the wild of our unknowns

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This past year my typical approach, my self-identifiers, have faced more opposition than I can remember. All past methods do not work and seemingly create more conflicts or unknowns. The need for control does nothing when one is completely out of control. It truly complicates life further and sets everything off kilter. Through grace, bucket loads of grace, I am slowly learning that all-important lesson of stillness. I am getting in touch with emotions, those founded in love, empathy, and shared wisdom. Since moving back East life has felt unsettled, filled with uncertainty; a plethora of obstacles and unknowns. I often struggle with balance, with rest. My mind is always onto the next thing or it’s processing multiple realities and solving a myriad of problems all while grocery shopping. Sitting still and resting in these things is a last resort, a laughable suggestion, and not typically part of my life practice. 

People always want to see external evidence of change; for example, I can say – I am softening, I am becoming more open and loving and vulnerable. You may not see it, or maybe only bits and pieces. I don’t necessarily smile more or make friends everywhere I go, and my party attendance has actually decreased. The changes of which I speak are 90% internal – a change in thought process, a deterioration of walls, and an approach to others with more grace and empathy. I am working to cultivate relationships differently, to invest a lot more in others, to take emotional risks and be OK if they don’t pan out. It doesn’t hurt that I am surrounded by genuine people, ones who give away love and grace effortlessly, without condition. It is inspiring and I am beyond blessed to watch it, take part in it, and receive it. They provide this safe space where failure is merely a stepping stone, where love has no limit, and being seen is the only way to be. They remind me of who I am and who I am becoming. Meeting people who see through your walls or are entirely unaffected by them, has been challenging and eye-opening in so many ways. It makes me love them all the more and crave more relationships like that. I am so thankful to have people who remind me to stop, look up, breath in the chaos and just be still. 

Every single day offers a lesson, a challenge to be better versions of ourselves. We get the honor and privilege to love and be loved in return. We can view our unknowns with a child-like curiosity of where life will lead, or we can get lost in our worries and need for control, missing out on the beauty of it all. I would be naive to think this is all random. I would be remiss to brush it off as a season, or simply the act of maturing as I inch closer to 40. There are no coincidences in this life. There are choices. There is the action one takes in making said choices, and there is acceptance of the outcome. These choices, these moments in life where we either step up and admit our helplessness, our brokenness, and our weakness, they are divinely planted. They are rushing waters of love flowing toward us, open hands asking us to trust, to love, to be exactly who we are and recognize the endless amounts of grace, the richness of life and love, and the one who gently whispers – come to me – Cast your cares on me. 

It will be a year in a couple weeks since we moved back east. It will also be ten years that Mick and I decided to share life together. There are oh so many things we are learning and relearning and so many things we’ve overcome. Through it ALL there is a steady faithfulness, a continued promise of being renewed, and a future ripe with more adventure. We just have to embrace all the parts, the highs, the lows, and especially, the wild of our unknowns.

** image found via Pinterest; words by the lovely Morgan Harper Nichols

Roughing it

Adventure has been our theme the last year or more, so, we decided to take it to another level. This weekend we went camping about 90 miles North. I thought we would be on a lake but we were actually on the Priest River – which is only 10 miles from Priest Lake in Coolin, ID. The adventure began for me when Mick came home and announced he had agreed that we’d go camping with a guy from his work, which to me translated as – strangers. (I had an opportunity to meet two of the seven prior to Friday, but still, does he know me at all?!) Although both Mick and I enjoy camping/the outdoors/roughing it – it’s not something we have actually done together. When we began our original moving adventure, we sold a lot of our belongings and/or gave them away – this included Mick’s 15-20 year old camping gear. We had about three weeks to figure out what we would need, where to buy it and how to fit it in the Subaru. Thankfully we were loaned a tent and a cooler and the rest we scraped up via Amazon and our local outfitter store.

ASIDE: The BEST purchase was our MSR Pocket Rocket stove – it is the coolest thing and literally pocket sized. It was bought all in the name of coffee – boils water in 3 minutes or less – sweet! Having that little guy enabled us to bring our kettle and chemex and enjoy some hot organic coffee. Our upmost amenity. It somehow tasted better out there – it could have been the lack of civilization/bathrooms/running water – whatever, it was heaven each morning firing that thing up.

Anyways – We camped in the national forest – off a 2-3 mile dirt road that went up and then down a mountain to a river bank. There were no bathrooms, running water, organized sites – you make it your own and leave it better than you found it. Digging a hole to use the bathroom was a new experience for me, but I managed just fine. It’s a site only known to locals and boy did we get a taste of local flavor. I think the neighboring site – which was about 200 yards away – probably shot about $1,000 in ammo into the water – just cuz. It was not only obnoxious but a ridiculous waste of money. We were privy to a stellar domestic dispute at 3 Am – you mother effer, you just effing told me you are going over to the next campsite to eff some skank whore *kicking his car* if that’s your plan you better get me off this GD Effing mountain right now – I can’t respect that! I’m going to DO someone in our group, what do you think about that you piece of S – and I bought that effing booze you piece of  S?!

It made for great breakfast conversation. This was all to the back drop of gangster rap on one end and terrible country on the other. Good times.

All in all – it was really awesome and breath taking. Some photos –

The drive in

the drive in

our camp site view

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Mick

the final countdown

Exactly one week until our first visitor! I will try to keep the exclamation points to a minimum…but seriously, SO excited! We carry our homesickness with care and keep it light. Whenever we sit at our table, we treasure hundreds of dinner conversations, laughing until breathless, and sharing futures. We miss fire pit talks, c-time dates, game nights, and tv show obsessions – FNL anyone?! We have met some fabulous people here and are very thankful for the ways they have blessed our lives. But…there’s something about sharing life with people who stand by you no matter what or how far you move away. Looking forward to seeing more faces in the coming years…summers here are awesome…just saying.

We do feel at home here. Things are becoming familiar. We are getting used to various quirks like: it takes three weeks to actually get your drivers license…in the mail; I get carded everywhere I go; driving 70mph at a minimum; the mailman comes whenever he wants; everyone is nice; no one is in a hurry (talking to you mailman); dogs are allowed in all stores – even ones that look like wolves; trucks are stacked and pimped and if yours isn’t…well… All of these things are endearing and so often make us laugh. It’s a small town and that’s what we agreed to. We are running into people we know at the store which is surreal – there’s a comfort there – makes us feel at home. So future visitors – know that we can’t wait to have you, can’t wait to show you around and can’t wait to lock you in our basement!

Pre-adventure…

The start of an adventure…

The last six years I have been working through many changes – some were forced and others came through much thought and heartache. Mick and I went through a lot to build a life – of which we are truly blessed. Our family and friends are of the highest caliber. Despite these awesome people (and they truly are the tops) we both felt an inexplicable discomfort. We often discussed how it was shared but had no definition, it was faceless, an unsettled presence.  At times it was a quiet knot resting in the stomach and others a constant ringing in the ear. After a couple of years it began to develop an identity. It’s hard to explain the power it had – it was oppressive in a lot of ways. It was rocking our happy little bubble and something needed to change. We were stagnant in life – we weren’t using our gifts – we were trying to be exceptional by making the least amount of effort.

We truly thought we were happy…I think that was our problem. We set the boundaries for happiness based on a comfort level that didn’t take too much sacrifice or adventure.  We daily took advantage the things that make us unique, things that could be used for more than our own happiness. I had to step back and SEE Mick and he did the same – we weren’t encouraging each other to grow, to be stretched, or to use our gifts. We were selfishly enabling each other to be comfortable (a.k.a. lazy). I didn’t want to be challenged unless I could say “when.” SO – after some time, late night talks, and many other monumental experiences we named the discomfort. We are being pushed to accept an adventure – one with a purpose we may not know for some time. It is frightening, exciting, overwhelming and so amazingly designed that we would be pretty ridiculous people to ignore it.

In two weeks we will officially step into said adventure – we begin our cross-country trek East to West – dog in tow. I am looking forward to struggling, exploring and just letting stuff happen. I don’t want to be in control anymore. I just want to live and experience this life with Mick to the fullest. Cliche? Maybe, but it’s going to be legendary.