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31 May 2013

As I Sit....

I sit and listen to the deep breathing of a baby as he begins to awaken from his morning nap on the play mat. I hear the sweet sound of an almost 2 year old's pleading to get out of a nap.  I hear the birds chirp and hear the dog paws scratching on the deck as an old dog begins her journey in search of someone she can kiss and get some lovin' in return.   

It is a peaceful morning in the mountains at my sister's house and a great way to begin the weekend. 


The day will end with a really nice dinner with friends who have become family and a late night drive down the interstate. 

I hope your weekend finds peace, hope, kisses, and lovin' :)

28 May 2013

Up Close and maybe Too Personal

I spent a day last week repotting plants with my mom. I have several plants that were not repotted in my time in Boston. In the city it is too much work to lug around bags of potting soil.  As we began it became apparent that my spider plants were root bond. I wish I had taken a picture of the roots. When the plants were removed from the pot the roots were so tightly wound around each other that soil was almost nonexistent.  The picture shows the thirteen spider plants that were removed from my one very small blue pot.  How sad. 
The plants weren't healthy. They were pale and anemic looking.  I get it. Many are surprised to find that I am an introvert. 

I love people young and old. Really I do. I can put on a smile and meet new people and fulfill the proper actions. However -- meeting new people is terrifying to me. People always say how surprising that is for them. "It seems so easy. " "You seem so natural. "  

The truth is -- it is a skill I have developed. I grew up as a minister's daughter. Move to a new church and everyone expects you to know them because they know your name. They never seem to realize that they only have 4 names to learn while we have 100s. You learn really quickly how to paste on a smile, be friendly, and never let on that you are uncomfortable. 

That being said - I love spending time with a small group of close friends or family but I regain my energy from time alone or with one other.  

 I understand my plants -- when surrounded by too many for too long you either lose a part of yourself or you just don't make it. 

I lost part of myself in the process of finding myself in Boston.  Time in the country, hands in the dirt, wandering through farmer's markets, and laughter with friends and family has begun a renewal. 

I am ready for a new start but I am going into it with specific goals for myself. A neighborhood in which I can run. A possible adult gymnastics class. Cello lessons. A church in which I fit and can be involved. ( but not too involved). I need balance. I long for balance. 

How do you find balance?
Happy spider plants. 






15 May 2013

Head to Wall. Repeat.

Each day I awake to the following sound....
tap. Tap. TAp. TAP. TAP. TAP. taptaptaptaptap.

Get the picture?

The culprit?

A lovely red male cardinal who beats his head against my sliding glass door each day in attempts to take out the other lovely red male cardinal in the window.

Himself.

While the tapping is incredibly obnoxious it is a sound that resounds deep within me.

How often do we tap our fingers as we fidget?  How often do we bang our heads against the wall in frustration / aggravation / or anguish?  How often do we fight ourselves?

Each day we awake with a need to have a day that is better than the one before.  A day in which we are better than we were the day before.

We lose a few pounds and are happy but then we look in the mirror and wish for more.  We like the outfit we are wearing but wish it were different or that we had more?  We get our haircut and it is good for a week and then we convince ourselves that it is no longer good enough.

We are loved unconditionally by a Father no matter our look, our size, or our job. And yet we tear ourselves down with each breath we take and take shots at others around us.  We listen to society as they whisper in our ear that we are not enough. That we will never be enough.

What will it take for us decide that we are perfect just the way we are?

I don't have the answer --- this is an answer I seek on a daily basis.  I can only try to be the best me that I can be.

One of my favorite quotes---

"All you've got is all you can give and that will always be enough."
-Sarah Mueller

12 May 2013

Commencement Complete.

I arrived home last night around midnight after a mini vacation to Boston with my mom, dad, sister, and friend.

The day of commencement began with a hooding ceremony and was followed with commencing of diplomas.

 I am surrounded by lovely people at the end of the alphabet and when the ceremony became boring the shoe watching increased.  Those nurses wear some CRAZY shoes!







More pictures to follow later ---- For now..... my bed is calling my name.

08 May 2013

07 May 2013

Job!

I now officially have a job at the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, VA.  (http://www.chkd.org/)

I will share more later but for now ----

Lots of Praise for an unexpected job in an unexpected place. Thrilled.

Now.... to pack my suitcase for Commencement in Boston with family, classmates, and friends.


05 May 2013

Broken Hallelujah.


The song "Hallelujah" has been on my mind a lot lately.  In response I currently awake to the tune each morning.
It seems to me we go through phases.  Some phases include a strong hallelujah, some are a bit less strong, and some phases are more for the Broken Hallelujahs.
During this morning's sermon a verse was loosely quoted --- when we are so broken that we can't even voice our needs/requests -- the Holy Spirit speaks on our behalf.
Deep in my soul I know that God not only hears my strong and boisterous Hallelujahs He also hears our quiet broken Hallelujahs spoken when it takes every ounce of strength we can muster.
No matter phase you are currently in --- I hope you know you are loved. You are cherished. You are supported.
(I like this video of the song -- it was recorded backstage during Winter Jam.  It's like going to church as these girls worship their Father)



Hallelujah
I've heard there was a secret chordThat David played and it pleased the LordBut you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifthThe minor fall, the major liftThe baffled king composing hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujahHallelujah, hallelujah
Your faith was strong but you needed proofYou saw her bathing on the roofHer beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chairShe broke your throne, she cut your hairAnd from your lips she drew the hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujahHallelujah, hallelujah
Maybe I've been here beforeI know this room, I've walked this floorI used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble archLove is not a victory marchIt's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujahHallelujah, hallelujah
There was a time you let me knowWhat's real and going on belowBut now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you?The holy dark was moving tooAnd every breath we drew was hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujahHallelujah, hallelujah
Maybe there's a God aboveAnd all I ever learned from loveWas how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
And it's not a cry you can hear at nightIt's not somebody who's seen the lightIt's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujahHallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujahHallelujah, hallelujah
(Rufus Wainwright)

04 May 2013

I Long.

I long for Community.

I long to Belong.

I long for Family.

I long for Fresh air and Open spaces.



I long for Confidence in me as a person and my gifts/skills.

I long for Understanding.

I long for Peace.

Everyone longs for something.  For what do you long?


01 May 2013

Kids.

Today I smell like baby.  You know the smell. Baby shampoo. Rice cereal. Breast Milk. Wet Kisses. Love. 

I don't have kids of my own but God has blessed me with the opportunity to love on many children in my lifetime.  Today it was love for my adorable nephews.  Seriously. A-dor-a-ble.

Photo Photo

Have you seen anyone cuter? If you say yes -then I don't believe you :)

It's time to get ready for bed. Shower. Pjs. Etc.  And yet I find myself hesitant because then I lose the smell of my little loves.


Looking forward to being in the same state or neighboring state to watch my tiny loves grow into strong, independent, compassionate, respectful, amazing men of God.


-Aunt Christa

28 April 2013

Community. Love. Friends.


The last couple of weeks have stretched my comfort zone.  No. Let’s be honest – it has pushed me far outside my comfort zone on an almost daily basis. 

 A last minute change in plans sent me to Virginia instead of Boston on marathon weekend.  Coincidence? Nope. Probably not.


The trip to Virginia reaffirmed my worth as a physical therapist and opened up possible job opportunities when I was beginning to lose hope.  Coincidence?  Nope. Probably not.


I was able to meet one of my best friends for dinner as I was desperate to talk things through.  It was a night in which she just happened to be available as I passed through her town on the interstate with a last minute dinner request.  Coincidence?  I think not.



I spent the beginning of this weekend with a lady and man I knew from BSU many many years ago and their rock star brood.  I signed up for a women’s day at their house months ago while I still lived in Boston.  This seems like nothing to you as you read it.  I know that – because you don’t really know me.  I responded to the invite because God was nudging (or shoving)– and I wrote it on the calendar so I would have no ability to back out.  It was a commitment – I don’t back out on commitments.  As the date drew closer I became more terrified at the decision I made. 

It is a group of ladies that I have never met! I will have to screw on a smile, cover up the mess that I am and hope there is something about me that they like. 


The lovely lady hosting is a lady I knew --- but didn’t really know in BSU 10 years ago.  She was more than an acquaintance but less than a good friend.  She was the cool Senior girl in BSU while I was the young awkward freshman who felt like she didn’t fit in anywhere.  This is the lady who is willing to put it all out there ( http://loriharris.me/ )and inspires me on a regular basis with her transparency and authenticity as I hide in the shadows and hope no one notices me.  


Her husband is the pastor who blows you away with his “boy next door --- simple and true” --- Love for God. He is who he is -- a kind, compassionate, God loving man. Loving husband and great dad who genuinely cares about the people that God places in his path.  He listens.  He replies.  He loves.


Their kids.  What can I say?  Six.  I had never met them before this weekend.  ROCK STARS! I was concerned.  Not of the kids --- but my ability to remember all of their names   These kids are respectful, loving, helpful, compassionate, unique, quirky, and downright lovable.  They are everything I thought their kids would be and so much more.  (Not to mention the singing and dancing --- loved it!)


A group of ladies.  God actually expected me to sit in a living room surrounded by  women I have never met and find fellowship.  Find community. Find hope.  Oh--- I wanted to run.  My head hurt, my heart raced, and my throat closed up.  I begged for things to do so that I didn’t have to think about the women coming to the house.   My time with Lori and her family the night before was amazing and I didn’t want to mess up the growing friendship by doing/saying the wrong thing with this group of women.  And let’s be honest --- after having to screw on my smile to meet so many new people over the last week and a half --- I was exhausted.  Exhausted from pretending to be more perky than I felt, attempting to be what I deemed “lovable” and hiding the exhaustion that is overwhelming.


The day was great.  The laughter was easy.  The women were authentic.  We shared pieces of our junk and we left feeling like we knew a little more about each person.  


This weekend was a weekend I was excitedly dreading.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to get to know Lori more (in our older versions of ourselves) and looking forward to having my cup filled a bit by fellowship with a group of believers.    


God laughed at my innocence – at my dimmed sense of hope – at my hesitation to embark on this journey.  He filled my weekend with laughter, joy, and fellowship. 


The weekend included heartfelt and true discussion that involved asking/answering the hard questions that you hope no one ever asks you.    But God provided great support for the journey – a lady who loves the Lord and wakes up every day and loves everyone around the best way she knows how while hoping the next day will be better.  A lady wanting to be used by God in a powerful way.  A lady who doesn’t always see what a blessing she is to others.  A lady who feels like she is often waging this battle called life “alone” --- that she is the only person who feels the way she does.  


She is an amazing lady.  A blessing to many.  She isn’t alone.  Her blog posts make me cry.  They are the words that I feel but can’t find strength enough to speak them – much less type them for the few blog readers to read.  God uses her to challenge me to be authentic – to accept my junk for it has made me who I am – to love the parts of me that I hate – and to keep going on the days that I prefer to hide under the covers of my bed.


God knew where I needed to be this weekend – by the fire pit with an adorably quirky group of children and their lovely parents, in the kitchen prepping food with a friend, laughing with tears in our eyes, and talking about the junk in our lives, ending my day tucked under a pink bedspread listening to beach sounds and young children sleeping, and sitting on a couch surrounded by unfamiliar women with a shared love of our Father.  


He knew where I needed to be this weekend and He planned it months in advance.


I am blessed. 


26 January 2013

Sometimes you just have to laugh...

....and today is one of those days.  The options are to laugh or cry.  I'll choose laughter.

I awoke this morning with a sense of dread and drowning in worry.  It didn't help that I apparently slept through FOUR different alarms and awoke 3 hours later than planned.  You see --- the NPTE (National Physical Therapy Exam), my board exam, is 3 days away.  Only THREE and this week has not gone as planned.  And so --- I have 3 days to learn enough to hopefully slide by with a passing grade.  The fear is of not passing, of having this test hanging over my head for another 3 months, or having to study day in and day out till the point of exhaustion.  But it happens.  Some of the smartest PTs I know either squeaked by with one or two questions or they had to retake the exam.  The fear is valid.  How I handle the fear is the important part.


It would have been really easy to skip my quiet time today.  I got out of bed 3 hours late.  I have a ton of things to do and learn.  I need to walk to CVS for bread, etc....  So many options for excuses.  And yet there was a need to spend time in my Bible this morning.  He knew I needed that time and He knew exactly what I needed to hear.  One of the verses in Jesus Calling (for Jan 26th) hit the spot.  




"He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord."
Psalm 112:7

(Pass or Fail - It is all going to be okay but it is still worth the risk -
 in hopes that Tuesday will be my one and only time sitting for this horrific exam.)

09 January 2013

Morning Blessings

Each new year we make a list of our New Years resolutions --- and then we are annoyed as we fail most or all of them.  This year seemed like a good year for a change.  I have officially graduated from graduate school with my DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy).  I am now cramming for my Boards with the realization that the worst that can happen is that I have to retake them in April --- and let's be honest --- far worse things have happened in my life.  So each day I pray for peace, perseverance  a release from the fear/worry, and the energy to continue..

This year for my list of resolutions --- I had ONE! "Regain and Maintain Balance in Life."  It seems short, sweet, and to the point.  Under that umbrella is --- cook more, try new recipes, Bible study each day, active lifestyle, workout, more time with friends & family, Me Time, craftiness, new job, Realistic Expectations for myself...... and the list goes on and on.  The last 7-8 years have been grueling.  Years of pre-reqs with prayers of getting into PT school.  Followed by years in school without a moment to call my own or a chance to take a deep breath.  I have gained much over these years but I also feel like I have lost a part of me.  My resolution is the first step to gaining part of that back --- and discovering what's new with me.

That being said.  I am currently reading the One Year Chronological Bible (gift from my Sister) and Jesus Calling (by Sarah Young) each day.  I realize it is only the 9th day of the year but I am celebrating little victories.  I am up to date and have only had to play catch up once. It is amazing to me how the words end up being a perfect match for my need on the days I need Him most.  

Today I woke up anxious.  I have a lot to review and a lot to learn in very little time.  The exam is now officially less than 3wks away and I would love to feel semi prepared in 2wks so that the last week is just review and hitting on tough stuff that won't stick (very technical :) ).  That being said... Here are some nuggets from today.. and I will include a few from yesterday...

Cling to Hope -- "Hope is like a golden cord connecting you to Heaven.  The more you cling to the cord - the more God wears the weight of your burdens." (J.Calling)

"I am with you and for you.  When you decide on a course of action that is in line with My will, nothing in heaven or on earth can stop you.  You may encounter many obstacles as you move toward your goal, but don't be discouraged -- never give up! ... Do not expect an easy path as you journey...Much, much stress results from your wanting to make things happen before their times have come." (J.Calling)

Psalm 46:1-2,5 ; "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will NOT fear." "God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day."

Romans 12:12 "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."

Genesis 26:12 " (Isaac) harvested one hundred times more grain than he planted, for the Lord blessed him." (He not only provides what we need --- He does immeasurably more.)

Luke 1:37 "For nothing is impossible with God."
(An easy one to memorize and a great one to recall throughout the day.)

Luke 1:45 "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished."
(This was on the opposite page from v. 37.  Verse 37 was in my readings for today.  I read v. 45 today because it was colored with lots of notes in the margins.  God keeps sending me to this page a key moments in my life --->  applying for first pre-req, first day of first pre-req, day applications for grad school were completed, MGHIHP interview,  1st day at IHP, finals 2nd yr IHP, and now today.... It was a nice reminder of where I have been.)