When Life Feels Fast

Most of us are blessed with friends throughout the various seasons of our life.  People we hang out with.  People we eat dinner with.  People we laugh with.  People who will meet us for coffee, help us move, send us an encouraging text, make a meal when we have babies…people who just show up.  Friends.

Then sometimes in a random season of our life, we meet more than a friend.  We meet that person.  The one who stops long enough to really hear our story.  The one who actually prays when we ask her to pray.  The one who thinks we’re funnier than we actually are.  The one who follows up on the details of our life.  The one who loves our kids even when they’re nuts.  The one who gets us.  These friends are rare.  These friends are special.  These friends are to be cherished.

Three years ago, I didn’t even realize I was meeting one of these friends.  At a routine residency retreat brunch, the girl across the table and I realized that we both had two little boys about the same age and had both just moved into the same neighborhood, living only a half a mile apart from each other.  She looked across the table and said, “Let’s just be friends, okay?”  My reply, “Okay!” 

In that moment, a friendship began far beyond what either of us had expected.  Here we were two grown women…mothers, wives…with lives full of the caring of our little families.  Yet, there was space in our lives for that friend.  We found understanding in each other’s companionship.  We found a common faith connection…often discovering that what God was doing in one of our hearts mirrored what He was doing in the other’s heart.  We just got each other. 

We listened to each other.  We encouraged each other.  We spoke the truth to one another when no one else was brave enough to say what we needed to see.  We brought each other meals.  We dropped off ice cream and candy on the worst days.  We borrowed each other’s movies.  Our kids played in each other’s backyards.

As the years have passed, we have seen each other through some of the most unexpected turns life has thrown each of us.  Some moments of the deepest pain.  Some moments of incredible joy.  And all the in between moments of everyday life.  The moments that are so plain, yet so important to have someone else be witness to.  The thousand text messages that have flown through the air mean more than words can even express.  Known.  Valued.  Loved.

In just a month, this friend and her family will move multiple states away.  Her husband graduates from the residency in June.  They have an exciting next season of their life beginning this summer.  We always knew this would come.  At the beginning of three years, this point seemed so far off…someday.  But now that we’re here, life feels so short.  It flies by faster than can be grasped.  Friends of the deepest kind move.  And we start new seasons of life.  New seasons of friendship.

Over the course of my thirty-two years, I’ve been blessed with more than one of these friends.  Women who really got me.  Women who still walk beside me in life even though we’re thousands of miles apart.  Seasons shift, our frequent contact my lessen, but I know that I am known, valued, and loved in these friendships. 

If you have one of these friends, take a minute today to tell her how grateful you are for her in your life.  Take a minute to take God for giving you such an incredible gift.  Don’t take for granted the unique and precious gift of a friend who truly gets you.  Call her up for coffee.  Make the most of these moments. 

If you don’t have one of these friends but long for deeper friendships, start praying.  Ask God boldly for friends.  Friends who get you.  Then go out and be friendly.  If you long for meaningful friendships, go be that kind of friend.  Invite the new girl and her kids over for a playdate.  Ask that couple down the street to come over for dinner in the backyard.  Keep an eye out for those who are new, on the fringes, or seem alone.  Be the girl across the table who says, “Let’s just be friends, okay?”  Be a good friend and at some point you may actually discover that you’ve met a good friend in return. 

Life is short.  Spend time with those who are valuable in your life.  Tell them you love them, appreciate them, and are grateful for them.  You never really know when this season will be over.  Cherish the now.  

That it will never come again
Is what makes life so sweet.

Emily Dickinson


Let's Go Live Our Life

I knew that this trip home would be significant in regard to life after our Sabbath year.  I felt that there would be a significant “knowing” while we were here that would direct us toward what is next.  Ever since I left Reno almost six years ago, my heartstrings have been pulled back here.  My friends, my family, my church, my Lake Tahoe, my city.  And while God kept speaking about His purposes in Tulsa for me, my marriage, and my little family, my heart has continually been pulled back home to Reno. 

We have been considering next steps for after our Sabbath year (because after you Sabbath, you work).  We’ve continually kept the possibility of “home” in our considerations.  Do we move back?  Is this next season the season to be in this place that we love with so many people we love?  I knew that three weeks in this place would give us a definitive sense of what comes next.

Surprisingly, as we have settled into our visit here, we have also settled into a deeper knowing that our next season is not here.  Val and I have had many talks in our days here about life, about our gifts, about our hearts, about our longings, about this place, about the future…and in these conversations, there has been a growing sense that our next season is one of going out and living our life.  A season of development and building.  We have loose hopes of a handful of things we’d like to pursue and grow in…and the best path for those things in the near future isn’t here. 

So, we head home with a solid sense that it is time to go live our life.  I feel an uncanny release from this place.  For sure, it will always be home.  There is no doubt about that.  There are deep roots in this place for me, for my heart, for my little family.  But this is the season for us to spread our wings and go fly. 

We have a few more days in town before we head back to Tulsa.  We are trying to maximize what matters most.  Time with family.   Time with friends.  Favorite foods that can only be found here (Bully’s chicken strips…man!).  Painting night with my sisters, their spouses, and my parents.  I am enjoying all the time I am getting with my sister and her new baby.  I love that my boys have had so much time with my parents.  And I am loving the scenery of this city as I drive around in it each day.

I am so grateful for this time out here.

And I am ready to go live our life. 


Keeping It Real

In case my last blog post was a bit too “perfect” for you, let me fill you in on our trip home thus far.  While certainly not a terrible trip, this visit home has definitely gone a little different for me than I expected.

I thought I was just a little run down when we got to Reno and that the dry air was affecting me.   But that “dry” throat didn’t leave for days and days into the trip.  And the night that I fell asleep in the middle of a conversation with Val led me to believe that I might actually be more than just exhausted…maybe even sick.  Leaving me afraid to hold my new nephew.  

In addition to a sore throat and exhaustion, Silas had been getting up rather frequently before we left town and the first few nights in Reno.  I didn’t understand his choppy sleep until I discovered his first tooth the second day in town.  Which also explained his edginess.  He is the happiest baby ever, so him being edgy was so confusing until the tooth.  So.  We happen to be visiting home with a teething baby. 

Not only is he teething, but he also just reached the stage where he is not too sure about strangers.  Every person we meet on this trip happens to be a stranger to him, since he’s never been here before nor met most of these people.  There is no way he is letting anyone other than Val or I hold him on this visit.

One of our kids (and myself) happens to really struggle when we are outside of our daily routine.  We can see behavior struggles rise when we step away from our regular rhythms.  The shift in our regular rhythms plus the different location plus increased relational connections make for stressful moments…for both him and me.

Plus, even if all those changes didn’t affect any of our kids, the truth is that we’re still parenting kiddos even on our trip.  So there is going to be just the regular, everyday parenting stuff. 

Being home also brings up things inside myself that I don’t notice when I am far away.  So much of my life was lived here, that very personal internal struggles arise right along with those amazing feelings of home.

Val flew down to Vegas for a quick overnight trip to connect with some of his people out there.  Only his welcome back yesterday went terribly…complete with me angrily snapping at everyone in the little rental car because I just couldn’t handle one more noise (which was really just the final straw and not at all the real issue).  That little meltdown kicked off an entire day that just limped along in struggle.  Sometimes coming back together as a family after being apart can feel so disjointed and disconnected.

I spent time yesterday apologizing to each person in my little family, praying over each relationship that Jesus would heal the hurts I had caused in my frustration.  Val and I prayed for our hearts to be reconnected.  As a family, we prayed for reconnection and restoration…asking for peace to flow in and through us again.

And as we got up this morning, we leaned heavily into the truth that “His mercies are new every morning.”


A Trip Home

Home means Nevada
Home means the hills,
Home means the sage and the pine.
Out by the Truckee, silvery rills,
Out where the sun always shines,


While it is true that I make a home of wherever God leads my little family, it is also true that my roots, my hometown, my heart-home will always be Reno.

The air is crisp and clear.  And I feel like myself here.  Home. 

One of the greatest blessings of this Sabbath year is Val’s reduced work schedule.  This current work schedule (and some trading days with his job-share partner) has allowed us to take a trip home for almost three full weeks.  This is a total gift.  Yesterday, we prepped and packed and took three boys on two airplanes, flying over seventeen hundred miles to go home.  My parents have opened their home to us for this time, making all five of us more than comfortable.  Loved.

I got to see my newest baby nephew last night…my sister’s first baby.  We got time with her and her husband last night, too.  My dad got to meet my baby, Silas, for the first time today.  This afternoon all the cousins will see each other.  Family.

I feel alive in this place.  I feel expectant of hearing God during this restful visit.  I look forward to connecting with friends who have walked so many seasons of life with me and know my heart so deeply.  Known.

I sip tea today and look at my mountains.  I watch my boys play in my parents’ yard.  There is a hope in Val and I as we rest in this place that is so good for our souls.  This is where we met.  This is where we became friends.  This was our starting place long before there was an “us.”  Rest.  Reconnecting.  Renewal.

I am grateful today to be here. 

Here is the land which I love the best,
Fairer than all I can see.
Deep in the heart of the golden west

Home means Nevada to me.