Falling in a Vintage Lincoln (a Valentine’s Day warm-up)

photo copy 9

This morning I was coloring with Caedmon and I drew him a car, because he’s crazy about cars these days.

I was showing him the magic of the white crayon on black paper, the only color construction paper that really brings the poor, unused white crayon to life.

As I cut out my doodle car, I was instantly taken back about 8 years, to those magical new days when Kel and I were falling for each other, hard, in a 1987 Lincoln Towncar.

I didn’t mean to draw the Ol’ Lincoln, no premeditation brought it from my brain to my fingers but as I stared down at my creation, all the memories that car witnessed floated up from the recesses of my memory.

When we met (online) Kel was a pastor in training, working as a poorly paid intern, living mostly on scholarships and driving (by choice) a 1987 Lincoln Towncar.  Everyone called it the couch on wheels, and it truly was.  It smelled like leather and Dr Pepper and the first time he picked me up in it, I’m quite sure I turned up my nose.

But that car was the litmus test that this boy, the one I (at that point) only knew online had to be for real.  I mean, what kind of internet creeper would admit to driving THAT car.

I can’t adequately describe the feeling of cruising around in The Lincoln, with my legs on cool leather and the windows open as we wound through the farm fields outside of Yukon, Oklahoma.  Words fail to tell the need I felt to scoot a bit closer to the boy behind the wheel or the catching of my breath as our hands met for the first time, fingers intertwining.

As we cruised he introduced me to the magic of Oklahoma’s drive-thru watering holes, like Classic Fifties and I sipped cherry-chocolate diet cokes with my bare feet peeking out the open window.

I don’t care to know how many huge sugary drinks we consumed as we cruised.  But back then we saw them as a gift, not a caloric or cancerous nightmare.

It’s probably good that we left that 44oz habit behind us, but there are parts of those classic car cruises that I’d like back, if you don’t mind.  When we said goodbye to that poor Lincoln it was a breaking down heap, but nowadays… I sort of long for it again.  Not the money pit part, but the leathery, snuggly cruises.

Because these days, something about the magic in those intertwined fingers is flickering as we resign ourselves to too many evenings of “meh, lets just watch TV again” on different couches, in different parts of the living room.  

188426_502356128267_7661_n

Maturity and discipline are staples of our life now, needed and freeing in their structure. Yet, even though we are  “so grown up” these days, I must invite that swooning, sugar-crazed girl from the passenger seat to party more often.

Because that boy?  He’s still here even though he’s changed a bit from the weight of work-stress, money-woes and kid-exhaustion.

And I think he misses that swoony girl.

I think those two could use a reunion.

I think we need to bring back some of the magic we created as we sat holding hands and listening to Stephen Speaks as the Oklahoma breeze blew my crazy purple hair around.

I’m a realist, I know that we live in a world where life takes a toll.  But just because life is more diapers and groceries than diamonds and dancing doesn’t mean it must be devoid of romance.

Simple, everyday romance that doesn’t cost a cent.  

I’m glad that this morning, as we move into a over-hyped week of expensive romance, my brain told my fingers to doodle the memory of that old car on the black construction paper.

Because I don’t need roses or gamble chocolates, but everyday romance?  Yes, that.

Vintage Lincoln magic?  Why yes, yes please.

Maybe we should take some time to remember where it started, thumb through a few pictures or old letters.  Maybe we’ll Jump in the car together with our kids and connect our then with our now.

Do you need to spend some time with the memories of falling too?  What place or vehicle brings those days to the forefront for you? 

New Blogwarming Party, Welcome!

Hiya!  And welcome to our new space, this is where we get to hang out from now on! Isn’t it cozy and fantastic?  Plus it’s aqua, which is my favorite color in the world, the color of our wedding, our dishes, our bedspread… you get the idea.

Would you mind at all if I gave you a little tour?  Then I want to give you a present, is that alright?

See the top navigation bar?  ^ Nearly all the words in there are brand new, I’ve spent time weaving them so intentionally.

There are even some new features there, especially the “my people” link, where you can get to know some of my sweetest friends.  I’ll be adding to this list as we go.

One of the most functional changes is the new Disqus commenting system.  If you haven’t used it before you will need to create a user name, but after that it will be ever so much easier and will free up the dialogue here.  Trust me, I’ve put some thought into this.

Over to your right you’ll notice those lovely aqua (squeeee!) buttons underneath my picture (which I realize needs changing)  You can use those buttons to connect with me in all sorts of ways, now including Pinterest and Instagram!

Oh and that signature down there?  It’s my real handwriting.  And that flower?  That’s my doodle, I put it on oh… everything from sermon notes to handwritten cards.

Sorry about all the ! I’m excited, and in fact I’m not sorry, this redesign has been in the works since September. Continue reading

Scary and Exciting (Going sharpie public with my 2013 goals)

Hiya!  You’ll notice that things look a bit different around here today.  Well, that’s because the site is undergoing a facelift and we’re in the middle of construction.  So, what you’re seeing now is a place filler, a small glimpse into the new site that the amazing Hannah Beasley is cooking up, which I can’t wait to show you, truly.

So onward we go:

PicMonkey Collage- goals

This past summer my husband Kel had a meeting with a pastor who had also, interestingly enough, taught my senior capstone class in college.  Kel mentioned this fact over hamburgers and my former prof. had struggled to remember me, he finally said: “You mean the girl with the planner?”

Yes, it’s true, my trademark accessory in college was my planner. I rarely went anywhere without it, in fact I worked at the planner store in the mall where I was a certified productivity consultant.

I was so into planning, in fact, that Kel included it in his wedding vows: “I vow to be more organized because I’m amazed at how much you accomplish with your little planner.”

Oh planner girl, how I miss you, you were so put together and organized, lists flowed from your brain and you checked them off efficiently.  Where did you go?

I still buy planners or refills each year, but I rarely stick to them like I used to.  I just can’t find the right system and so much of our life is unscheduled and repetitive.

Kel’s and the kid’s schedules are very repetitive from week to week. Kids have preschool on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Kel has worship on Tuesday nights, Basketball on Wednesdays etc.

It’s been tough going from the professional with a plan to the mom in yoga pants whose life seems to revolve around everyone else’s needs.  It’s taught me a lot about sacrifice and grace, I’m sure most stay-at-home parents can relate to this.

Nevertheless it’s time to re-think things and put some systems and strategies in place around here, because “those who fail to plan, plan to fail” right?

And on this note I’d like to share my goals for the year with you, do you mind? Continue reading

My jealous-bone-ectomy (a slow surgery)

freeimage-1273890

Change is often a slow process, an evolution in which you don’t notice what’s happening until it’s nearly completed.  Generally, we’re reluctant to give ourselves credit for positive progress until we’re only feet from the finish line.

Often change just slowly ripples across our lives until one day it’s eroded us into someone completely different than the last time we checked.

As for me this needed change, the one that was a long time coming, was to break the cycle of living in jealousy, to have my jealous bone removed if you will.  

This rhythm of jealousy was suffocating me from the inside out. I was living a life of hopeless inferiority on every front: as a mother, a wife, a writer, a Christian, a woman.

I often felt like the little sister of whatever world I was operating in.  Always chasing after the big girls, hoping that they would notice me, play with me.  Ever praying that someday I would be as fabulous and confident as they were.

Over the last year I realized that this inner belief that of jealousy, of “less-than”, was my most life-stealing issue.  I was always so busy being jealous that I had no time to feel joy all around me, my thoughts were ever elsewhere.  Continue reading

Red yarn, purity and my misplaced worth

7782343794_4a8c280005_cI was 21 years old, just, when I found myself sitting in a tiny counseling office trying to recover from a painful breakup. The woman in the chair across from me was praying passionately as she called upon the Holy Spirit to free my heart from my ex-boyfriend.

From the aching of being dumped… over email.

The focus of our session was all about freeing my heart, which was intrinsically linked to his, because we’d had sex.

She opened an old, metal drawer and took out some pre-cut, crimson yarn. She held the ends between pinched fingers and held the taut strands between us.

She handed me a pair of scissors and told me to cut the yarn as a representation of my cutting my heart free from my ex.

Through snipping this yarn, the Holy Spirit would set me free and disconnect us. Although I was told my heart was forever damaged and would be messy and incomplete because of my transgressions.

I remember getting into my raggedy blue Saturn and wondering… “Would cutting the yarn really do it? Should I feel different now? 

And for that matter, would this painful breakup be easier if we hadn’t… “gone there?”

I turned it all over in my head for months, like you do when you’ve been dumped. I took to rollerblading around my parents neighborhood while I listened to Dashboard Confessional on my disc-man.

Was it true that I had superglued my heart to his, never to be whole again?  Had I robbed my future husband of something special? Was I forever demoted because I proved true the age old cliché of “looking for love in all the wrong places?”

The more I rolled around the neighborhood, the more I realized that I hadn’t had sex with this guy out of love, or even for physical pleasure.

I’d done it because I needed to believe that someone had wanted me completely, just as I was.

you see, my problems went far deeper than my lost virginity. I had an incredibly screwed up sense of who I was… and whose I was… and what I was doing with my life.

I thought that I needed to belong to a man to feel complete and that belief was far more damaging than my sexual mistakes would ever be.

I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking through all the clumsy, awkward steps that led me to ultimately “losing it.” All those concessions I made, one by one that ended with me tucking my purity ring in my jewelry box and hoping my Dad wouldn’t notice its absence on my ring finger.

If all the girls I’ve ever mentored as a youth worker were sitting across from me and I could tell them one thing about their sexuality, what would I say?

They’ve heard thousands of words from hundreds of sources, what would I add?

It’s this: Your worth cannot be found or taken from you through sex.

You were created for a big, bold beautiful purpose. If you go have sex to feel better about who you are, you will only be taking steps backward.

I would tell them that I regret having sex before marriage, but that I regret all the years that I lost believing that I was worthless even more.

I regret looking for my worth in sex, because it only ever left me emptier.

I would tell them that if they’ve already had sex, God loves them and values them just as highly as he would if they had their “v-cards” in tact. I would let them know that they can still have a healthy, joy-filled, passionate, sexy and intimate marriage someday.

I would remind them that even though the church world seems to see sexual sin as weightier or dirtier than the rest, that God sees it all the same. And that he loves the virgins and the non virgins equally.

That he’s close to the broken hearted, even the ones who didn’t wait.

Then I would tell their parents that when it comes to “the sex talk” that they should spend most of their time teaching their children who they are and who they belong to. Because kids who value themselves and have a solid send of self worth are less likely to go looking for it in all the wrong places, Like in the backseat of their cars.

And then I would go home and kiss my husband and cry a little. Because there is nothing easy about this jumbled mess of human sexuality. I would lay my head on the pillow and thank God for infusing my journey with so much grace… for leading me to this place, this day, these words.