Start

Well, it’s been over three years since my last post, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to start again. Sometimes it’s best to just start and not worry about the rest yet. So here’s my start.

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random news

I’m not sure where to start this post.  We’ve been so busy with life- working a lot and cramming in adventures every chance we get that I haven’t had time or the desire to write.

I guess I can start with the big news, in no particular order:

1. Martin and I celebrated 5 years of being married at the beginning of the month!

2. I get to teach in my own classroom next year at a school I love. I am excited to teach 4th grade next year (originally I was hired for 5th…the easiest way to explain it is that there was last minute shuffling and I changed grades).

3. My brother Michael is living with us for the summer and working at the ski resort (where I am working this summer too!).

4. We moved again in March- just across town.

I think that’s all the big news. Other than that, Martin has been REALLY busy at work because the Grand Depart for Tour DIvide was on Friday, and Glacier Cyclery is one of the first bike shops in the first 400ish miles of the route. I finished the school year for a 2nd grade teacher and then jumped into my summer job the day after school got out (I guess I’m learning to be flexible and to roll with things instead of stressing out…hopefully I can grow in that this year!).  About a month ago, we got to host my sister and a couple friends and show them all around (and take them mountain biking for the first time). We had a blast showing them around, hanging out, and seeing them get excited about everything here. Other than that, there have been a lot of bike rides and some hiking.

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We were only able to bike halfway up on this trail because the snow got too deep (not that you can tell from this picture). That’s Whitefish Lake and town in the background.

I’ll try to share some more adventures soon!

 

happy spring

Um…I am not sure what happened over the winter. Sorry for the long absence. Truth be told, it was a bit of a rough winter, although a beautiful and snowy one.

But now it’s SPRING!

We took a quick day trip to play and explore in a fun place on Sunday. 

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Any guesses as to where we went? Your hint is that a river does, indeed, run through it.

We had a blast doing some easy paved and gravel riding while exploring a network of trails that more or less follow the river (in and out of town). We, of course, visited Big Dipper Ice Cream and had dinner at Tamarack.

Looking forward to going back to MIssoula again soon!

uncomfortable

It is good to step outside of where you are comfortable.

And sometimes it’s good to be shoved out of your comfort zone, far beyond where you thought your breaking point existed.

It’s good to  be occasionally shoved because you are made much more aware that you are not in control. You are not a master of your circumstances, no matter how hard you try. 

I prefer to step out of my comfort zone because it still gives me the illusion of control; I choose when, where, and how far to step.  The trouble is that I often choose not to step, for a whole litany of reasons largely centered around self-preservation.  The longer I choose not to step, the more coffin-like my frame becomes as my heart shrinks smaller and smaller until it is a small, cold, hard stone, much like the Grinch in the classic Dr. Seuss tale.

Being shoved very much feels out of control, running on air, trying to find solid ground but not quite finding it. You have no choice but to keep running, pretending not to notice that gravity should be sending you to the ground miles below (remember Saturday morning cartoons, where the laws of gravity didn’t apply until the characters noticed that they should be falling?).

Last May, I began taking calculated steps out of my comfort zone as we prepared and moved from the region in which we had both lived our entire lives.  The unknown slowly became more familiar as we settled in and started making friends.

At the end of August, I was pushed off the comfortable cliff.

On a Friday, I walked into my fifth interview at a fifth school in the area. The interview did not go particularly fabulously, but I was offered two long-term substitute jobs instead of the job for which I had applied. On Monday, I met the school’s staff and participated in all the beginning of the year inservices. On Tuesday at noon, I found out that I would be taking over a class immediately, as the teacher had gone into labor three weeks early. On Wednesday, I walked into the first day of school, teaching first grade. Maybe I should mention at this point that my experience is in teaching fifth grade.

It has been so good for me to have to hit the ground running, asking a million questions everyday, not knowing how to navigate anything. Those that know me well know that I am a control freak who likes to have my life planned out weeks in advance. Any deviation from the plan completely stresses me out, which is ironic because the plans ALWAYS change.

On top of it, we’ve been trying to figure out a new town, a new state, church, small group, and friends. Yet, quite honestly, it hasn’t been that bad overall. I have seen God’s grace poured out so abundantly. I have seen so many ways that He has provided people and things to make the circumstances so much better than the worst case scenario.

I am loving this spot I am in because it has given me clarity on so many things that I know God has been trying to teach me for so long. It has forced me to be honest with myself about some ways I desperately need to grow. It has helped me see that I can run farther on air when I am dependent on God to sustain me.

It’s good because it’s in the unknown that we grow.

Now, if only I can remember that, and continue to step out into the wild adventure.

the state of being content

I am trying to embrace contentment. To truly embrace being happy with what I have and the circumstances in which I find myself.

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Which means I am trying to embrace this apartment as home.

This apartment with the hot water heater in my closet. This apartment with no dishwasher or garbage disposal, with barely usable cabinets, and horribly inefficient refrigerator. This apartment with a tub that doesn’t drain well, with a porch that fills with water when it rains and then floods the downstairs neighbor’s kitchen . This apartment that is crammed full with our stuff, especially in the spare bedroom that doubles as a garage (and has boxes of my teaching materials piled to the ceiling).

I have struggled to embrace this apartment since the day we signed the lease. Our one year in our other apartment turned into four, and I kept consoling myself by saying that the next place would be better.

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And then we moved 1,000 miles away to a town where good, affordable rentals are in high demand but low supply. We stepped out in faith, which included trusting that God would provide the money to pay our bills (since we’ve both left “stable” jobs in the last couple of years in order to pursue a dream). So we chose the budget-friendly option (not to mention, we only had a weekend to find a place and sign a lease, and this was one of two available options at the time).

Because of this, I have refused to settle in. I have not hung a single picture on the wall, “because hopefully we’re not staying in this apartment through the winter.” I have refused to be creative in trying to find homes for all the little random things, “because I just can’t make it work!”

And I have complained. Loudly. And often. Because I think I am entitled to something more…just because I exist.

At the beginning of July, I was feeling convicted on this subject, and looked up Scripture on contentment and thankfulness. I even wrote down verses on cards, but haven’t sought to apply them with any sort of diligence.

My perspective is (very) slowly starting to shift, though. I’ve read blog posts by others who have honestly wrestled with the same issue, and found encouragement from them. I have visited with people in a home that was cozy but had a warm, well-lived-in feeling.  And there were no apologies for what it lacked materially because the hearts of the hosts were hospitable and generous to share what they have. There was no sense that anything could be considered lacking.

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My home will be hospitable if my heart is–even if my furniture is mismatched and well-worn.  Even if my space is cramped.  Even if comfortable chairs are in short supply.  Even if my bath towels are stored on an open shelf, visible from the living room couch. Really, does it matter? Not all that much.

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(By the way, I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.  I have a lot of beauty around me to appreciate. Every single day.)