Eggs & Toast

Today is my birthday. I’m 26. I’m now over the hump on my way to 50. haha. This morning I woke up to an overcast sky….something I love in the morning. My dad made me scrambled eggs, toast with apple butter, fresh cherries & strong coffee. It was great.  As I took probably my third bite of eggs though…..he said, “If mom was here, she’d make this really special for you.” Obviously I lost it.

It’s now 10 o’clock & I’ve been crying off & on since 7. What is it about those little things, simply having a little breakfast of eggs & toast that gives you thoughts of your mom?  He was right, and suddenly those eggs & toast didn’t taste as good…they weren’t something I really wanted because all I really wanted was to have my mom here.  This is the first birthday I’ve ever spent without her.  Even when I celebrated my 20th birthday in NYC, my family flew out to visit me.  When I had a birthday on tour in Missouri, my sweet 16, my parents drove down to celebrate with me.

Birthdays are always big days. I like to make them special for other people, and I always want to do something big for my own simply because it’s a great excuse to do something extraordinary.  Here are some extraordinary things I’ve learned this year……You can always expect the unexpected, People mean much more than possessions, Miracles do still happen, Spur of the moment is usually more fun than something long awaited, When all doors seem closed look up because there might be a skylight, Sunsets over the ocean are meant to be enjoyed on land, Don’t think things are always too good to be true, Dare to love and have courage to hurt, Do not settle, and Appreciate any opportunity that comes your way.

This is just my morning birthday thought. I’ve other more “spiritual” things that I’ll write about later.  Enjoy the day!

A little shift.

I think something has changed. Temporarily? It’s possible. But changed? Definitely.  A friend asked me very cautiously, if since my mother’s death I looked at dying differently. To that I had an emphatic response of “yes…I’m not afraid of it at all.” I realize that as a believer, there’s no reason to fear death, but sometimes it’s not death you fear, but the unknown that surrounds it.  The unanswerable questions that after the fact won’t matter anyway.

I remember that when my friend Julie passed away, I was soon after on a trip to Mexico.  There we visited Copper Canyon in Chihuahua.  There was one cliff that we saw, that had a large rock at the very tip.  My friends discovered that the rock–rocked. You could stand on the rock & it would sway on the tip of the cliff.  I wanted a picture out there, but decided I wasn’t brave enough to stand on the edge, so I stayed on the “sturdy” rock in front.  Immediately after they took my picture though, I changed my mind & decided I couldn’t be that close & not stand at the edge. I quickly turned around, walked right out onto the rock & posed for a picture. Yes, I was probably about 200+ feet above the bottom of the canyon, with not much below me…not ANYTHING below me…but I realized that death didn’t frighten me. Why not live life & be a little daring?

This is not nearly as near to the story I just told, but last night as I drove away from my home, I spied a beautiful antique settee on the curb. I wondered, pondered & decided to drive on. Then I had a little twinge…why not turn around & see.  I turned a right and went around the block, pulled up in front of a quaint little house, walked up to the door & knocked. After a few minutes of curious knocking, a girl my age welcomed me with a big smile. I asked about the couch & she vibrantly answered “You like it? It’s yours. Think it’ll fit in your car?” Huh. See how easy that I was I thought? What did that hurt to ask?

That part of me …that is sometimes timid & nervous, is changing. I’m growing bolder, braver….little by little. It’s a good change, a welcomed change. I’m finding joy in this, and can’t wait to see what else awaits!

There has never….

Today the air seems heavy, my limbs feel weighted, one of my fingers has an insatiable twitching….I want to cry every time that I turn around the corner. I don’t know what it is about today….I have shivers on the inside and yet I want to stand or run out in the cold rain.  There are no real words to describe….I can’t tell you what would make me feel better. Doubtful if anything would.

There has never been a time in my life that I have not talked with my mother for more than two weeks. It has now been almost three weeks to the day that I last spoke to her. It wasn’t much…we talked about what was happening, we talked about how she felt and how she didn’t want to lose me. We talked about my new website I wanted to make, and how I had found a name I really liked…not for my site, but in general. The name was Lucile Ann.  I told her I liked that name because it was her middle name & my grandma’s first name. She told me before I left that day, that she really liked that name, but that I should put an “e” on Anne.

I remember playing piano, her playing music me playing notes. Somehow we always made music together and it sounded beautiful, our mixing of melodies. I remember gardening, weeding, and planting. I remember her stories that snap dragons would bite my fingers off if I got too close….I kept away because she was always truthful. I remember putting our fingers in the water, to feel the coolness & stirring of the unseen tremors of the water.

My joints ache with the pain of an unexpressed sorrow. The anticipation of days ahead leave me with urges to close my eyes and to not think, to not breath, to not imagine. And how can you imagine, when the future is so unclear, and unknown, indiscernible? I breathe. Once, twice, again & again. Waiting & hoping for relief.

Expectation vs. Reality

You know how you expect things….you know they’re coming, or you think they’re coming…but the way you expect to feel when they come isn’t at all how they feel once it becomes reality? It’s like your expectations meant nothing because nothing prepared you for this. And no matter how long you’d been expecting it…it just wasn’t what it really was when reality hit? Hm.

It’s like if you play a scene in your head…you know that Thing A will be happening…so you process all the possibilities & probabilities of what will be the effect of Thing A, that causes Thing B. You convince yourself that Thing B will be great, that it’ll be grand, that it will work out. But when Thing A comes along, you react, turning into motion Thing XYZ and not even close to B….and then you freeze.

It happened tonight. As I’m wrapping presents, alone in my parents house. I’m wrapping all of my families presents. The door bell rings, from someone unexpected. Then here on the door is a friend, bringing care packages to my family, because he knows that this Christmas will be different. Yes it will. I knew it would be….I prepared for it. But as I took the packages, thanking him for his prayers & care, I placed them gently on the chair and started to cry. How is it that someone ELSE knew how hard a different kind of Christmas this would be….but to me, I had no idea! I get that this isn’t going to be like this every Christmas from here on out….but this one, THIS one….it’s just hard & it sucks. And everyone around me knew it….but I didn’t. I thought it’d be fine, it’d be an adventure. Hm.

As I’m writing this, two verses come to mind. Philippians 4:7, which says that “…the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts & minds in Christ Jesus.” ….So I know that He is guarding me, and will put peace in my heart that I may not understand. And I also know that “The Lord is my Rock my Fortress and my deliverer, my God is my Rock in whom I take refuge.” (Psalm 18:2) Therefore I know that He will be the one to bring me through….to bring US through. I may not be prepared for what’s next….but I know that when my expectations meet reality, God will be the one who will comfort, provide, protect & reveal all that it is I am to know and do.

Where I want to go….top 22 places!

22. Antarctica If I EVER get a chance to go here & it won’t make me bankrupt, I want to go. Probably wouldn’t last long though because I hate cold weather….but I’d still go.

21. French Guiana Here’s a country that I’d like to see just because….mainly because I’ve met a few people from here, and it’s always fun to see where they are actually from! I found a picture of this old French fort outside of Cacao and if I go, I’d want to make a stop here.
20. Canada I can’t say that this has ever been TOO high up on my list, but the mere fact that I am only hours away from a whole other country, makes me want to go….just to say I’ve been there.
19. Burkina Faso I put this country on the list because I just photographed a wedding, where the groom was from here. Curiosity I guess! This mosque looks really great too!
18. Philippines It seems that dangerous & war prone areas are the ones that attract me. Despite the instability of the Philippines, I’d love to see this unique country.
17. Namibia Not really sure why, but during a missions Sunday at my old church, the country of Namibia popped into my head. I got the giggles during church because I just thought it was SO random. It makes me want to go there & figure out what the reason was.
16. Norway Years ago, I became friends with a few people who are from Norway. Hearing about life there from them, sounded really cool! It sounds like nowhere I’ve ever been….except that everyone in Minnesota is Scandinavian…so it sounds a LITTLE like home, but much cooler. I’d love to see the Fjords and the fishing villages!
15. Netherlands Duh. I’m half-Dutch, why wouldn’t I want to go see where my relatives came from? The locks & waterways sound awesome! As well as I’d love to see how much of my family’s characteristics are from the Netherland culture….or just because we’re crazy!
14. Bosnia One time I was only yards from the border of this country…but it was manned with heavily armed guards…so we stayed away. It piqued my interest & I hope to one day go here after/before one of my Romania trips. Ravaged by war & in many ways still untouched by western culture changes, it would be great to see this country.
13. Israel From the beginning, this area and the people living here, have been such a critical part of history. Wars, conflict, religion, passion & doctrine have come out of this place, so I wonder who wouldn’t want to go here if given the chance. Who knows how long this country will last…so I’d love to go before it’s gone as we know it!
12. India I’ve known many people from India, and always been intrigued by the uniqueness of culture & traditions. The colors here look outstanding, and there can’t be enough said about the food & friendliness of the people. I’ve heard it is very dirty & smells….but I could put up with that while I indulge in their beautiful country.
11. North Korea I remember learning about North Korea in 5th grade. I wanted to go then…and still want to go now, although I realize it’s very dangerous and currently illegal. Still, I want to explore this hidden & guarded land. Maybe someday.
10. Greece History. Culture. Warm weather. Kalamata olives. Feta cheese. Blue roofs. Need I say more?
9. Brazil Look at these waterfalls & the power in them! They are the Iguassu Falls….and this picture is sick. It makes me want to hop on a plane NOW!
8. Ecuador When I was just a little girl, apparently we had a missionary from Ecuador come to visit our church. I was enthralled by them, and ran around the house saying…(phonetically & emphasis added)… “KEE-TOH, EK-a-door.” I’ve been drawn to it ever since.
7. Croatia This is a land that has been ravaged by war, and yet retains so much beauty right on the coast of the sea. Just soak in these bright red roofs contrasted by the teal blue sea….a—mazing.
6. El Salvador This is some place that I’m just curious about. You don’t hear about it often, and sometimes those are the best places! My great aunt visited here once, and got these photos of a man & woman making hats & clothing in a dimly lit room…it captivated me. Where are these people from, what is their life like?
5. Argentina Last fall, I went through a time where employment was uncertain for a few of us. During that time, trying to find hope of something else if we found pink in our mailboxes, my friend & I decided that we would move to Argentina. This country has such diverse landscapes….from snow to beaches, rain forests to deserts. Amazing.
4. Turkey A country full of culture, history, religion & adventure…what’s not to love? I recently found a destination here that I simply MUST see some day. It is called “cotton castles” or Pamukkale, where sulfuric hot pools bubble up from the earth & over flow into a facade of snow like drifts, welcoming relaxation seekers to find peace in their warm embrace. (No, I did not copy this…..that is truly what I feel towards this wondrous natural wonder.) AH.
3. Spain (Palma de Mallorca) This is a destination that has been on my list for a while. My Aunt apparently always spoke of Palma de Mallorca as one of the most beautiful places she traveled to….which says a lot, being she was ALL over the world. Two of my brothers’ biological siblings live here, so it would be great to visit!
2. Egypt Since I was little, I’ve always wanted to see Egypt for myself. I’m fascinated with history & archeology, that Egypt would be like a “mecca” type trip for me. Someday I want to dress in colorful robes & ride a camel around the Pyramids.

1. Morocco I want to see Morocco SO bad. It just brings such intrigue & culture. Colors (like in this picture) really draw me to places like this. Also, my Aunt Helen visited Morocco too & I currently have her photos hanging in my room. She caught such beauty that I want to experience it too!!