Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What's Buried Inside You?

I graduated with a design degree a few (*ahem*) years ago from UNT.  I used it for about 6 years and then never thought much about it again.  I wasn't the best in my class.  I mean--how did people remember which leg style was Queen Anne and which was Chippendale?

So, I moved on to sales and corporate training and then stay at home mama.  The best was when I was a kids pastor and people asked me what seminary I went to--the shock on their faces when I said I didn't and explained my degree was priceless. 

Fast forward to 2013 and the 1st season of Fixer Upper.  Watching Chip and Jo was bittersweet for me because, when Brian and I were dating, our dream was to do exactly what they were doing.  We wanted to flip houses--Brian handling all the building/structural parts and me designing the spaces. It started stirring something up inside me again that I didn't even know was there, but I kinda just ignored it most days--I had a job I loved that provided insurance for my family and paid the bills.

In 2015, Brian and I took a post anniversary trip and started dreaming again.  Road trips do that for us.  While we were in the beautiful Missouri outdoors (in a hotel room with no internet or tv), we started talking about "What if..." again. 

I won't bore you with the details, but there were several things that happened in the space of those short few days that caused us to know the time was right for Brian to leave his retail mgmt. job and start his company back up again.  I would stay on at my job until the end of the year and then I'd join him full time in the adventure of BR Construction.

Needless to say, we got comfortable again and it took another full year before we made the leap for me to quit my job.  And I was only going to manage the office for Brian because I was going to pursue some other things. 

Some of those things worked out (I have a part time job for a little non-profit that I LOVE, I was able to consult with NBCF and create a volunteer mgmt. process for them, I traveled a little as a meeting planner), and some didn't (I have gotten no further in writing my book). 

The last month has opened up a new aspect to working with Brian.  First of all, it's WITH and not FOR (which is how it started out).  Secondly, he's making me use my design experience again. 

At first, I was so very nervous.  It's been years since I stayed on top of the latest color trends and knew what was the next hot thing in design.  So I started looking on the internet and buying magazines and talking to realtor friends.

And you know what?  I found that the designer in me is still there!  I buried her under insecurity years ago, but as I talk color and shower tile and cedar vs brick with our clients, I've found that it's as exhilarating as that first time you hop on a bike and ride downhill with the wind. 

So, I wonder, what's buried inside YOU?  What have you pushed aside because it won't pay the bills or just seems impossible to pursue?  You may have to wade deep through your insecurities to find it like me or you may know exactly what it is.  But, no matter what, it's worth naming and claiming.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

We're just a Little Cracked

One of my favorite things about getting married was registering for new stuff.  Shallow, I know, but I LOVED looking at dishes and fajita pans and mixers and, and, and...I could go on forever.

It was fun to start over with new stuff. Kinda symbolic, don't ya think?

Then you start using the dishes everyday.  And after a few years, they get cracked or even worse, broken and you have to throw them away,

These bowls in my cabinet remind me of my marriage.  They are used often and show the wear.  If they don't have a chip around the rim, they have hairline cracks in the bottom of them--not enough to get rid of them, but definitely making them more fragile and definitely not looking new anymore.

Our marriage started out like a cabinet full of new and shiny dishes.

And then the every day happened.  Work and kids and finances and unkind words said in bad moods all created cracks.  There have been things we've had to throw away. In some cases, we've replaced them with a better model, in others, we realized we never needed them in the first place.

A few weeks ago, Brian and I had an honest conversation about our marriage.  "Is it better now after going through the hard stuff?"

What a loaded (and scary) question!  I wanted our answer to be YES! surrounded by heart-eyed emojis and general sappy-ness.  Brian said it best when he said "It's more real."

In the beginning, our dishes were seldom used (after all, when it was just the 2 of us, we ate out a lot and it took a while to rotate through 12 bowls), so of course they looked pretty and shiny. And that mixer was wiped clean after every use.

As life happened, we didn't pay as much attention when we took the bowls out of the dishwasher and accidentally hit them on the side of the countertop.  And the poor mixer started getting flour caked on it because there wasn't time to wipe it down before the girls woke up from their nap--it was a miracle that the cake got in the oven!

Real isn't always pretty.  And it's usually surrounded by the monkey covering his mouth emoji instead of the heart-eyed smiley face one.  Sometimes it's no emoji at all.

But real is GOOD.  In fact, it's real good.

It's truth and love and laughter mixed in with the hurt and the frustration and the hard.  It's eating on those cracked dishes and being thankful they've survived. It's not thinking twice about throwing away the broken and making do with what's left.   It's still loving the pattern and knowing you would pick the same one again if you had it to do all over again.

No cracks means the dishes haven't been used.  Or that they've been handled very carefully and never had anyone banging their fork on them or scraping the bottom of the bowl with their spoon. It's the china in the cabinet that seldom gets taken out--it's pretty to look at, but you can't always enjoy eating on it because you're trying to be so careful.  It's hand-washing slowly instead of rinsing and laughing as you casually put it in the dishwasher.

Cracked dishes tell a story.  Not always the easy story, but the GOOD and REAL one.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

2017 Things to be Grateful for

I had this great idea to create a list of things I'm grateful for.  But it couldn't just be a list, it had to be a significant list--I would come up with 2017 things I was grateful for in 2017.  When I did the math, it came out to just finding 5 1/2 things every day.

That's not hard to do, is it?

Well, it's May 2nd and I've made it to 354.  To reach my goal, I should be at 671.  So, basically, I'm a little over halfway where I should be.  Or I'm halfway behind.  Whichever way you choose to see it.

I might catch up.

Then again, I might not.

But even if I stop today, I'll have 354 things I can look back on that I've been grateful for.  And yes, there may be several different types of food in that list, but there are also people.  So many people in my life to be thankful for.

What I'm finding is that gratitude breeds hope.  Some days that hope is brighter than others, but even on the darker days--especially on the darker days--hope can still be seen.

And it's good.