31 days of LIVING in transition :: it's curtains for you {day 31}

31 October 2011

IMG_20111029_125105.jpgOk, girls (and man), it's the last day of this slightly underwhelming series. :) I hope there's at least been a nugget or two that has inspired you to live wherever you are for whenever and however long you are there. It's good for me to remember that we are offered life to the fullest, and we have only to say yes to take Him up on his brilliant and beautiful offer.

Yesterday we did something that I'd wanted to for awhile, but with not really knowing when or how or where this year might take us, I put it off and waited for the next step or a sign or a plane ticket. But those things haven't yet come. What did arrive, however, was a sense of peace and an intense desire to live in a place that looked a little more like home, even if only for a week or a month or a year.

We put up curtains.

Our bedroom "suite", frantic and messy and crazy at it is (for being an office/bedroom/bathroom/storage closet), is now framed with lovely inexpensive curtains that kinda match the random assortment of items that were so graciously given to our family when we returned to KC. I love them. And I stayed up late looking at them until I fell asleep with a smile on my face.


It looks like my home. And I loved waking up to them. And I look forward to walking in there and cleaning or reading or working... a smallish investment for a huge payback: feeling at home.

The River Into WordsSo that's where we end. Tomorrow I'll keep trying to live with intention, but I'll enjoy not having to make it all make sense in a blog post. Sometimes it's hard to make sense of. But I truly appreciate you allowing me to try and joining me here with comments or notes of encouragement.

31 days of LIVING in transition :: resources {day 30}

30 October 2011

Ah! We're almost done with these 31 days! And I feel like I haven't been super great at sharing much wisdom or offering much camaraderie. So on this day, I wanted to point you toward some blogs and resources where I find such things like wisdom and camaraderie and other ideas for living with intention while permanently living in transition. (If you've been around, these links probably aren't new to you, but want to make sure and draw attention to these fabulous women.) Enjoy!

the experts
The Missional Mom
Simple Mom
Nesting Place

friends working or living in similar contexts
The Task at Hand
Branson Family Blog
9,000 miles from Kansas
On the Far Side of the Sea

Now, back to loving on the wee sick one, prepping for some kiddo halloween fun (I usually start the preparations one whole day before), and worshiping with our church family this morning. Oh, and hanging some curtains! More on that tomorrow... 

31 days of LIVING in transition :: a night off {day 29}

How can one survive the daily tedium of transition? Treat oneself to a day or night off every once in awhile.

We have a kiddo sick today. A sad wee lad with a fever and a nasty cough and swollen cheeks. So there's been crying and frustration ... and this is mainly just from me and the 3 or so hours of non-sleep I spent by his side in the night.

Tonight the sister rescued me and we went to shop for some necessities and then treated ourselves to a yummy appetizer dinner. It was fab and just what this exhausted mama ordered.


So, do it. Treat yourself, even for just a couple of hours. Take the night off, enjoy some company, and remember to have fun. We did. We laughed and laughed until we cried and embarrassed ourselves. All good things for living.

31 days of LIVING in transition :: finding narnia {day 28}

29 October 2011

IMG_8816We spent the better part of our road trip listening to a radio theatre production of The Chronicles of Narnia. I'm so, so glad to say that our family loves this series. All of it. And when Aslan's roar comes through the radio, the children yell, "Yay, it's God!" They are discovering traits and cares of our Father through CS Lewis' imagining of Him.

And the husband and I are, too. Relearning who He is, how He loves, where and how He's at work.

One of the stories in particular, the Horse and His Boy, has a scene which hasn't left my mind. A boy, who's had terrible luck and a rough go of it, so distraught and frustrated and rightfully so, says something like, "Why has all this happened to me? Why do terrible things follow me? I'm cursed!" (a paraphrase). And Aslan, who has been working ceaselessly behind the scenes, tells him of all the ways He has worked, all theses things, these "curses", that Aslan orchestrated to protect the boy from actual harm. And also, to bring the boy home.

Oh, I'm so reminded that there is something greater than me at work. And even when tough things happen or I feel cursed or unlucky or unloved, He is protecting me, teaching me, loving me, doing good for me.

So today, we went to our park, our safe happy place in the city that we miss when we're gone and love when we're here. And we looked for Narnia, hunted down secret doors, found a lamppost, and waited for Aslan.


31 days of LIVING in transition :: sans internet {day 27}

Yesterday, and the day before that and the day before that, we were without internet. I won't go into the whole story, but needless to say it was my fault and it's now been rectified (thank you, husband).

Moral of the story? um... always double check your hotel room before you check out.

And now, a funny pic:

my reindeer!

31 days of LIVING in transition :: i know it's there {day 26}

27 October 2011

truth be told, these 31 days of living in transition have been more like days of dragging myself and barely surviving in transition. these 31 days started out rough and haven't quite yet made it out of the ditch. because the thing is, some people see a light at the end of the tunnel, an end to the transition, a start of something else, something new. and some don't, not right now.

i know it's there, but i don't yet see it.


{this post brought to you by no caps and the number 26}

31 days of LIVING in transition :: fellow travelers {day 25}

25 October 2011

We spend the evening with friends and sweet wine. They are fellow travelers, walking a similar path of transition between two worlds. So much comfort, so much encouragement is found in our meeting and laughing and nodding. The parallel stories.

The friendship is not so old - only four years in - and only a month spent in proximity, but on this couch and sitting side-by-side, nothing feels new or awkward or strange. There is no angst, not much hidden, few things left unsaid. In so short a time, we fit it all in: the smell of newborn baby, the children who have grown, the companionship of a family who knows.

No judgment, but sweet communion.


31 days of LIVING in transition :: in pictures {days 21-24}

Ok, so apparently I can't blog on the road. But i was taking pictures of fall foliage. So, I'm gonna cheat on this one, and instead of sharing any deeply personal thoughts or stories, just let the pictures of Minnesota in Autumn speak for themselves... they soothe this weary-in-transitioning soul.

{forgive the overabundance of fun retro pic gadgets for the smart phone. I have no excuse.}






31 days of LIVING in transition :: follow the Leader {day 20}

21 October 2011

Blogging every day is harder than it looks! Only 11 more to go... I think I can, I think I can.

Tomorrow we go up to Minnesota for a long weekend, to share our work with a church and some family. I would say I'm looking forward to it, but the 14 hours each way, in a van, with our kiddos... well, that will take extra bits of grace and stamina.

With this whole year+ being what appears to be a never-ending transition, we're trying to take small steps in obedience, in the right direction, attempting to recognize where and how it is God leads us. Some days are more stagnant than others, and some days are more frantic than others. And this month has seen both. And I'm weary.

But still, we move forward, and sideways, and maybe even backwards a little bit, straining to get a better view, on our tip-toes and eyes straight ahead. We look for Him to give the signal, catch His eye, and then we wait for what's next.

And tomorrow, it's Minnesota. So we go, not really knowing the whats or hows, but praying and trusting in the whys. Grateful for another step. Praising the One who leads.


31 days of LIVING in transition :: falling into autumn {day 19}

19 October 2011

Isn't autumn/fall the most beautiful of all transitions? With that in mind, get out! Enjoy it! Revel in the fact that transition is a natural order of being. Nothing is intended to remain stationary forever.

31 days of LIVING in transition :: the anniversaries {day 18}

The man and I like to remember dates in our history. Besides birthdays, we try to celebrate anniversaries of all sorts: when we met, first date, engagement, when we found out we were expecting the boy (or the girl, and the wee lad), when we experienced a tragedy, when we moved to Ireland, etc etc. Remembering these days, these milestones that tell our story, prove that something bigger than us is at work, and promise a future full of anniversaries, both good and bad.

So yesterday (Oct 18th) was the 14th anniversary of our first date, but we actually didn't really celebrate it all that much. Instead, I remembered the anniversary of the day before. The day he first called me his future bride. Because that is the unpredictable one, the one that came during our second conversation, the day after we met, the day before our first date, 13 months before our engagement.


Strange, but true. He was joking, of course. And I laughed and laughed. It was absurd, and we both knew it, but it would turn out to be real. Prophecy.

Sometimes I think about that day, about how ignorant I was then to the life we would have. Not a bad life at all, but one I thought I knew but still never expected. And still don't know what to expect. Our relationship, our path, our life continues to evolve. 

I hope and wait for the next evolution.

The River Into Words

31 days of LIVING in transition :: pretending {day 17}

31 days of LIVING in transition :: the change {day 16}

17 October 2011

Not super transitiony, but about living, nonetheless. 

Had a brilliant afternoon with our church family in downtown Kansas City; a community and a city we've really grown to cherish. Didn't think I'd ever fall in love with my hometown, but during this past year we've really embraced re-discovering the city, eclectic neighbourhoods, downtown parks, yummy cafes... It's a vastly different city than the one we left 3+ years ago.

Or maybe we're just different people, and didn't know where or how to look for its treasures.

Maybe that's the lesson. During any transition, things will change. You will change. And it'll be OK. And you may discover the hidden treasures you never thought to look for.

Oh my, that is hokey! ha! G'night all.


31 days of LIVING in transition :: make a haven {day 15}

15 October 2011

My transient existence involves moving every couple of years, give or take a new baby or two. And I've found it hard to embrace the lifestyle we've been called to live when I don't actually like living in whatever house/apartment/dorm/bedroom we find ourselves in.

A good friend of mine once told me to do what it takes to make it feel like home. Within reason, of course. In the past this has involved collecting autumn leaves to throw in our tree-less back yard, dragging our duvet from one end of the country to the other, or treating myself a new mug even if I'm eating in a kitchen stock-full of them.

Here, in our current home away from home away from home, it has meant turning our tiny little balcony into our backyard, deck, and play-area.


We're on the first floor of an apartment building, facing the parking lot, so it felt weird letting our children play out there unaccompanied and in full view of strangers. I didn't like having our drapes open at night because everyone could see everything on the inside. And we so missed our garden in Ireland and felt parched for green space.

Enter a small investment in some bamboo fencing, a ball of twine, and utility scissors. And still some autumn leaves scattered about for good measure. A small baby slide, a vintage orange patio chair, a plastic storage container filled to the brim with peppers, a thriving basil plant, and some cloth diapers hanging to dry.


We can still see the cars and talk to the people as they pass by, but we do so under hanging firefly lights. Instead of pavement, we now look out our sliding glass doors to see bamboo and greenery and life. It's small, it's cramped, it's never particularly neat, but it's our little space. Our haven. The investment was small, but everyday we live the benefits.

For the days when living in transition stinks... {day 14}

14 October 2011

But really, I don't know. I don't know at all. I have no idea where we'll be and when. If I think about it too much the anxiety does again start to raise, the pain in the chest becomes a little more acute. Or I can get up and fold the laundry, hug the kiddos and kiss the booboos. I can write the thank you notes and stamp the envelopes. I can order the prayer cards and meet the people. 
I can pray the prayers, the prayers of "Yes, God. I know you, God. I trust that you've got this figured out, even when I don't have a clue. I'll wait on you, God." For the time and the place and the know-hows and the whys and the next thing and the next thing...
I'll wait on Him.
These are some thoughts of my own from May that I need to remember on this day in October. Because days 1-13 are all well and good, but sometimes living in transition stinks... I happen to average about one of these types of days per week.

Transition-y lesson to be learned? Write notes to yourself (or to God, or to your most beloved pet who rests in peace in your backyard who you poured your heart out to at the age of 12). Go back and look at the path of faith you've been walking. Some days you need to reread your own words to remember where you're going, and why.


31 days of LIVING in transition :: invite people in {day 13}

13 October 2011

Once you've mastered leaving your house, it's time to let people in.


This aspect of life I struggle with most - opening my door and opening my heart - most likely due to just pure selfishness. I like to escape to our shabby little apartment, put my pjs on, and watch Alias for three hours straight.

If I don't invite people over, into my house and into my heart, there's no one there to judge me, no one there to pay attention to, no one there to question my all-about-me lifestyle. But then, there's also no one there to love on my family, no one there to share new stories with, no one there asking questions that need answering.

My other problem: I know I'm leaving. No matter where we are, I know it's not for the long haul. In the back of my mind, the thought that we'll be leaving in one or two years haunts me and tells me it's no use, too much energy, not enough time to actually make a lasting connection with anyone.

And that, my friends, is a lie. 

There is always time for a cup of tea. There is always time to let someone put their feet up. There is always time to love somebody. Do you know how much Jesus walked? A lot! From town to town, up and down Israel, from one mother-in-law's house to the tax collector's. He was constantly on the move. And yet, when the bleeding woman touched him, he stopped and asked her for her story.

If I'm going to proactively live in transition, we simply have to open our home to people. We need them to enter our chaos, understand our stories, pray for us or celebrate with us or mourn with us. And we have to do the same for them... or it's as if we never lived here at all.

No matter your transition - if you're in a moment of pain, or a moment of triumph - invite someone in to share a bit of the burden or the joy. Or at least a cup of tea. Let them see your mess.

Katharina, seeing our mess, which included a dissected baby grand piano in the dining room.

Forgotten girl, the sequel

12 October 2011

In browsing our flickr account today, I ran across a video of the girl. I watched it through silly tears streaming into my eyes and down my cheeks. I miss her so, even though she lives in my house. This sweet child, who always was a mystery, who writes on walls and on her tongue without any fear, who wants to be a cowgirl - no a knight -- no a mom, who's teeth used to not touch due to too much pacifier, who was born into our craziness and makes it so much crazier.

Oh I miss her so, though we've never ever been apart.



31 days of LIVING in transition :: leave your house {day 12}

Yes, leave it. Get off the couch (or, if you're anything like me, out from under the covers, outta bed, comb your frizzy hair), open the front door, and leave your house.

As heretofore mentioned, when in transition I want to run, I want to hide (much like Bono does). And while the hiding isn't so good, the running might actually be onto something. It is all too easy to not live and hide from the reality that change is coming - or recently happened - when the only thing staring back at you is your TV and your Facebook account. Leave. Your. House.


What to do when you leave your house? I'm so glad you asked! Here's a top 10 list for things to do when you leave your house, stop hiding from transition, get out of survival mode and take baby steps towards life!
  1. walk around your neighbourhood (bonus: meet people & exercise).
  2. find your closest coffee shop and become a regular (same time, same place, same barista).
  3. update your card catalog: get a driver's license, library card, loyalty card (these things say: yes, I lived here! and become part of your history).
  4. talk to someone for 10-30 seconds (longer than a simple, "thanks" but shorter than, "so when I was in the hospital with mumps..."). Repeat daily and quickly increase to hourly reps.
  5. go to church (even if you don't want to, even if you're brand new, even if you're not a Christian. Church people are - mostly - friendly people and will like you and pray for you if you let them).
  6. join a club or take a class (in addition to, or in lieu of, church). Places to look for said clubs/classes are: library, grocery store bulletin board, or Meetup.com.
  7. get a haircut. By month five, you'll really need one.
  8. go where the people are (I will cover this more later in the week).
  9. find a park, plop down on some green space, and people watch.
  10. day trip! pick a spot on the map within a couple hours drive, find a friend to go with (or take yourself and a journal/book), and spend the day away from the mess that is transition.
Now, don't think I practice all or any of these things every day. I've experimented with most of these, but the idea is to discover who you are, what feeds your soul, and what grounds you when everything else is up in the air. 

I try to remember that the best way to live with intention while permanently living in transition is to leave the four walls of my heart's shelter, and go where the people are, where relationships wait, where I can think and pray and actively pursue experiences in whatever current home, situation, job, mess I find myself in.

So yeah, leave your house, and find who you are, where you are, for however long you are there. Or here.

31 days of LIVING in transition :: the process and the crazies {day 11}

11 October 2011

Thought it might be good to define what I believe to be transition. Here's what the macbook dictionary says:

Yeah, that's a pretty good definition. I might edit it slightly:

Or, something looking like this:

the wee lad, experiencing the 1st Birthday transition

Yep, that seems about right.

Anyone and everyone is going through transition at any given time, whether it be moving, baby-making, graduating, healing, marrying, divorcing... any particular life event that takes you from one place of static living to another. 

I think it lasts one year because it typically takes experiencing the fullness of the seasons, holidays and milestones of a year to get a handle on things. {I say I'm going on seven years now of transitiony-ness because our events (new job, illness, moving, new baby, moving, new assignment, baby, moving, next assignment, moving) have all happened within each event's yearlong transition.}

And by the crazies, well, i think if you're still with me on day 11 (or year seven), you get it.

Tomorrow, we'll try to put the crazies behind us and get on with the living.

31 days of LIVING in transition :: hokey coping {day 10}

10 October 2011


"You need to change how you cope with transition."

This is what one of our supervisors told me as we were readying to leave the field. At first I was taken aback and more than a little bit insulted. How dare she tell me that I don't cope well with transition. The nerve!

But the truth was I didn't cope well with transition. In fact, I didn't cope. I hid, buried my head, cried under the covers, put off the packing, escaped the cleaning, and pretty much just distanced myself as much as I could from the process. And it was still painful. And change still happened. Putting up a fight and refusing to participate just made the transition worse, and left me feeling lost and alone.

So with those words from my supervisor still ringing (and stinging) in my ears, I returned to the States and began our year(s) of transition looking for a different perspective.

I'm hoping that in this next week I can share with you some of the ways I've learnt to cope with transition. No big surprise here, but the most ready and obvious coping mechanism for all things hard and strange is to really, truly, purposefully live. Though that sounds all nice and hokey, there are some tangible, accessible, and daily things anyone can do to "live with intention while permanently living in transition."

At least, that's what I'm counting on.


I prefer to be known as "Freelancer"

That's an Alias reference. I love it when people get that.


Anyway, forgot to mention I've started a wee bit of writing on the side for Halogen, an online mag with the tagline "be the change." Don't we all want to take part in a positive change for our communities, in the world, for people? I do. And I hope my few articles of 750 words or less can can contribute in the most humble of ways.

Check out my first article on organic baby gear, or visit other sites I've contributed to here. And be on the lookout for more. Yep, I said it. Not you gotta hold me to it.

31 days of LIVING in transition :: love the one you're with {day 9}

09 October 2011

No matter how long you live somewhere, or how short-lived you think this season in life might be, it is impossible to live it to the full - to live it with intention and without regret - if you don't invest a little bit of time and energy into where you find yourself at this very moment.

I say that having missed out on this key point. For the first few years of our transitoriness (yep, it's a word - i just made it up), I was just waiting. And waiting. And checking my inbox. And our support account. I just didn't have the energy to prepare to leave AND attempt living. And that, itself, was exhausting. I never had a break from the waiting or wondering, and I didn't really enjoy the process, or the journey, which is sorta kinda the point, right?

near our "home" - for five short weeks - in North Carolina {2008}

You gotta love the one you're with. Love the town you are calling home, even if it's just a few weeks. Explore it. Take pictures of it. Meet the people. Plan an excursion. Find a church. Read the paper. Love it so that you can call it home and really mean it. And so you can miss it a little when you're gone. Trust me, it will be a sweeter memory if it's mixed with a smidgeon of homesickness, minus the regret.

The River Into Words

31 days of LIVING in transition :: the seasons {day 8}

08 October 2011

I originally wrote this post in May for Five Minute Fridays... so I'd repost some thoughts about the changing of seasons and bracing for the unknown.


When Seasons Change...


In Ireland, the only sure way I noticed the seasons change was by the placement of the sun in the sky. I knew winter was coming when I found myself squinting through my windows around dinnertime. I realized summer was on it's way when the boy woke me up hours before he needed to be dressed for school. The change in temperature was so casual, so incremental, that it held no clues for the seasons. It was all about the sun - or lack thereof.

Here, in Missouri, the seasons come quicker and heavier. The temp spikes early. The sun starts to burn a little. The grass turns green again (an anomoly here, as the grass is literally always greener in Ireland). The rain comes and the thunder booms. It is spring, nearly summer, and I love - LOVE - this time of year here in my homeland.

ok, so this is kansas actually - but you get the idea
And yet, I know there's still change ahead. Not just environmental change, but geography change, familial change, work change. This season our little five-person-unit is in is not meant to last forever, or very long, at all. It could be changing quicker than we realise, like summer coming to the midwest before we're ready for sweat on our brows. Or it could be longer, quieter, hardly noticeable, as we slowly see the sun rise higher and later into the day.

I don't know where this seasonal change will take us exactly, or when it will take place. But I feel it coming, I feel my body readying, and I can sense that the disorder that my life will soon become isn't really disorderly at all. This was how He made us: to change, and ebb, and flow with the seasons.

I hope I'm ready.



Interestingly enough, five months later, and our life here is pretty much the same now as it was then. Except I'm maybe, just maybe, a little more ready and still a little more scared.

The River Into Words

31 days of LIVING in transition :: the roots {day 7}

07 October 2011

You know how they say, plant down some roots and watch them grow? Well, I've planted a lot of roots, and very rarely do I get to see them grow.

I used to idealize this thought, the notion that home and security meant digging in deep and staying till the end of the credits. Many brilliant people do it - and rightly so - but we haven't yet been able. And I'm getting to be OK with it, learning to see the beauty in putting down a few roots, watching them trace their way around the globe, designing our underground family tree.

Cuz actually, we have done a little bit of planting.




And for a fun season (the season of our wee lad's gestation), we watched things grow.




And then we ate them.



Ireland 2009, Day 1 043

in Ireland.

The River Into Words