Saturday, April 23, 2016

It's Been a Year and Four Months

...since I left Kandern. And I think about those kids all the time. If you're following me on Facebook, you know that I am enjoying my job and have found a whole new brood of students to call "my kiddos." But those loved ones at BFA are always on my heart and mind.

It's a different world I teach in now. Just yesterday a student left my classroom excited to tell me that her doctor wasn't going to let her carry her baby full term and she would be delivering soon. I smiled and told her I would come visit her in the hospital if time allowed. When she left, I stared at the door and started to think about my kids at BFA and how their issues were totally opposite of the ones I hear of now. I've thought about Abby and Phoebe and Hudson - the students who would be my new stars now in shows. I've thought about Liz and Abby and how when I would finish a long rehearsal on a Monday night going to their house to watch "Amazing Race" with their family. Of course I've thought of my mentor, Jen, and having spiced tea on her couch while the world passed us by outside. And the Martin family, who always "adopted" more kids and made their kitchen a safe haven for those of us who just needed to vent.

I've thought about my little green house I shared with Justina and then Christine. I've thought about the lazy Saturdays spent watching movies or endless television shows with them. I've thought about the walks to and from the grocery store and running into students or colleagues while I had on no make-up and had literally just rolled out of bed and needed to get to the store to stock up before it closed.

I've thought about Tuesday nights my first year and watching episodes of "The Bachelor" with so many people who, like me, aren't even there anymore. I've thought about road trips to Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and eastern Germany. Planning trips to countries I'd only dreamed of seeing but were then so much a part of my reality.

BFA will always be where a big part of my heart lies. I am content now, here, in Jacksonville. But so many days I wake up and wonder what's going on over there. Recent pictures make my heart smile but also I twinge a bit with jealousy because I'm not there and my life is on a completely different path now than it was in Germany.

I'm excited for everything that is happening in the future here. I do love what I do and the students I teach. But that little town nestled in the Black Forest holds so many precious people and memories that it will be hard to ever replace it.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New Years Post...a few weeks late

Normally, I post a New Years blog a day or so after or before the New Year. It seems like everything else took a backseat (i.e. I just took my Christmas Tree down today) because the day after Christmas, I went to Kandern for a week and when I got back, jet lag and school took over my life.

How should I describe 2015? So many words come to mind. I think of the anticipation of last year starting and what I was expecting. I think of the disappointment, the heartbreak, the sadness, of what really came to be only six weeks after returning to the States. I think of the redemption and the freedom that came a few months after all of that happened. I made new friends, I became more confident in who I was as a person, and I still got to teach what I'm passionate about.

This year had more lows than highs, but looking back, the lows were overshadowed by the sweet friendships made during that time.

I love where I live now. It's a brand new apartment in a great part of Jacksonville. I can walk to the grocery store, which I love because it reminds me of living in Europe.

I miss Europe. I miss it a lot. I don't know if I'll ever get to live there again. But it holds my heart in a way nothing else does. But I know that God gives us what we need when we need it and I needed to grow up over there to flourish over here. That's kind of my thinking, anyway.

2016 I hope is a year of more growth, of more depth and understanding of my journey, and a continual realization of who I am becoming as I walk in it.

Life is nothing that I expected a year ago and I say that a lot but only because it's true. But life is never what we expect, is it?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Eve Eve 2015

A year ago today I landed in America. A year ago today I had an excitement of something I thought was going to be my forever. I look back on that day and I used to think it was perfect. But it wasn't. There was so much uncertainty. So much forced. Nothing was real. As much as I wanted it to be real, it wasn't.

These last ten months have been the hardest I've had to endure. There are days when I wake up and forget who it was that I was in a relationship with for eleven months. Other days I wake up and my heart is so heavy and hurt that I can't help but think about it.

Last week, I was out to dinner with Taylor, Nicole, and Sammy. We were eating at Burrito Gallery, one of my favorite places here, and in the middle of a conversation. All of the sudden a song came on that was on a playlist my ex made for me when we first got together. I hadn't cried about him in a while and then out of nowhere, the tears began to flow. My friends were great in reminding me of what I'd come through and how strong I'd been and that it was OK to cry. I think that's been my biggest issue - it's OK to cry because what I went through was painful and it hurt and crying is a good thing.

You may read this and think, "Geez, you're still not over that guy?" Let me assure you - I am over him. I'm not over what he represented in my life. For eleven months I thought he was IT. I was made to believe we were on the same page until shortly before the end.

Breakups are painful. Change is painful. Transition is painful. And I went through all of those things. Being allowed to mourn shouldn't have a timeline stamped on it. It takes as long as it will take.

Today as I sit on my couch and reflect on the last year, I am so thankful for the friends I've made here in Jacksonville. They have encouraged me, believed in me, prayed for me, laughed with me, and allowed me to cry and be myself.

Happy Christmas Eve Eve

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Life in the Journey

Over a month, actually. But, hey, I've been busy.

I've been thinking recently about all that God has used in my life just to put me where He wants me. I have been back and forth to Europe, let go from a job in Georgia years ago, was a Concierge at a 5 star hotel, went to seminary in Boston, and dated a guy I thought I'd marry but I'll never see again, all so that I can be right where He wants me to be.

See, this is why I will not ever begin to comprehend the mind of God. It is way too vast, way too mind-blowing, and way too creative for me to begin to comprehend.

Last week I went on a cruise and every night I'd go out to the balcony and look out over the water. It was kind of daunting. First of all, the ocean freaks me out thanks to that terrifying shark movie Spielberg came out with a while ago. Second, trying to fathom just how deep the ocean has to be to carry the weight of a ship is mind boggling. But it caused me to think about the depth of God's love for me and how vast his plans are. In my finite mind, my plans can only extend so far in my head. I'm so glad I don't have to plan out the rest of my life. It's hard enough to plan out a few hours in the day.

I've also been reminded lately of how much I don't want to be exposed. I try so hard not to let anyone see my fleshy parts. Unfortunately, the longer you hang out with me, the more exposed I become. I talk a good talk about being "real" with people but I've been a hypocrite of that. I hide behind insecurities and have discovered just how much I have to run to Jesus with it.

So, other than working and planning out my year of theatre with my new set of kiddos, this is what I've been learning.

Oh yes, transition is still a huge part of life. I'm still amazed that the grocery store is open on Sundays here. And football. I've watched 3 football games today. And I don't even like any of the teams. I just have missed watching college football.

Go Canes.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Jesus and Kindness

Jesus and I have had a tumultuous relationship in the last five months. When the break-up happened, I was angry at him. "Why did you bring home for nothing??" was my constant question.

But it wasn't for nothing.

I have made some really great friends here in Jax. I've gotten to watch my niece grow up and become a person she gets excited to see. I've gotten involved in a Bible study. I've gotten to see my best friend several times because we are so much closer in distance now. And I'm pretty sure all that prepared me to get a job right here in Jacksonville teaching Drama :)

So for about a week I was reveling in joy and then I found out that my ex had moved on and my heart felt broken all over again. Except this time, instead of asking Jesus "why?" I let him sit in the pain and hurt and rejection with me. I let him comfort me with kindness and remind me that He is in the business of pruning and molding me for what is to come.

Today, I was at boot camp and as I ran in the heat, I started thinking about how much life had changed but changed for the good. And I realized I'm not the person I was when I was with the ex. I'm different now and for all good reasons. I'm reveling in the kindness of Jesus because it is in that kindness that I want him to join me in the suffering.

I'm ready for a new start in this city that I have just discovered that I love. I'm so thankful for my new friends here and the fact that I have started to put down roots. He never does anything without good reason. And while I may not ever understand why He chose the path He chose for me to come back, it's not for me to look back and wonder. Instead, I look ahead to great and awesome things.

Monday, June 22, 2015

An Open Letter to Pastor Tullian

It was revealed yesterday that Tullian Tchividjian, the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian in Ft. Lauderdale, had to step down because of an affair. Tullian was my pastor from 2009-2010 while I lived in Boca Raton. It was through his preaching that I came to understand what grace really was and that we are all broken sinners in need of the Gospel. You can criticize all you want, but Tullian's sin is no different from your own or mine. Unfortunately, he's just in the public eye and because of that, he is assumed to be untouchable.

A lot of people criticized him for breaking ties with the Gospel Coalition. I have nothing to say on that except that I'm glad he did.

I support Pastor Tullian and stand with him as he walks through most likely the darkest valley he's ever had to walk through. I'm pretty sure he doesn't read my blog, but in case he does, the following is to him:

Dear Pastor Tullian,
I want you to know that I am heartbroken over the events of what happened and caused you to step down from the pulpit. However, I also want you to know that it doesn't surprise me. It doesn't surprise me because you aren't a superhuman Christian. If anything, we all put you on a pedestal and expected you to never fall.

God only uses these things in our lives as part of our story. I can only imagine that He is using this to work in you for whatever purpose. The story of Joseph comes to mind, particularly towards the end of Genesis. "What man meant for evil, God meant for good." Your sin is no different from mine or from the people who sit in church and heard you preach every Sunday. When God exposes us, He does it for a reason and a purpose.

Just know that you are loved by many, prayed for by many, and that I along with others feel that God can only work good in this situation.

Praying for you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I Wait.

I'm sitting in a beachside cafe in Jax Beach and trying not to think about it. "It" being the interview yesterday. It went really well and I was told I'd hear something by this afternoon. A "yes" or a "no." I try to remember that if it's a "no" it's just His protection from something in order to save me for another opportunity. Or perhaps He wants me to wait more.

The waiting is almost unbearable.

Trying to see the forest through the trees is difficult. I just see trees. Massive, large, trees.

The other day I was babysitting my niece who is now a very active almost-9-month-old. She crawls EVERYWHERE and wants to put EVERYTHING in her mouth. On this particular day, she was headed for a cord next to her baby swing. She's a fast little thing and the minute I turned my back, she was headed for it once more.

"No, no." I told her in a gentle voice. I don't think she knows what "no" means but I say it to her anyway. She'll be two before I know it  and she'll be telling me "no" soon enough.

Lauren looked at me, then back at the cord. I watched her crawl towards it again, a smile spreading on her face as she reached out for it.

"No, Lauren." I moved her away from the swing and tried to distract her with another toy. She grabbed at the toy, then threw it on the ground, turning again once more to the cord.

Interesting what babies find fascinating. It's a cord for crying out loud. The thousands of toys she has that make music and talk are much more worthy of her attention.

But no, she wanted the cord.

This time, I gently pulled her away and stood up, deciding it best to go into another room. She got frustrated really fast and let out a wail of dissatisfaction.

"Sorry, kiddo. That would hurt you if you put it in your mouth." I kissed her chubby cheek and tried to get her to smile at me. She does and by the time we're in the living room, she's moved on to Sophie the Giraffe, one of her favorites.

I stopped to think about that for a minute. So many times I've been heading for something that ultimately could hurt me in the end. The jobs I've applied for have all had potential but when I get a response (or not as most of them have not let me know either way) I immediately resort to thinking I'm a loser and am not good enough.

I don't think about the fact that there could be something I'm being preserved from. God has me in a holding pattern for a reason.

I'm thinking of the analogy of  Lauren and the cord. "No, don't go towards the cord. I promise there's something better."

So I'm waiting. Still waiting. Unsure of what is going on, uncertain of where I'll end up, everyday anticipating something will come. Like today. A "yes" or a "no."

Please, Jesus, let me hear a "yes" soon.