our dreams don't pan out. Our calling is beyond both of these. Learning and growing in Christ, not just in the ways of personal style, or parenting expertise, or artistic mastery. All of those things are well and good, but a full life will never be found solely in them. Falling out of love with self, and in love with Him is our life's purpose. And it's hard. It probably will continue to feel like I'm struggling with my sense of self and decision-making. I will probably still be wondering 10 years from now (in the dreaded "fourties") if I've finally found my place. But I'm pretty sure all that questioning, struggling, and striving just means I'm doing it right. Losing the battle of self means relying on the Lord for answers. Trusting in His providence above all else. And that's thriving.

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Midwinter Poetry


Janus


Fog lies thick over sodden ground --
a curtain of winter whites --
drawn close around the barren trees,
muffling would-be sound and sight
of a gray January morning.

The year is new. The light yet dim.
Starlings fly in figure eight
amidst the sunken clouds,
foreboding well a coming weight,
still hidden hopes to bring.

A haze of sorts congests the heart,
not yet awake to hear the call.
Heavy clouds fill hollow wells, 'til full,
in a sullen sleep that buries all,
sifting word and thought and dream.

A sudden wind, a lifted weight -
mysterious - this lightened load, unbidden.
The murky mists begin to drift,
light burns clear that lifeless hold, forgiven,
as burning off old winter's dross.


Until, at last, the Sun breaks through.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Fav Mom Gifts


In case you haven't figured it out by now, Christmas as an adult is different. Especially when you have children of your own. The focus shifts, it's definitely not about the presents (whether it was before or not) and wish lists become a thing of the past. Oh, sure, we still have them... but does anyone care? That's a rhetorical question, so don't answer. But that doesn't mean that some kind, thoughtful souls don't take the time and interest to give you the things that are really useful and enjoyable for the mom-wife life. I'm just now taking a few moments to recount the gifts that have already been really helpful to me over the last two weeks and here's the verdict. 
  1. Alex & Ani Claddagh Bracelet
    A perfect gift from a precious friend. The claddagh symbolizes love, loyalty and friendship. And this brand of jewelry makes for an ideal daily wear accessory.
  2. Saucony DXN Trainer Sneakers in Suede - Navy
    I've been looking for a pair of "athleisure" sneakers for a more comfortable look that is still stylish -- and these are the ones. Comfy, classic, and perfect for the mom on the go.
  3. Gift Cards
    You really can't beat 'em. Especially when it comes to clothes, coffee and tunes. You can bet this is where I'll be spending some $$ the next time I have a mommy's morning out.
  4. Madewell 9" High-Rise Skinny Jeans in Larkspur Wash
    One thing I won't have to buy the next time I go shopping, because these jeans are the bomb. I used to be all about low-rise jeans but I realize now how foolish that was. High-rise is the way to go if you don't want jeans fall off your butt every time you sit down/stand up. I recommend watching for the sales on this pair (the same fit in different washes is available for less right now) but you can't go wrong with a comfortable pair of skinnies that fit and flatter.
  5. Classic No-Slip Barrettes
    You know when you complain about not having something that you could very easily pick up yourself at the grocery store? Sometimes those are the best gifts. Enough said.
  6. 2017 Weekly Desk Planner
    I love a good planner. I've gotten this brand/style for the past several years and it works for me.  Even with 82 digital calendars, I still like to write things down.
These were some of my favorites from this Christmas. What were your favs?