Twice as wide, plenty deep : the river is rising with the spring rains. But that’s not news here in the pacific northwest.

To be honest, there is little news emanating from our lovely little farmhouse tucked away between orchards and sleeping fields. My life has become decidedly less complex in the last few weeks since leaving Starbucks. Less drama, less rushing, less worry. More peace. I have found myself to be a little less focused than I used to be- that part of my brain seems to have gotten burned out. Hopefully the short circuiting is temporary. The silly little mistakes are just that: silly and little, but sometimes disheartening.  I think maybe I was stretched too thin for too long and now I am recovering.

And while I do, I am spending a great deal of time thinking about how not to get back in that same situation again.

Last spring, I decided that I wouldn’t wear pants (only skirts or dresses) for seven months. The decision came out of the realization that I have been wearing pants for a very long time but that I hated wearing pants. I felt happier and certainly prettier when I wore skirts and dresses. So why was I doing something that I didn’t enjoy? It was easy. It was expected. It was ridiculous. And so I made a decision and a change. Now I did wear pants occasionally- it was never my intent to be legalistic about the whole thing. I wanted to make the decisions that were life-giving and not always what was easy or expected.

In the light of hindsight, that practice was what made it possible for me to leave Starbucks. Sometimes we need to practice on little things long before the big things come along.

One thing I never expected was the extra time I would have on my hands (and the amount of it that wouldn’t be used wisely). So here I am practicing on little things again. Making lists of what needs to be done, what wants to be done, and what would be best for me and Lucas in the long run. Practice using the time I have been given for life and not simply letting it slip and fritter away.

Sewing. Baking. Reading. Living. Loving.

Krissy

A lot changes in a week.

Even more changes in a month.

I am not exactly sure what started all this change- really it was a long time coming and a lot of small things building up. I was unhappy (and was, apparently, the only one who couldn’t understand why). I was in desperate need of a new normal.

Yes, it’s true that I have often verbalized a desire to leave, to move on, to get out of that mess I called my job. I had never acted on those words.

And then… there was that saturday at the end of January. The one where I was pushed just a little too far and I finally, (finally.) spoke the words I had secretly been dying to say:

I am leaving.

In that moment I felt a flood wash over me- nearly knocking me silly with relief and joy, fear and elation. I had done something forbidden. I had done this for me.

I made the right choice (even if it would scare me half to death over the next few weeks).
It has been hard- leaving is never easy until you actually get your steps into motion. I considered, too many times, changing my mind and returning. Eat my words, don my apron again and again, wear my heart pinned to it for far too long.

And so here we are today: exactly one week post starbucks. I am working full time at the pool. I come home exhausted, but it is good for my soul. I cry less- I smile a lot more. I am happier and I barely even knew that I was unhappy before.

Perhaps the most amusing thing to me is that I no longer stare down the highway contemplating missing my exit to keep driving until I reach the ocean: I don’t feel a longing to run away, to escape even for a moment.

Here there is peace and joy.

Krissy

(forgive me, this is disjointed, unedited, and perhaps cryptic)

I pulled on my mittens and the tuque my mum knit me last winter as we walked out to our cars. Work was finally over and it’s getting cold outside again. For some odd reason the darkness was bracing, the cold comforting. Behind the steering wheel I took a deep breath and reeled in a days worth of wandering thoughts. Its time to go home, time to reflect, and to prepare. Nearly time to be with dear friends and remember those who are no longer here.

This morning, my friend Brian went on to glory. And here we are grieving while he is so fully alive in ways that I cannot yet begin to understand. It feels so short sighted on my part, but here I remain and this is what I feel. Tears fall as memories of laughter abound.  To tell you Brian was a man full of joy is an understatement. He lived every moment of his 27 years. He was faithful even unto the end of his life here with us. I am blessed beyond measure for being able to have called him friend- to have those memories of laughter.

Within moments the snow began to fall- an odd sight here, but welcomed nonetheless. And, despite the grief weighing heavily on my heart, I smiled. There is always grace and always beauty here in this world ransacked by sin and death. And it dawned on me, as I drove home, that we can celebrate my friend’s life with our tears just as much as we can with our memories. That mix of happy and sad always (always.) backed by joy and a knowledge of the truth.

Rest in peace, worship in glory, dance with joy until we meet again my dear friend.

Krissy

One of the oddest things about living here in the Pacific North West is the way seasons just sort of slide into one another; cuddling up together and blurring the lines. Seasons just seems to blend together until one day you wake up and realize that maybe you missed the end of one and beginning of another. It is a great mystery to an immigrant like me. The best part though, is how when I think I have finally figured out the weather will change for days on end and throw you for a loop.

And that is our December. A month that ushers in ‘winter’ with torrents of rain, grey skies, and muddy boots. Not this year: there has been almost no rain for weeks. The skies are crisp blue and clear- we can even see the sun most days without a shield of cloud. As someone who adores the downpours and feels the grey skies feeding her soul, I am unsure of this december.

Funny isn’t it? I used to know the seasons by the snow, and now I am learning a whole new approach (one that cannot really be predicted anyhow). Truth is, despite the distance from the familiar, this place is the one I call home. I never thought I would say that, but it doesn’t make it less true today.

Have you ever been here? You’d fall in love too. The people are odd, weird even, but more welcoming and kind than you’d expect. There is an attitude of acceptance, growth, innovation, and community in all the places I have found. The forests are green- and I really do mean green from top to bottom. There is desert, rain forest, coast, city, mountains…everything.

Perhaps I love this place a little more than any other because it is here where I find the freedom to dream about my future, and enjoy today with the man I love. It is in the meadows just outside the city where I picture the cottage- in the forests where we speak and think more clearly. And, even though our lives aren’t exactly what we pictured (or perhaps even wanted), we are happy. We are blessed.

And, whether this transplant can recognize it or not, whether the rain comes or not, winter is coming. Or maybe it is already here. I don’t really know, but it will come anyways.

(And for that, I am thankful)

Krissy

It is only now dawning on me, weeks after having made the decision, that we are moving again. Moving isn’t that big of a deal to me any more, not really. Since we got married a little over four years ago we have moved a total of eight times. Some of those moves were together, some were not. A few times we moved with only that which we could fit in our faithful Toyota Camery or two airline-approved suitcases. We are pretty used to moving. And I know this wont be the last time- there is something slightly nomadic about my heart that doesn’t mind that for now.

It’s the packing that gets to me. Putting all my things into boxes, not knowing exactly where they are or where they will go.  Thankfully, this move will not be confined to those things that will fit in our car, so they worst part about moving, the purging, will not be a part of the process. Oddly enough, my most dreaded task is packing away my books. A home, even if it is one from which you are moving on, does not feel right without books on the shelves. So here I am, staring at my bookshelves, wondering how long I can put off packing them away before our January First moving date. Probably not much longer with the week of Christmas fast approaching.

A few weeks ago we went to see our friend’s house here on the island. A lovely little two bedroom home on their farm that they are willing to rent to us for a while. There are a lot of things about moving that I am looking forward to: farm views, space of our own, cooking again in my own kitchen, and quiet. There is also this lovely little incentive of falling asleep in our brand new bed- our first big purchase together. I think Gary will be happy to be in his own space again too. The time is right and if all I need to do is get through the packing to make it work… agreed.

Krissy

It’s cold here today.

We have slipped out of cool and into cold- at least for here anyways. It seems that this last week has been marked with change for a lot of people. And, while change is one the oddest constants, some weeks you just notice it more than others. In the news, the Mayor of Portland announced a change in how the whole Occupy movement would be tolerated and handled- protesters were no longer welcome to camp in the parks. Thankfully, that change remained mostly peaceful despite our worst fears.  At the pool, children changed and grew and learned.  At Starbucks, we reorganized and redecorated changing from regular retail into holiday. Lucas will begin a new job on friday, changing from floor staff to manager, one theatre to another (one city to another). And today, my sister begins her 24th year blessing us with her life and love.

In between the closing shift and the Holiday set-up shift, I sat with one of my dearest friends and coworkers in the back room. Perched on ladders with take-out boxes on our laps and tired eyes betraying our feelings, we talked about change and we confessed. My confession: I used to fear change, but I do so no longer. Sure, I absolutely take comfort in routine and the familiar, but change is not so bad either. The times in my life with the largest changes have been wonderful, terrible, and difficult in many ways, but they have always turned out right and good. Yes, sometimes the worst did happen, but we survived and God’s will was done. Most of all, I hope that God was always glorified.

The weather is changing and we do likewise.

As for me? I am not sure what’s changing right now except for all that which is going on around me. I feel a bit like this time of my life is spent living up to a name given to me long ago by some wise friends: authentic observer. Some days, I almost feel as though I am watching everything around me from behind some sort of partition, blessed for any opportunity to interact and speak into the lives of those around me. Forgive me if that sounds sad- I think it is quite rare and beautiful. Oddly enough, it is the one aspect of my existence I hope will never change.

Krissy

It has been nearly 2 years since I left my position as Children’s Ministry Coordinator at my home church.

And, here’s the shocker: I miss it.  A lot.

Every day since leaving, I have felt a longing so deeply rooted in my heart that it hurts. I feel separated from my calling. But now, the longing is beginning to feel like desparation and I think you need to know. There is a chaos of emotion and knowledge swirling around in my mind reminding me of the truth and tempting me with lies.

Worst of all, some days (though, thankfully very few), it seems easier to give in an believe the lies: no one will hire me, no church wants me, I heard my calling incorrectly, I was wrong, God doesn’t want to use me. Lies. The rejection hurts a little more each time, but at the same time I honestly believe that it is God’s will- that there is something else for me.

Mostly, hope wins out by the end of the day because I know the truth, even if it can be the most difficult to believe.

Dear ones: it’s been 2 years feeling like a wanderer who knows the path but cannot find it, and I need your prayers. My heart is breaking, and my resolve weakening.

Krissy

I am roasting pumpkin seeds in the oven. There are a ridiculous number of them, really (though I did only use half of those available!). Three baking sheets full of these tiny, flat, pale seeds that will go unseeded, becoming snacks for the co-workers who begged me to save them.  I don’t even like pumpkin seeds: it feels like I am chewing on a wooden skewer every time I pop one in my mouth. But they are in the oven anyways, an act of love, I suppose. Spicy, cheesy, and sweet. Each flavour a metaphor for the one from whom the request was made. Beautiful really.

A week ago today I turned 25. The age of feeling like an adult and needing some change in order to help the feeling be genuine. I had a wonderful birthday to usher in a new phase of my life, full of celebration, love, and joy. So far 25 has been lovely and I venture forward with confidence and excitement.

And I guess that is all I have to say unless you would like to read yet another post about my undying love for autumn in all its deadly beauty. Believe me…I could wax poetic on this subject for ages and probably will.

Krissy

Tonight, my mind is restless. I am making the assumption that my caffeine intake for the day has a great deal to do with the matter- I did consume my entire weekly ration this morning alone. And, while that does concern me for what will be done about tea-time tonight, I doubt it is the primary reason for my state of mind.

On nights like tonight, I find myself longing for that lovely little day dream of a cottage in a forest meadow. You know the one: it’s painted grey, has a window seat where i take up residence on the rainy days, there is lavender growing outside, books and overwhelming love inside. In that little daydream of mine the lighting is never harsh- more like a faded photograph- and there is neither silence or cacophony. It seems so peaceful there.

Perhaps I am simply overstimulated here… which leads me down a path of fearfulness for our potential children and thus I cannot dwell on such a thought.

A friend has told me that I am stressed right now- but I cannot recognize why. My life seems rather simple right now. Rather enjoyable really. But she told me this because I had confessed to her that for the past fifteen days I have been having nightmares.

The nightmares are never the same. I can hardly remember them except for the feeling of fear that lingers somewhere just behind me as I go about my day. Each night I have woken up for a few minutes, heard my husband breathing next to me (breathed a sigh of relief myself) run my fingers though the angora-soft fur on Gary’s ears, pulled the blankets up and drifted half-way back to sleep for another few hours. So there it is, maybe I am just a little thrown off from a little less sleep.

But here’s what confuses me: I feel no fear once I am awake, and honestly it doesn’t feel like that big of a deal. Really, I have only noticed this odd trend because I rarely have dreams like this- and never have I had them unrelated and in succession. It’s only slightly bothersome, but I thought you might want to know.

Restless. (And apparently also reflective…among other things)

Krissy

It’s lovely here. I wish that I could transport you right through your computer and into my life right now. Sure it is busy, and sure there are moments when it’s not all apples and sweaters, but really it is lovely. Autumn has decidedly wrapped it’s chilly arms around this city letting rain fall at will, putting our plants to sleep. The have turned one of two colours: brown with decay or orange with pumpkins and I adore them both. There are signs by the sides of the road advertising corn mazes, u-pick apples, and halloween festivities. I pull on my sweaters and wool socks with sighs of contentedness and drive with my windows rolled down. I do my best to ignore the sourpusses who loathe the rain and pine over summer’s sun (as I am told, if you grew up here, you probably hate the rain- all the outsiders come here for it). And my mind turns to baking…and tea…and cuddling up with my book and a blanket.

It is wonderful. Autumn is my favourite birthday gift.

a tea for everything

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