June community dinner: vegetable spring rolls, coconut rice, garlic chicken peanut pasta, lime sorbet, wine, beer, friends and the occasional glass of milk to cut the heat. Apparently, I’m a fan of the spice.
There are dos and don’ts of surviving a breakup with any sort of dignity and grace. As a girl not exactly known for having a stiff upper lip or any ability whatsoever to hide my emotions, it’s good to write these down. I hope I never have to go through anything like this again, but if I do, this will be a good reminder of how to handle my heart.
1. Rally the troops. Get your friends and family around you as soon as possible. You do not have to talk about every single detail. In fact, this may come back to haunt you. Instead, allow yourself to be as vulnerable as necessary. Yesterday I sat with my head in a friend’s lap for an hour while she listened to me sob. It helped.
2. Take the high road as far as you can. Once I love someone, it seems no matter what I always will. It’s okay to tell him this in lieu of yet again reviewing the wrong-doings.
3. Reach out and thank those who are helping you get through this. Fabulous break-up stationery makes it a bit easier.
4. Remember it is okay to be angry and disappointed. There doesn’t have to be a silver lining to everything. You don’t have to accept the platitudes.
5. Pray. Visit churches, take yoga, go for long walks — do whatever you need to do to reconnect with your extraordinary faith.
6. When all else fails, shop. You won’t be happy with the credit bill later, but your new purse today feels damn good.
1. Don’t cry into your Blackberry. Water + electronics = disaster and a new big purchase.
2. Don’t lash out and act like a child. You’ll very quickly regret behaving poorly, calling names, sharing intimate details others did not need to know. Remember leaving with your dignity is more important than leaving feeling “right.”
3. Don’t be afraid to sincerely apologize if you do lash out and say hateful things.
4. Don’t forget to eat. Things go down hill quickly if you do and well-reasoned thought, sleep and sanity are the next to fall away.
5. Don’t be angry with tough love. When friends want to shake you by the shoulders, they mean well. Don’t let their words sting. They have the right intention.
6. Don’t beat yourself up. Shitty things happen to good people every single day. There is no point in trying to understand why this happened; but it did and while it sucks today, it will suck a little less tomorrow.
There are certain things you learn from your parents without realizing it until adulthood. It’s recently dawned on me that the way my parents love each other is exceptionally rare. They met at 14, were married with a family quite young and are still best friends today — some 30 years later. They truly adore each other; my brother and I were so incredibly fortunate to be raised with these examples. We know what compromise looks like. We know that relationships don’t fall out of the sky in a box wrapped with a satin bow. We know that to be loved you must first love yourself.
While the beauty of my parent’s relationship is what I’d like, it hasn’t been easy to find. I thought I could avoid writing about my recent heartbreak, but it isn’t fair. There are enough of you who so generously stop by here daily to see what I’m up to, and it isn’t always peaches and cream. A reader emailed me yesterday to make sure someone in my family wasn’t dealing with serious illness. I realized it is silly to hide what I am going through, as ugly and brutal as it is.
And so the “Christian knitting and travel blog” breaks out of the proverbial box.
I’ve been dating a man for the last few months after spending many more months getting to know each other as friends. I came into the relationship happy, healthy, confident and a true sucker for romance. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions to be back in a relationship after years of essentially feeling numb. The highs were fabulous and fun, the lows absolutely the worst and darkest place I’ve visited. And so goes love. I think the only way to do it is to give everything of yourself and hope the relationship is blessed by God.
He’s asked me not to write about him here; he reminds me very much of my father — privacy is precious. I’m going to respect his wishes and keep this vague. In a nutshell: we were together, now we are not. I lost myself in the last week, becoming a zombie without enough sleep or food. I haven’t gone for a run in days and have found myself looking forward to those absolutely ridiculous “Houswives” shows on Bravo.
Thankfully, I know who I am. I have a growing relationship with God. I have more devoted friends and family who than one could dream of. I have a job I love, a tiny garden that is trying desperately to make it through this brutal heat and a roommate who is always there to eat dinner with me and wipe away my tears. My life is whole. This love was simply the icing on the cake.
And while I could look back wondering if I should have done this or that differently, ultimately I did exactly what my parents taught me. I loved with my whole heart. I gave selflessly. I dreamed of a beautiful future and tried my hardest to enjoy the moment at hand. All of this will serve me well in the future.
I am not sorry I stuck my long neck out. Oddly enough, it just feels good to feel again. And as they say, love endures. Who knows what the future holds?
Thank you for your prayer and for reaching out. Posting will be light for the next bit while I regroup.
Owen Gabriel was born Saturday. Gabriel was given in acknowledgement to the angels who saw this sweet little man through a healthy birth.
He is nothing short of perfect and to see his dad holding him on Father’s Day, beaming and fighting back tears of joy and relief, washed us in a wave of happiness. His parents have long wanted a baby and after many years of sorrow and tragedy, Owen’s birth brings a new beginning to their beautiful family.
I can’t help but feel renewed with optimism. Life truly is good. Sometimes we just need a gorgeous, tiny hand with even tinier fingers wrapped around it to remind us of the hope we have before us.
There was a time when I wrote about praying for God to teach me to be patient. Someone left a comment saying, “Be careful what you wish for.” I can safely say several years and a good dose of mid-twenties-maturity later, I am a considerably patient person. I still drive too fast. I still burn with anger when I see someone hurting an animal or a child. I stand over the rows at the community garden, looking at the tiny buds and think “Grow already!” But I now realize very little in life happens on any sort of controllable schedule. It just happens. And learning to be patient is critical for surviving the realization that your naivete and innocence will carry you only so far.
This week I was working with an Iraqi refugee family in their apartment in central Phoenix. The mother of four desperately described how she’d lived in Syria for two years in a camp after escaping Basra with her children. Her husband, Egyptian by birth, couldn’t join them at the camp and isn’t eligible for resettlement at this time. Paperwork keeps them apart, prevents him from watching as his four young children adapt to this new life, learn a new language, cry for their home. She’s been without him for years, raising these children, trying to keep her heritage and their family together as best as she can.
I listened to her describe how much she missed him, how he knew how to handle the children, how she just wanted her children to be safe in America and that they must grow up to become doctors and engineers. These are professions always in need. These are jobs that will provide for their family. These are lives that will be much more secure than those they fled.
By the end of the conversation, she told me she’d return to Iraq with her boys if her husband isn’t able to find a way to join them. She simply cannot live without him, even if it means returning to the chaos. Crossing every professional boundary, I held her, with tears running down her cheeks. I told her I’d pray for her family. I’d do everything I could to help. She kept whispering, “Inshallah. Inshallah.” If God wills it to be.
One of my vocab words this week is eleemosynary, which means relating to charity. The root comes from eleos — or pity. The wordsmiths got this one wrong. Charity isn’t about pity or sorrow. It is about the joy of helping those in need and making both lives a bit better in the process. There need not be pity in charity, but there must be kindness, hope and love. I most certainly do not pity this family. Instead, I am quite hopeful the will once again be whole and be so here, in the relative security of America.
I know things have been a little more roller coaster around here lately than normal. I apologize for the ups and the downs. I look back at the last few weeks and the posts seem to be in one of two categories: here is how to be happy, and here is how I am not.
So, I figure I’ll distract you with a few more bamboo handled handbags while I wade through the latest dip. I need some time away from the blog. I’ll be back when things are a bit more even-keel. In the meantime, thank you.
Matt and Stephanie are bringing Noah and Ezra home today. What joy and relief to have their two little boys home after waiting for their adoptions for so long! Stephanie and I have become blog friends during the last couple of years. When she sent me a photo of their nursery, I knew I had to dig into the African fabric stash to create something for the twins. A cheetah baby caddy seems just right.
Also, it seems right to celebrate life today in contrast to yesterday’s dreary post. I should know better than to write when I’m feeling such gloom. It doesn’t really do me any good and it certainly doesn’t help to sound the alarm when I always feel better in the morning. One of the many kind responses included this insight and this great verse:
“Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NCV)
So, the thing about God is that He isn’t necessarily fair. A friend of our family died in an odd accident a little over a month ago. She was beautiful, young, newly married and her death makes me want to go to the top of Camelback Mountain and scream at the top of my lungs and pull at my hair. My mom isn’t taking it much better. We’ve cried together several times over the phone, which really sucks with two states in between.
She says she’s angry with God. As much as I’m trying otherwise, I feel the same. Initially, I tried to logically talk her down. Coya’s death was an accident. She was a wonderful woman and she had a great faith and her family would find comfort from their rallying community. And then I hung up, shut myself in the bathroom and wailed until my nose ran dry. We were about the same age and I’m certain that if the shoe were on the other foot, she’d be the one on the tile floor. I miss her and it makes me so sad to imagine what her parents and twin sister are trying to deal with. To make matters a bit more horrifying, her husband was killed too.
About 90% of the time, I’m one of the most optimistic and happiest people. But that other 10%, I’m overwhelmed. I feel like my relationship with God is tested with doubt and anger and I debate whether I am ever going to be able to feel at peace. It doesn’t help that in this shut down mode, I typically stop eating and answering my phone. Hunger and isolation rarely make things better, and yet this isn’t a time for logic. While my clothing will certainly be more comfortable next week, I’m not sure my heart is going to recover anytime soon.
I feel guilty being angry with God. I know better. I know we aren’t supposed to understand and there really is no rhyme or reason to tragedy and heart ache. Yet still, that won’t comfort Coya’s family and friends. It won’t provide any relief to the dozens of kids at the Beira orphanage I am missing so dearly. It doesn’t even help with the immature homesickness I feel for my family.
I’ll get through this 10%. I have worlds to be thankful for. I simply wish anger with God wasn’t possible.
What to bring one of the sweetest little boys when visiting? Considering Mr. Roscoe has just about everything he could ever wish for, including a gaggle of adoring family, an African parrot and a kitty that regularly put up with his loving ways, perhaps something unique.
Something to throw? Something African? Something that will make him scream like a little maniac?
Yes. How about some stenciled bean bags filled with pintos and backed with some African cheetah love from Mozambique?
They were all wrapped up nicely in a drawstring bag that was promptly discarded at the bottom of the toy chest. The bean bags should have been a little less full of beans; there were a few leaks by the end of the weekend.
Thankfully, he’s not a seam allowance critic.