things I didn't know- 2

In three months, our lives changed dramatically. My man got and started a new job, our babe was sick for over four weeks, and we decided to let go of some big things. We traveled often, watched our little learn how to roll over and discover the joy of sweet potatoes, and welcomed summer with open arms. I feel different, lighter, more focused, excited and expectant, that I did a few months ago. Along the way, here are the things I discovered I didn't know but now can thankfully claim as knowledge. 

The importance of always having toilet paper in the bathrooms

No one does this better than my mom. At any given point if you use the last of the toilet paper in her house, you just look to the left and there is holder filled with three extra rolls. After NUMEROUS instances in our home where one of us has had to launch a roll upstairs, I wised up. Now, all the bathrooms have baskets that are thoroughly stocked. It's a simple joy we can't get over.

Ugly Betty would be an afternoon treat

It's an older show that is an adorable pick me up. Fashion, snarky comments, and goofy humor abound.

The power of homemade Vietnamese iced coffee 

Your fridge and your afternoons will never be the same. A glass of this at 5pm on the back porch, sitting in the shade with some good music playing, and you will be right as rain.

How much it aches to watch your kid be sick

We were in the doctors office 2-3 times a week for over a month. It all culminated in our six month old having an ultrasound on her stomach. Thankfully, she is on the mend now but those weeks were brutal. I ached for her, watching her tiny body go through something so physically demanding. When she would lay her head on my shoulder when she wasn't feeling well, my heart would break. But I also ached for normalcy, for the ability to leave the house, for clothes not covered in throw-up. We made it through, both stronger for it, but my goodness it drained me mentally and emotionally.

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That a heart can change so quickly

There is more to this point than I could ever write so let me try to condense it down. Here is what happened to me- I read Everybody, Always by Bob Goff and Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. One of our pastors shared an eye-opening thought. When a homeless person asks for money for food we often give them a bible verse and a "God bless you" when they need a meal. Give them the meal. Let your love for them and your act of obedience to Jesus speak louder than a trite saying or a card with a verse on it that doesn't fill their stomach. I grabbed a few dozen donuts on a Saturday morning and we had 15 neighbors come by for our first monthly driveway hangout. My heart expanded, shifted, and rewired a hundred times over this past quarter. Our home is different, refocused on obeying Jesus not simply agreeing with him. Somehow, there is an expansion that has been added on, another chamber that is growing for the people around us. How it happened so quickly, I'll never know.

A power switch would empower

My husband took a new job, an incredible, downtown, tech job at a wonderful company with serious benefits. I've become more of a stay at home mom, letting go of previous projects in favor of cuddling the babe and dreaming up some new ideas. In a lot of ways, we traded places, and it has been better than we ever expected. It's a big shift for me, stepping away from being a boss, growing a business, and having meetings throughout the week in cool spaces. But, in letting go, I let in relief, excitement, and a new feeling of empowerment. I have the freedom to lay on the floor and read or stack blocks with our kid. I have space in my mind to explore new business ideas, ways to serve, and time every morning to go deep into the word and prayer. I thought I was letting go of my position of power. Turns out, I was laying down a source of draining and now feel more successful than ever. Even when success is defined as changing diapers and pushing a stroller.

the news would spur on so many good conversations

The news of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain plus the family separation happening at the border opened up floods of conversations. As someone who has struggled with depression, it was interesting to see it all over the news and the publics response. It allowed me to share how to better help people with depression, about how to not just post a hotline number but show up and stand with someone. The family separations this past month gave way to conversations with my husband about border control, immigration, loving people well, and erring on the side of graciousness. The discussions that were born out of the news have been stretching and powerful. They have challenged us to act not simply observe and we are growing as a result.

a moment of kindness would become a tribute

on the day my husband got a call about his new job, I was in the Starbucks drive-through line. To celebrate, I ordered a much larger drink than I normally would have. The lady in front of me unexpectedly paid for my treat. It was a small act that became a marker of something huge in our life. I laughed, cried, praised in the car and took the baby to go get a book with the money we saved. It was a sweet reminder that something tiny to us can be a day changer or a monument for someone else.

 

We've grown, we've learned, we've made it through another chunk of the year. I'm counting it all joy, taking this moment to reflect on the milestones. 

Meredith Harper