01 January 2011

Baptism by Fire

Well, it's only been six months. I am not sure what this blog will be in the new year. Hopefully a place I return to more often. I have missed writing. The end of the year is such a time of reflection. You realize...I have realized what's been missing...or lacking...or completely void. Writing is one of those things in my life. As I wrote earlier on the good ole Facebook, "Hope springs eternal! Hope for a better year, better self, and mostly, much better outcomes."

I saw a church sign this week that read, "Water Baptisms This Sunday." This completely confused me. I thought all baptisms are with/by water. I shared this confusion, once again, on the good ole Facebook. Not thinking much of the few comments I received, later in the day I received one that...well, it kinda knocked me off my feet. One of those rare moments where your breath catches, but not in the good way. This acquaintance (see how I didn't say friend...because let's be honest, very few of those people on the good ole Facebook are friends) simply replied to my status, "Well, there is baptism by fire. But that can be messy."

If there is one thing I understand, it is this. Baptism by fire. (Anything by fire.) That it is messy. Not just messy but completely and utterly destructive. Life changed (forever) on January 20 of 2010. I can't help but think about just this on New Year's Eve. How life is nothing of what I thought it would be 365 days after NYE's 2009.

The fire...the baptism...the baptism by fire...

It has been on my mind too much this week. I am actually glad the parents are out of town. I would hate them to see me so down. Well, not down. But...but so reflective. So...so...living in what was and not in what is. (If you read this M and D: I know a new year is coming. And I know you love me. And I know you have shared with me in this grief. But say it with me, "Hope springs eternal!")

I went into storage two days ago and pulled out some of the boxes from the fire. They have been sitting, untouched, for the last 11 months. I thought. No, I knew they needed to be touched. Looked throw. Thought about. Cried over. And cleaned up. There are many boxes. Most it will be sorted...into the trash. I picked three boxes full of dishes. Gosh, if you know me any, you know I love (see, I did not say loved) my dishes. I have been collecting, finding abstract pieces, mostly vintage, for years. I filled the sinks at home with hot water, rolled my sleeves up, and went to work on my beloved dishes. (Remember many months ago when I wrote about it just being stuff, but my stuff. And sometimes we just love stuff. Well, this is the stuff I l-o-v-e.)

Surprisingly I did not cry over the pieces that went into the trash. Nor I did cry when the soot would not wash away (as easily as I had wanted). Nope, the tears came when I opened the boxes. That smell. I worked for months to get that smell out of my few remaining clothes, car, and...memory. That smell overwhelmed me then. And it overwhelms me now. It stayed in my memory for far too long. But I kept going. I washed. Rewashed. And finally loaded them in the dishwasher for a sanitizing cycle. Even then, after all that scrubbing, I had to make the decision to throw away certain pieces. But my favorites, well most my favorites, cleaned up. They are waiting to be wrapped up and put in new boxes. (Boxes that don't hold THAT smell.)

I hate thinking of the last year as a baptism by fire. In some strange way, by some strange manner, it may be the most accurate description.

Starting over. Finding a new way. Washed away (literally). (Remember there was a flood, too.) Surrounded and upheld in love by dear people. Called to continue on. And...to find hope in the midst of a mess. In the midst of despair.

It has been messy. The clean up continues. Outside. Inside. Boxes. And new boxes.

What I thought would be, is not the reality of today. Yet, I am here.

Even in a mess, when one is a mess, life is messy...hope can be found. Love can be found. God can be found.

Hope springs eternal. Amen.

ps: Look at my Marigold. Goodness how time even changes our favorite four legged friends.

25 June 2010

Photo Friday: Newspaper Puppy

My Holy Terror. Good thing she is so cute.

24 June 2010

Two Months: In Pictures

In no certain order.

19 June 2010

Two Months

To play catch up? Or just go from here? I guess updates would be nice. How about a little list? Or a long list? I am sure additions and amendments are to come. Check back.
  1. I graduated. Most days I thought it wouldn't happen, but it did.
  2. I survived a flood. No house damage, but I was without power and water locked for over 48 hours. Best part? (Hint of sarcasm.) It was during final's week.
  3. Broke up with Nashville. It had to be done. We just were not a good fit. I will visit. One day. Many months from now. I still know some quality people in the area.
  4. Once again, I had to say good-bye to friends. From Kansas to Nashville to Atlanta and Athens, we scattered around this big ole country. I miss them dearly.
  5. Said hello to the familiar. Moved back to Georgia. The parents are adjusting to having a child back in the house. Bless them.
  6. Went on a glorious vacation to the beach. 8 days in the sun. And guess what? I only burned on the last day. This was a BIG accomplishment.
  7. And then went on vacation for another few days to the lake. With much gladness, this retreat was interrupted with two big announcements.
  8. My puppy! I got the cutest puppy, a lovely and ever chewing basset-beagle mix. She is loud. She fights sleep. Growing like a weed. My little sugar lump lump is named Marigold Francis. Have no idea if I will ever have children, so I gave her a middle name.
  9. And, the number two development is that I got a job. The last four, now five months have been a tiresome mixture of grief, sadness, trauma, heart break, and processing. I will be the local pastor for two churches in the Athens area. My excitement is contagious. My commitment to the church remains strong. I just want to serve and love God's people. And that is what I will be doing. I start at the end of the month. And yes, I will preach at both churches each Sunday.
  10. Life is finding a new rhythm. That's the best way to describe the current moment and mood.
Continued peace,

ps: Meet Marigold!

23 April 2010

Photo Friday

Thinking 'Bout Somethin'

HANSON | MySpace Music Videos

Oh, Lord. This is amazing. I do love me some Hanson. And dancing!

Been thinkin'

ps: Thanks Amber and Katie for spreading the good news!

16 April 2010

Photo Friday: Khette

Khette's Ordination
Nashville, TN
April 2010

*Photos courtesy of Betsy. Thanks.

14 April 2010

That Cardigan

You know the cardigan? The one I mentioned two posts down.

The one with silver and gold, shiny and shimmery?

I busted it out yesterday. Paired it with a brown tank and wide leg jeans.

Not one, but two gentlemen and fellow colleagues mentioned I looked pretty and beautiful in said cardigan. It helps that I put on make-up on and curled the hair.

But hey, I put on the cardigan. No longer just hanging in the closet. It does not have the colors of black or blue involved.

So there you go. Not quite as new. But still newish.

I guess that means I need to wear it again...and again...and again.