So it’s a new year! And, with the New Year, a new post, and also a new purpose for this space. I recently read that famous passage Christians like to quote about how “we have this treasure in jars of clay.” We carry around a treasure – and this treasure is found in a jar made of clay. It’s not necessarily a beautiful, glazed, perfected jar, but a clay jar. It’s probably a simple jar. An unimpressive jar. Possibly even a broken jar. But it’s not the jar that is important – isn’t that the idea? It’s the treasure inside.
This got me thinking: what is my treasure? Continue reading
I had an incredible run today. It was incredible not because of the dirt roads or the farmland, not because of the breathtaking views or scenic waterways, not because of the cool breeze blowing my hair or the cacophony of bird noises filling my ears. It was incredible because of the way I witnessed and relived my own story of coming into adulthood in New York City.
Today I started out at the home that my husband and I own in upper Manhattan (well, technically the bank still owns most of it), the home where we are raising our two kiddos and figuring out what it is to be a family of four, living in THE City. I headed north, passing the playground where we took Jacob the day Hannah Grace was born and the swings that I rocked gently on that morning, wondering if that day would be the day that our lives would be forever changed – again. I turned around at the lighthouse that was my first “big destination” when I started running again after Hannah Grace was born, and ran beneath “our bridge,” as our toddler calls the GW.
Heading south, I entered such familiar territory. The miles I ran during our early marriage, sometimes staring blindly out at the water, wondering what I had gotten myself into as I tried to figure out how to bend my life to meet and embrace someone else’s. The miles I ran the morning I found out we were expecting Jacob, plotting how to tell Harrison and practically sprinting the entire distance in elated joy. The miles I walked when eight months pregnant with Jacob and I could run no more, and the loops I ran with our stroller when I first started running again after he was born. Continue reading
My sweet baby girl —
It’s been a hard year, hasn’t it?
You experienced so much change and you had to learn so much. In fact, you learned more in this first year of your life than perhaps you will in any other single year moving forward (!). And the change you experienced – it was unimaginable, too. You went from having every single need met so perfectly that you had never even experienced need – to a world in which you experienced every basic need and more – hunger, exhaustion, frustration, anger, fear, sadness – sometimes all in one day or even one hour. I’m so sorry, sweet baby girl of mine, that it’s been so hard.
And yet – you amaze me. Despite all these hard things, you grew and thrived. You learned to roll over, sit, crawl, stand, start to walk. You learned to drink and eat (and boy do you love food!), to smile and laugh and start to talk. I am so proud of you, already, for your persistence, for your feisty spirit, for all the many things you have learned and accomplished in this short year. Today, you are ONE.
My sweet baby girl, it’s been a hard year for your Mama, too. Continue reading
Filed under blogging, children, contentment, depression, family, god & faith, identity, motherhood, parenting, prayer, sensory overload
Happy First Birthday to grace in the darkness! A year ago today, you made your way into cyberspace after many months of gestation (months which I spent researching and planning and writing and designing) and, like any birth, that day was filled with many hopes and dreams, much excitement, and certainly some nerves. It’s hard to believe it’s been this long already — and that some of you are still reading my words after 365 days.
Mostly, it’s hard to believe because it’s so easy to wish that I’d done more. Written more posts, taken more beautiful photos, facilitated more guest authors. Also, I’d hoped for more success. I wish I had acquired more followers, seen more readership growth, been offered more book deals (ha!). I’d hoped for more.
However, despite not being more, it’s been a good, full year. A hard year, certainly, but what year isn’t? As I was preparing to write this post, and thinking about the past year, I revisited many posts from the last twelve months (of course). I revisited the dark places and the questions, the favorite quotes, the letters to my son and daughter, the post about learning to love our family of four and the posts exploring Ed Welch’s book about faith and depression that I found so useful. I remembered my struggles with finding community in New York and applauded my efforts at starting to run again. And you know what? It’s not more, and it’s not the best, but it is good. Continue reading
Filed under blogging, career, children, community, depression, family, god & faith, identity, motherhood, prayer, Uncategorized, writing
Last time I promised that I’d write about what depression is like for me in this season of life. It’s no cakewalk, but it’s not Hollywood either.
I don’t spend days in bed crying, forgetting to eat and unable to take care of myself. I also don’t have dramatic breakdowns resulting in hospitalization. (Although, admittedly, on my worst days I have wished that was the case.)
In fact, all outward appearances probably look pretty good most of the time – certainly this time around. (Helps to have cute kids, right?)
When depression rears its ugly head in my life, it’s not always the same – certainly there have been times in the past of poor self-care, insomnia, extreme hopelessness and bouts of crying – but I mostly left that permutation behind in college. And there have been many periods of gray, when I’ve fought, every single day, to go through the motions, to take care of whatever job or child or spouse or friend or piece of music or writing I needed to do, because everything felt futile.
This time hasn’t been any of those things, exactly. Continue reading
Remember how I wrote about figuring out what’s necessary in life?
Well, I’ll tell you how that’s going in a bit.
These days, I’m teaching my son to breathe. When he gets upset and I can’t talk any sense into him or get him to stop crying long enough to look me in the eyes or answer a question, I try to breathe with him.
In and out, in and out, in and out.
It often takes a long time until he can join me. But the minutes that I spend sitting with him, inhaling deeply and slowly and then exhaling fully –
those minutes are good practice for me, too.
Because I’ve been holding my breath for awhile now. Wondering what kinds of feelings each day will bring. Wondering if I’ll make it one, two, three hours before hopelessness starts to replace hopefulness. Wondering if I’ll start to know – and really feel, not just know in my head – that God is real. Wondering if it’s too early in the day to start drinking.
It’s been hard, the past few months. Continue reading
It has been a long time since I’ve sat here, staring at a blank screen. I’ve started a dozen posts in my head since I last wrote and mentally bookmarked just as many topics to address. I even have a small arsenal of posts that I wrote before my daughter was born so that I could continue to publish regularly throughout “the hard weeks right after,” but somehow using those now seems false, not true to where (or even who?) I am now.
And the hard weeks…hahaha! If only just a few weeks had been hard.
Far from it.
She’s five months old now, with a smile that charms even the hardest of hearts, but every day remains a challenge. And the reality of transferring any of those thoughts to paper or completing any of those posts feels staggeringly difficult. Continue reading
Filed under blogging, career, children, contentment, depression, family, identity, motherhood, parenting, prayer, running, writing
Today I am sharing not an entire article or blog post, but simply a quote that I stumbled across a few weeks ago. The words are searing and true, and too good not to share. (Debra Ginsberg is an American author with four published books, one of which is a memoir about raising her autistic son.) The only response that I had after first reading this was Yes. Oh, yes.
Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.
— Debra Ginsberg
I’m a runner. Although these days I often feel like an imposter when I say that – so maybe I should instead say, “I was a runner.” Or, “I used to be a runner.” Because, honestly, I don’t run that much anymore. And not only do I not run all that much, but I also unsubscribed to Runner’s World (okay, that happened a few years back), have stopped reading running blogs, and have no idea how many miles I’ve logged in my current pair of running shoes.
Clearly, not a runner.
But I’ve just started to run again after my daughter was born (which you can read about here and here), and I am reminded of the tremendous humility it takes to do something that was once easy. Not only was I a runner, once, but I was a good runner. Not an Olympian, not competitive on an elite team, but good for an average person.
I started running in middle school and haven’t really stopped since. There have been injuries and long, icy winters and months when I was bored or uninspired or too busy – but for the most part, I’ve been running for about two decades. So it’s never been that hard for me to go for a short run, or a quick run, or a short, quick run.
And then I had two kids. In less than two years. And let me tell you, that does a number on your body.
And now it IS that hard to go for a short run, or a quick run. And my short, quick runs are shorter and much less quick than before. Continue reading
In the spirit of trying to establish a bit of routine (and since I LOVE routines), I have decided to start sharing a blog post written by someone else every Friday. I have a long list of these already that I’m eager to share with you, and each one has resonated deeply with me deeply.
So here’s the first!
Your Body is Not Your Masterpiece. This was passed around on the internet quite a bit a few months ago, but I’d also read it on Glennon’s blog, which I totally adore. She really tells it like it is, and usually has tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks. Continue reading