Giving Up and Diving In

Loveys, I like pictures. This has been going on since forever. High school. College. Back when we barely had cell phones, much less a phone with a camera. This was way back when we had disposable cameras and we used the one-hour photo lab at the Wal-Mart across from LU. For someone who loves pictures, you'd think I'd have a great camera and know all kinds of photo-ish things, which I don't. Still, I really like taking pictures. I remember once, years ago, our best friends Michelle and Buddy came to visit and Buddy noticed all the many photo albums I had and he said to me that my life is very well-documented! Ha! That was before blogging and Instagram and Twitter and Facebook--I really do love to document this life. Having kids and taking millions of pictures just seems to go together, so there's no slowing down now. (P.S. Organizing photo albums on Facebook makes me ridiculously happy.) (P.S. S. I took the above photo on a walk this week. Fall is in full effect, lovey. Gorgeous. Love it.)

I was thinking the other day about the fact that I don't have a great memory. I just don't. I forget things all the time. If I don't log reminders into my phone, I won't remember anything I have on the schedule. Thank goodness for our phones. (If only they weren't so addicting. Sad.) But the truth is that I love pictures and, to me, they help me preserve all these memories that I want to keep forever. Days like friend Nancy and I and a houseful of children made caramel and chocolate-coated apples. Kids ran in and out of the house because the weather was perfect. Nancy stood at the stove, stirring melted caramel. I helped with the decorating. Nancy brought Starbucks coffee. The kids ate plenty of Candy Corn and Reese Pieces and marshmallows.

And it was fall.

And because it's fall, I'm giving up on trying not to eat yummy everything. Because the real me LOVES Candy Corn and caramels and every single delicious fallish food and I can't fight it! I told Jeff tonight that I am giving up. I will start over with eating lettuce in January. For now, I'm just going to enjoy my favorites because food brings us to life and colors our gatherings beautiful.

And I want this season to be beautiful for me and my family in every way. It's going to look a twinge different than I'd originally expected because I'm taking on an unexpected freelance edit. But honestly, that fills me up in ways I need to be filled. I love being home, lovey. I love getting to spend so much time with Lily and Ash and Linc and I feel thankful that I get to. I also love editing and writing and diving into books. Those things are good for me. So, the schedule is about to look a little different. More hours working for me. But I really feel so ready to just dive in. We'll juggle the kids a bit more, we'll squeeze our schedule a bit more and it will all be fine.

I'm thinking it's a good thing that we had book club last weekend! Speaking of gathering together, book club last Saturday night was fabulous. Tara and Danielle and Krista and I talked about all things Outlander till after midnight. Snacks were eaten, bottles of wine were emptied, and girls sat around and dished about anything and everything. Those are the best nights, lovey. When I talk about things that fill me up in ways I need to be filled, that kind of gathering is definitely on the list. I wish there were more of them! (But we have all these children....and the books are SO long...and there are husbands around...and I have to clean there's that.)

Back to thoughts on picture-taking and picture-posting, lovey. We all know that most of the pictures we post are of good memories. Things we want to remember. I'm not averse to posting real-life, not-completely-flattering pictures--but even those are usually capturing funny and happy moments we don't want to forget. So our life onscreen is something of a highlight reel. And there's nothing wrong with that. No one expects you to take pictures of the nights when kids are throwing up, or you and the husband are fighting, or you're bawling because you're overwhelmed and sleep-deprived, or you're yelling because everyone's fighting you at bedtime.

But we're all living it. And nothing is perfect for any of us. Not the woman in the big huge mansion. Not the mama trying to make ends meet. Despite what it looks like on Facebook or Pinterest, or the hundreds of opinion letters on every website, the mother-hood can be a lonely place. It's just true.

We can reach out and try to be friends and then be rejected. (I know this from experience). We can look online and see when we're left out. (Again, experience.) We communicate via text and it can be hard to read some people and we end up with our feelings getting hurt. (Um, this may have happened to someone I know whose initials are BRB.) It occurred to me the other day that if we can sometimes feel lonely even in our marriages--of course we can feel lonely in our friendship community. In our church even.

There's always more to the story than the pictures we see. But I get encouraged by looking through pictures of moments I want to hold on to. Something about seeing pictures of Jeff and I together over the years really warms my heart. Seeing photos of my children makes me smile every time. Jeff and the kids are my people. They're my tribe.

I think quenching loneliness starts with loving ourselves. Whenever I'm sad, I think about how Jesus loves me. That I'm enough for this moment, and if I'm not, tomorrow is another day. And if I can give myself grace to breathe, and if I can love the people in this house the best way I know how, and pray for the suffering...then I'm being the woman God wants me to be. Perfection isn't required.

If you've ever felt lonely in the mother-hood, lovey, or just in life in general--for sure you aren't alone. I'm right there with you. If the highlight reels you see make you sad or discouraged, there's always more to the story. If you're desperate for community...we all are. If you're desperate for rest....we all are.

Beautiful moments. Messy moments. We all have them.

We give up on some things and dive into others. We try to love ourselves because God sees us as lovable. And we do our best to love our people well.

This season is about to look different from what I'd expected. Seasons do that sometimes. For the better, for the worse. We roll with it. For myself, I'm giving up on lettuce and diving into fiction. That's how I roll. :)

Lovey, I hope all good things for you this season. If it looks like you expect, or if things get crazy. You're enough.  

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