Beautiful Chaos

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the fight

July29

I was re-reading some things in my journal and found this I needed to share. I know it’s been eons since I’ve written in here, but the words never stop flowing in one way or another.

A verse I’ve been leaning on a lot this season is Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.” And I need to remember that truth because I’m a fighter. And I think that can be a wonderful quality he put in me. But, it can also mean me fighting at times when I’m not meant to.

So I reflected on this stillness that invites us to let God fight.

Because it’s in the stillness we seek his face, not a solution. Its in the stillness we hear his voice whispering to us above the noise of all the other voices. In the stillness our wounded, bleeding hearts see the impossible hope he offers. Wholeness. Healing. Rest. Peace. Comfort. Protection. Love. Purpose.

Only when we unclench our bleeding, battered, bruised fists and sit down amidst the chaos and mess we’ve created by our adamant fighting; our willful defiance that we can do this life on our own. Only then, in the deafening stillness, the awkward un-striving, un-productive moments, God battles for us in a way we never expect. A way that seems at worst completely impossible and at best ridiculously foolish.

He meets us.
He fights.
He wins.

He always wins.

Singing AS LOUD AS I WANT

May14

A few nights ago, in an attempt to keep the right side of my brain engaged in life, I belted the songs on the radio on the way to my group. As loud as I wanted.

I was fun for about 3 minutes until the song ended, and I realized it was one of the 5 popular songs I actually know. Then I kept waiting to hear another song I could jam to that wasn’t from one of my kid’s favorite movies. I never heard one.

But I think it still counts.

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Tribute to my favorite show of all time

April29

Last night I watched the last episode of my all time favorite show, Psych. It was a great final episode, but I made 2 major mistakes that made the show harder for me than it needed to be.

1. I didn’t know it was the final show until about 15 minutes until the end. So, instead of savoring the final episode, preparing myself for this being the last time I get to watch anticipating the new antics the guys get in, I was caught off guard. I wasn’t prepared for losing these friends forever.

2. My hormones are crazy out of whack. My body is struggling a lot since having Sawyer, and my hormones seem extreme, sometimes up, sometimes down. I am in one of those places down places right now. The show ended and I started crying. Kinda hard. Perhaps a little out of proportion, but it was an amazing show, so maybe not.

It really was a brilliant show that had all of the elements I like best. It was silly and sweet and over the top and hilarious and had a character with a superpower (kinda) and a team working together and mystery that wasn’t too scary or gory so I didn’t have nightmares. They changed the theme song to fit the silliness of multiple episodes. They did a whole tribute episode to one of their favorite 80’s shows: Twin Peaks. Now I didn’t get hardly ANY of that episode, being born in the 80’s when people were into it, but I just loved that they would even do that…oh Psych. You had it all.

I had dreams, multiple times, of me being friends with Shawn and Gus. Solving crimes with them or being friends with the actors themselves (who were, of course, just like the characters they played). I really loved Shawn and Gus. They cheered me up once a week or just gave me a break from The Serious to enjoy something light-hearted. Oh guys.

And if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I fall pretty hard for my favorite characters. I read a book series with characters I love and when it ends I need a break from books for awhile while I mourn the loss of some new friends.

And Shawn and Gus? I’ve been friends with them for 8 years. When Trav and I first got married Psych started and Trav’s brother liked the show. I started watching with him, back when it was Monk and Psych Fridays, and eventually turned Travis into a follower as well. We watched at his parent’s house for awhile, watched DVDs of the seasons we missed (no cable or internet), then had cable for a bit and hosted a Psych show party once a week. And now we watch via Hulu on our laptop connected to the tv.

I get super into books

March9

I’ve noticed something over the past few years. Whenever I finish a really good book series, I have to wait awhile before I can start a new one. I didn’t understand this phenomena at first but have recently figured it out.

I just finished reading the Vampire Academy series. [Don’t judge. They were pretty awesome.] Anyhow, that was a 6 book series! Every time I had to go sit upstairs and nurse Baby to sleep, Rose was there. Every time I had to go rock Baby at 2am for 2 hours, Rose was waiting for me.

For 6 whole books!!

And now she’s gone.

The reason I can’t just pick up another book series to get into? I just lost a group of friends and adventurers forever. I’m mourning.

And so the reason I have space to write this blog right now while I’m nursing is because I have no Rose and Dimitri to run to. I have no crazy magic good vampires to make my world feel a little bigger than these 4 walls.

Someday, I get to go on my own adventures and be the master of my universe (totally surrendered to God and wherever he leads of course), but these days I don’t really get to go on massive adventures. And sometimes it’s fun to pretend.

My friend crush

February20

I have a new obsession.

It started out innocently enough. People were posting things of his on Facebook and I was intrigued so I watched a few. Then I liked his FB page and watched them/shared them myself sporadically.

Then came the mid-night rockings and feedings because of a teething babe. I would watch one 5 minute clip from YouTube and they’d recommend another and another. Before I knew what was happening, I was watching clips way past getting baby to sleep.

And now, I’m determined to be best friends with Jimmy Fallon.

I have my concerns that he may not be as ‘real’ of a guy as he is on tv, but then I keep watching and I’m continually impressed by his heart and humor and have decided I really should give my bbf Jimbo the benefit of the doubt.

So, I keep watching and giggling and waiting for the day I meet Jimmy and he invites Trav and me over for dinner. Hopefully he’ll be impressed enough by our good looks to invite us back again because I’m not sure I’ll be able to say much that first time. Trav is really great under pressure so I’ll just let him carry us until I can chill out and realize he’s just a regular guy.

One of my favorite clips of Jimmy right now.

And another.

And another.

Happy Thursday.

Steps on the journey

February19

A few weeks ago we had a series of amazing conversations as we ate breakfast and shared my tea in the mornings. Layla asked me to read the story of Jesus dying on the cross. As I started reading, Seeley was eating and half listening but not really engaging. As I said some of the gruesome truth of this story, his ears heard what his mind couldn’t comprehend.

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Why did they do that to Jesus? And he listened to my answers. And asked more questions. Layla had her first moment of faith when she was 3 as well. Asking questions about what happens when we die. I think this was Seeley’s first understanding of the Savior’s love for us by taking on death and his first encounter with his rising from the dead and ascending to heaven. We read story after story. He didn’t want to stop, but baby woke up and needed my attention. We read again and again that week. We had so many conversations about God and his sacrificial love for us. He never “prayed the prayer”, but I don’t think he needs to say some magic words. He understood and believed that Jesus died because of his love for us and our sins needing paid for.

What a blessing to be a part of these faith journeys.

**If you need a great children’s Bible, look no further than The Jesus Storybook Bible. AH-mazing! It has made me cry multiple times in it’s story telling of the Father’s love for us and Jesus’ struggle. I wish they would make it bigger with so many more stories in it! On that same note, if you have a good “in between” Bible please let me know. Layla would love more, but couldn’t handle all.

9 things you didn’t know

January20

This was a “thing” going around facebook for awhile where you share a number of things about yourself and when someone “likes” your post, you give them a number and they complete the task as well. During that time I accidentally “liked” multiple of them, then would never remember/not really want to write out my own. So, I decided I’d take the biggest number I was given and write my things out on here. So, here it is. 9 things you didn’t know about me.

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1. I am great at the game Memory. The first round. Each time after that I get worse and worse. It’s like my brain can’t start over when a new game does. By the third game, I am shockingly terrible when I’ve seen 2 of the same cards. I mean terrible as in, not even in the vicinity of what I’m trying to find.

2. I currently have 26  lists on my iPhone and 2 on paper. I am a list machine. If all of the stuff in my head had to stay in there, I might just go crazy. Putting it down on paper (or iPhone) gets it out of my head and my brain is free to keep thinking. I used to not be able to use any technological device for my lists because I didn’t get to physically write anything down or cross anything off. The more babies I have, the less time I have around paper so I’ve had to adjust out of necessity. And yes, I’m one of those people who writes something on a list after it is completed just for the satisfaction of crossing it off. It’s totally legitimate.

3. I love baby smells. I daily smell Big Baby’s feet, breath, neck and yes, poo. They all smell good to me. His yawns are by far my favorite though. It’s the best way to get the most concentrated whiff. My mom is a smeller too. I get it honest.

4. I have aspirations of writing a booksomeday.  I think I’d have a lot of fun writing fiction and creating a story. Recently I’ve discovered I love listening to Spoken Word and have started wondering if I’d enjoy doing that as well. Writing a children’s book would be fun too!
5. I’m an idealist. This is news to me. I took a new personality test that said I’m a Harmony Seeking Idealist. I was surprised by both of those key words: harmony and idealist. I’ve never actually paid attention to what an idealist is so when I looked it up, I thought “yup, that pretty much sums up my outlook on life.” Idealist: dreamer, romantic, visionary, Utopian. I’m pretty pleased to see those words. I want to be those things so I’m glad that says it’s who I am! Harmony has always sounded so peaceful and mellow and I’ve never thought of myself in those terms, but after reading my results on that test, I couldn’t disagree that I seek harmony in my life and relationships.
6. I love trying new things and I love change. Just look at my hairstyles. I have one for a little while and then want something new. It’s not that I didn’t like the one I just had, it’s that I want to try something different. I get bored easily. We started Jurassic January with the kids, pretending the dinosaurs come alive at night and I was so into it the first week. But within a week I started forgetting andwas much less interested. Things become a discipline to complete after I’ve been doing them for awhile. But give me a new idea, or an opportunity to change my house around and I am ALL for it.
7. The first time I played golf with Travis I cried. I had been watching him play for 6 months to a year and he made it look like no big deal. It seemed like anyone could do it. All you have to do is swing the club and hit the ball. I played soft ball for a bunch of years and am pretty athletic, I thought I could totally handle it. Um, no. I missed the ball multiple times, hit it crazy crooked, asked Trav what I was doing wrong, he’d give me an easy pointer, and I’d try again. It would be a crazy shot again and so started the cycle. We played 3 holes on a par three course and I broke down. I haven’t tried to play since. It was not a fun time I had. I will go ride around with Trav while he plays though. I do enjoy the sun and his company.
8. I was a swimmer in high school. All 4 years. I always smelled like chlorine, always had wet hair the first few classes of the day, and always ate breakfast on the walk to school or in my first class. I enjoyed the practices alright but dreaded every single meet we had. I hated jumping into the pool knowing I would feel like I would drown when I got done. I think I mostly hated the pressure I felt before I jumped into the pool. I imagined my butt cheek coming out of my swimsuit and not being able to fix it as I tried to sprint down the lane, with all of the spectators watching my rear and me unable to do anything about it. I’m not sure why I didn’t adjust my nightmare to me stopping and fixing the wedgie, but the immature rule follower in me couldn’t even fathom not doing what I was supposed to do. At the end of each season I would be SO happy that it was over and so proud of myself for surviving, and I knew I’d put myself through it again the next year.
9. I’ve been a part of 3 friend’s births and I am itching to be at another. I love birth and how beautiful it is. So if you ever want an outside encourager to be at your birth, let me know! I’m IN!

Welcome to my new page!

January3

Hi everyone!! I am writing on my new laptop for my new blog! So much new it makes me excited! Welcome!! I am still trying to get things up and going, so bear with me while I figure it out, but this way you’ll get to discover new things as I figure them out. While I do love new, I’m easily frazzled by all computer/internet lingo and then shut down because I can’t figure out step 1, let alone get to step 10 where I’m trying to end up. Luckily I have a computer/internet guru who I can text and call and get almost all answers to my questions. Pretty excellent to have that at my disposal, but making timing work for everyone and getting my brain jazzed for new techie things is another story.

Anyway, I don’t plan on anything different going on over here, just more of the same as before just in a more “me” feeling space. I’m glad you’re here!!

New ending for Allegiant

December18

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t finished the divergent series by Veronica Roth or intend to watch the movies without knowing anything about how the story ends, this post is NOT for you. I will be spoiling your happiness. Well, sort of. In my mind, I’m making everything better. You’ve been warned (and equally enticed).

I LOVE this series. Well, 2 books and 49 1/2 chapters of it. But the way it all ended made me mad and angry. ALL of that and she DIES! I can’t handle that. I need happy endings. I need love and hope to win. The idealist in me can’t leave it the way it is. So, here is my version of the end. 
PS. I’m going to steal chunks from the book that don’t need redone. I know little about plagiarism laws (maybe I need to look into that further) but I’m hoping this covers my hiney. If it’s within asterisks it’s hers. If it’s all alone, it’s mine. 
Ok, so Tris has just beaten the death serum and gets into the Weapons Lab where David waits with a gun (Chapter 50). He talks to her about her mom and she gets closer to the button.
*I lunge toward the device. The gun goes off and pain races through my body. I don’t even know where the bullet hit me.
I can still hear Caleb repeating the code for Matthew. With a quaking hand I type in the numbers on the keypad.
The gun goes off again.
More pain, and black edges on my vision, but I hear Caleb’s voice speaking again. The green button.
So much pain.
But how, when my body feels so numb?
I start to fall, and slam my hand into the keypad on my way down.
The light turns on behind the green button.
I hear a beep, and a churning sound.
I slide to the floor. I feel something warm on my neck, and under my cheek. Red. Blood is a strange color. Dark.
From the corner of my eye, I see David slumped over in his chair.*
Then darkness. 
Chapter 51 is Tobias in the city. 
All stays the same until he gets back to the Bureau. 
*We walk through the abandoned security checkpoint without stopping. On the other side, I see Cara. The side of her face is badly bruised, and there’s a bandage on her head, but that’s not what concerns me. What concerns me is the troubled look on her face.
“What is it?” I say.
Cara shakes her head.
“Where’s Tris?” I say.
“Tris went into the Weapons Lab instead of Caleb,” Cara says. “She survived the death serum, and set off the memory serum, but she . . . she was shot.”* 
My mind goes numb. Shot? The way she says it makes me afraid. More afraid of anything I’ve ever seen in a fear landscape. “Is she ok? Where is she?”
Cara’s eyes meet mine, there is hope in them but it isn’t much. “She’s in the hospital wing. She was shot twice. They took her in a few hours ago. Caleb and Matthew are with her.”
“Can they fix her?” Christina yells. She sounds desperate, angry. 
“I don’t know.” Cara looks down. “With the wounds she had, I’m surprised she didn’t die on the spot.”
I want to punch her for saying that but I’m desperate now. Desperate to get to Tris. If what Cara said is true, she could be gone any minute and I have to see her. I need to be near her. 
I run in a frantic daze to the hospital wing with Christina close behind me. I see Caleb standing in the hall. “Where is Tris?”
Caleb looks at me carefully with fear in his eyes. I’m sure he’s thinking I’m going to kill him for letting Tris take his place. Maybe I am. Just not now. She is my priority. “She’s in surgery. She was shot twice and they took her in right away.”
“Where was she shot?” I say.
“In the head and chest. That’s all I know.”
It seems like days pass. Maybe they do. Maybe it’s just hours. I don’t know. I have been pacing this hall so long my legs are numb. I don’t care. I just need to hear something. A doctor comes out with Matthew close behind. 
The doctor looks tired but not defeated. “The bullet went into the front of her skull and clipped part of her brain then came out the back side. She’s stable for now. I think she would recover fine from that wound, but the other bullet hit her heart which is functioning, but barely. To be honest, I’m not sure how she’s still with us. With the condition her heart is in, it needs replaced, there’s too much damage. But it seems we don’t have any sort or donor list or anything. I’m sorry.”
He doesn’t know why they don’t have a list, but I do. There weren’t enough GP hearts worth saving before Tris erased the phrase “genetically pure”.
“Can I see her?” I need to see her. 
“I’ll let you know when you can go in.” He walks away. 
We are all silent. Matthew is the first to speak. “She beat the death serum. I can’t believe she did that. And it seems that the death serum is what saved her life this long.” I look at him, tired. Confused. “In its attempt to kill her, it slowed down the beating of her heart and in turn slowed down her blood loss. She should have bled out, instead, she lost a lot but not enough to kill her.”
I let that play in my head for awhile. In my concern for Tris, I didn’t process it when Cara said it before. She did it? She beat another unstoppable serum? I am filled with awe and grief simultaneously. Will I ever get to talk to her again? To tell her how brave and stupid she is? How strong and how proud I am? How much I love her and don’t want to live without her?
I collapse into a chair. I see Hana and Zeke down the hall talking quietly and watching Uriah. So much death has been a part of our lives since the very first attack simulation on the Abnegation. And it hasn’t stopped even since we left that place. It seems to follow us wherever we go. 
I think about Uriah and how his body is working but his brain is not. Well, his body is because of machines. His brain is too damaged to tell the body to do all the things a brain says to do. And then I think about Tris. Her brain would recover. She’s strong. I know that. But it’s her body that is going to fail her. 
“What if . . . never mind” Caleb shakes his head and puts his face in his hands. It seems he was thinking along the same lines I was. He sits up and starts again, with more resolve, “what if we just ask Uriah’s family? They’re going to let his body die anyways. Tris could live!”
Hope swells so deep inside me that I have to concentrate to push it down. Could we really ask that of Hana and Zeke? Ask for them to give a piece of their son so that Tris could live? 
Christina has her back to us. She has been staring out the window since Caleb started talking. She was the closest of us all to Uriah before the explosion. She sighs long and heavy. “Uriah would’ve wanted Tris to live. He wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s worth a shot to ask his family.”
She turns to look at us. I know she is right. Uriah wouldn’t want Tris to die along with him if he could save her. I also know that someone has to go ask them. She is waiting for me to volunteer. I want to tell her that I’ll do it. I knew his family. I was friends with Zeke. But after what I had to tell them today anything that comes from me might sound like adding insult to injury. And I want them to say yes. I need them to say yes.
Christina sighs again. “I’ll do it.”

She walks down the hall to Hana and Zeke. I watch them talking. The longer they talk the more I can’t sit still any longer. The result of that conversation decides the rest of my life. A never ending sea of grief or a new beginning together. I walk to lobby and stare at the statue with the drops of water slowly carving away the stone. Tris never liked slow and steady but instead preferred all at once. And that’s what she did here with this place. She opened the floodgates. 
“Hey Four!” Christina is practically skipping. “They said yes! They said Uriah would’ve been furious if they even thought about it for a second. The doctors checked, they are a match. They’re taking them in to surgery right now, but the doctor said you could go see her first.” She grabs my hand to lead me to her. My hope swells again but we aren’t out of the woods yet so I put it back in its place. 
In Tris’ room she looks so small and fragile. So different than the Tris I know. The one that jumped first on initiation day. The one that stood in her friends place while I threw knives. I take her hand and stroke her fingers. She has to wake up. A bandage covers most of her head and her face is all puffy but she still looks beautiful. 
Christina, Caleb and Matthew come in. They talk for a few minutes and each squeeze her hand and say and encouraging words, whether for her or me I’m not sure.

Then they come and get her. I kiss her lips and whisper, “I love you. I’ll see you when you’re done.” It feels strange to talk to her when she isn’t awake but maybe that’s how she felt when she was calling me out of the attack simulation I was under. She didn’t give up on me and I will do the same for her. “Be brave.” I call to her. 

Caleb and Christina are there watching her get wheeled away. As we sit and wait, I get the whole story. How the attack had to go early. How Tris made Caleb stay, how she told Caleb the words I needed to hear to know she didn’t want to leave me. I’m grateful to know that Caleb really didn’t get a choice. Of course she took his place. Of course. 

We wait for hours and hours. People keep offering me food, but I can’t eat. I doze a few times but I feel like I need to stay awake for her. Finally the surgeon comes out and I can’t read his face. His walk to us is the longest walk ever. “It was successful,” he says. “Uriah’s heart is beating inside of Tris.”

2 and a half years later
Tobias 
I look out of my apartment window at a mother bird feeding her babies in their nest. I should get up now. I have to get to my new job and my mom is coming to visit for the first time, but I don’t want to pry her arms off me. She looks so peaceful. So beautiful. 
As soon as she woke up from her heart surgery I asked her to marry me. Sometimes almost losing someone makes you realize what you want more than anything else. In my case, I realized I wanted her. So we got married 6 months later, with just a few people. After we said “I do” we jumped into the pit together. 
Hard to believe that was 2 years ago. Our life is so different now than it used to be. We decided to move back to the only place that felt like home and work to restore life here. 
Tris stirs. “Good morning.” She mumbles, her hair still on her face. I kiss her fiercely because remembering that I almost lost her makes me want to hold her and never let go. But I do let go eventually, Because she has so much to offer our city and I won’t be selfish enough to keep her from it. 
As we head out into this changing world of ours we kiss and smile and whisper, “Be brave.”
Excerpts From: Roth, Veronica. “Allegiant.” HarperCollins. iBooks. 
This material may be protected by copyright.

Christmas season reminders

December3

When I was growing up, the countdown to Christmas was one of my favorite times of year. I LOVED the anticipation of gifts, tradition, family and parties. I loved driving around looking at the lights. It was ALL so fun.

Now that I’m a mama, my role has shifted. Now I get to facilitate all of the fun, help create traditions and watch my kids delight in this season. But, I am paving the way a bit and am not quite sure what I’m doing. When we were growing up, none of us knew God yet so Christmas wasn’t about Him or His son. I’m trying to figure out what it looks like, what I want it to shift our focus to Him. 
This is what we’re trying this year to remind us the reason for the season. 
25 Christmas books from the library wrapped under the tree. Some will be light and silly fiction, some will be more meaningful fiction and some will be the story of Jesus’ birth. The kids will get to open one every day for us to read together. It will point us back to Jesus (most days) and serve as a fun count down complete with “present” opening. 

Advent wreath/calendar. This is intimidating to me, but I figure I’ll never know what I’m doing if I don’t just jump in. So, I’m jumping. I ordered an advent plan thing and we went out a bought a wreath to make. I didn’t know what I was looking for, super involved, more laid back and open, so I just got one and I’ll see what I think as we get going. 

There are daily readings for us to do together to keep pointing us back to the Reason. And lighting candles is always fun so our wreath has those as well. I’ll have to let you know what we think after we get going. 
Countdown calendar. We did this when I was little and it was my favorite thing. I looked forward to moving the mouse every time it was my turn. I figure it also teaches numbers, counting backwards and animosity between siblings when everyone wants it to be their turn :)
Christmas Jar. All year long we’ve been saving our coins and putting them in a jar. The plan is to use that money to help/bless someone this Christmas season. I’m just hoping we have have enough to do something with since we hardly ever use cash so we hardly ever get coins. I’m excited about this new tradition that will help them get in the mindset of giving and blessing, not only getting. 
That’s all we have this year. What things does your family do this time of year?
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