Friday, August 4, 2017

Summering in MN 2017

"Summering" in Minnesota sounds fancy doesn't it? The beauty and deception of social media....

We got to celebrate the adoption of two new ones to our family!!! (please don't tell my beautiful "T" that I posted this pic bc she looks nothing like herself, but this was the only pic I had) ***fun challenge: find MaryAlice (story for another day)
A few days into our trip to MN I legitimately questioned my sanity. There were tears. The calmer, contented Abby got lost somewhere between Florence and The Atlanta-Hartsfield airport. I figured the travel would be at the worst "one really bad day." Somehow I didn't factor in all the details of the five hour trip to Atlanta, overnight with Nanny and Papa, early morning to the airport, flying Southwest needing crucial airport accommodations (which didn't happen), and finally 2 1/2 hours from Minneapolis to Duluth... and eventually back again.  OKAY, so it was two pretty rough days... maybe 4 (evidently, I'm still a bit in denial). 

It was my choice to make. No one pressured or forced me to tackle a three week trip myself. I think somewhere deep down, I needed to just go home. A girl needs her safe place to fall, process, connect and be surrounded by her people.

It may have been a bonus... 
  • To prove to myself (hopefully not as much others) I could take care of my own kids (pride always comes before a fall... I fell)
  • To see how much Abby remembered. She hadn't been "home" since her hospital stay which seemed to wipe out her recollections (Still unsure if she remembered and was happy or had no idea where she was and was frustrated).
  • For me and my girls to reconnect with old friends and family (SUCCESS!!! one out of three isn't bad)

How we do life isn't an accident that's happen to us... we have a choice. Relationships need time in order to grow. I want to live my life in "choose people" mode, so I must make the effort to invest in the people I care about. Sometimes this means setting aside simple things, but sometimes it's about the big gesture. A trip home is obviously not just a big selfless gesture, but enduring and remaining hopeful enough for the sake of time with people I care about is. (I was so caught up with trying to be sane that I took few pictures with all the friends I got to see... so sad).
at least we got some pics! Miss this gal!
Seriously spent most days with Danielle this may be the only pic we got :(
Having our kids reminded me to take some pics! Old friends are some of the best! Loved this gal since middle school!



New relationships are fun and fresh. I remember loving college because I could re-invent myself, but into my forties I don't really want to re-invent myself. I have worked hard to love those around me well, invest in people, and build a reputation worth keeping.  At this age, I would really just like to bask in the aftermath of those hard fought battles and do easy every now and then with those I have built a shared history. I know "hard" isn't over or a thing of the past, but being closer to these people in this place seemed like it could be a refill for my soul. 

I expected Abby to be tiring because her cares alone are just that, but I had hoped against all odds she'd be the calm sweeter variety we've been experiencing.
Not so much.

Pretty much a reflection of at least half our time in MN... on the deck while Abby played on the trampoline and the kids ran around the yard!!!

Safe places to fall

I recently realized I needed to take Advil before attending social gatherings. They are so taxing because I have to work hard at "friend-ing". There is so much history and people facts to remember, stories to share, and other's stuff to take in if I want to be a good friend. We all have so many layers of who we were that contribute to who we are. There is also the calculating what to share and how much is falling on safe and open ears? Not to mention my brain capacity must be declining or reaching capacity most days because I can easily forget stories or I cannot place the person it belongs to. Being in a good place without distraction is kind of a big deal when it comes to making friends, and it's not a life option right now.

These sweet buddies picked up where they left off without skipping a beat giving their mamas some soul sister time!
Finding "kindred spirits" (I'm back to Anne of Green Gables thanks to Netflix) means I weed through those who are nice and the ones who actually have time and space for new relationships. Then we start the process of finding those who are like-minded and we enjoy each other's brand of crazy. 

Home in Florence hasn't been a safe place to fall. I've learned to do more crying alone with my God and found HE is always enough. Being back in MN I found that those relationships weren't crucial to my survival like I had mourned early on, but the one with my Heavenly Father is. Those people I was holding on to with expectations were instead gifts of the most precious category to feed my soul.

Aubrey and Millie... love these two little friends!

The Lord has surrounded me in my new home with some amazing women, whom I've grown to love and deeply respect. They are treasures of encouragement and have extended their hands and hearts in true friendship, but it takes TIME. We fight for our time together by giving each other a lot of grace and often going to great lengths to invest in each other. 

Fragile masks

I'm not much for fake. I don't like shallow relationships, but the deep waters take infinite amounts of time and brain power to grow and maintain... I battle growing weary in the process. I lead with honesty and may err on the side of too open too often. I came to Florence at the lowest point in my life. I led with broken. The Lord has been putting the pieces back together in many beautiful, better ways, but easy hasn't been a part of that process. Grown, stretched, and refined are familiar terms in this season; but so are broken, worn, and weary. 

I've often told others who struggle that it's okay to cry as long as you stop. I stopped the tears, but it was before the cleansing was finished. I've somehow learned to hold it together (other than some rogue moments) in fear of total breakdown in front of strangers who don't know me well enough to come back. I don't want to frighten people, but the tears seems to creep up on me at the least opportune times.

Sweet Solomon wasn't ready for all the love... being #10 means a lot of extra squeezes!!!

Brothers and sisters

Brothers and sisters by blood and those chosen by God, have been bonded together through time and often extreme fires. There is no replacement for TIME. It is a commodity we cannot collect quicker. We cannot infuse life experiences into an afternoon, but only with the passage of days. 

I have never been more thankful for the homes I could walk into or the places I could go with the people who share my past, present and future. They remind me of God's faithfulness and His numerous blessings. I needed a safe place to fall during this trip and it was a gift to re-visit those whose love remained unchanged despite the miles of road between us.

The love here is like nothing I've ever seen from Abby!

There was something beautiful about all being in the same place at the same time. It didn't matter what we did or what went on around us. I took in the laughter along with the hard of less sleep and unsettled kids. We squeezed in many moments together. Most were amidst chaos but the few where Abby occupied herself in the car, bounced contentedly enclosed on the trampoline, or dancing to the breeze while walking were precious. There were indeed many walks, but I never walked alone.

Our Ethel... miss this lady!

Abby update

Abby was happy during the bulk of our trip. She wasn't mad or even upset most of the time, but she was significantly aggressive. She went back to the kind of pinching and pulling that produced blood, bruising and handfuls of hair. We had to hide everything that wasn't nailed down because it was dropped or tossed. I think she only ended up breaking a few things, but it wasn't from lack of effort. We spent a good part of every day taking her for walks or trouble shooting how to keep her in a defined space. Most cares often required two sets of hands but it wasn't an unfamiliar place. It just was not a place I would have brought her across the country by myself in. 

There were still many opportunities to visit and reconnect with friends. Visits may have been shorter or canceled altogether, but I immensely enjoy the ones who could accommodate my limited time and circumstances. Like most of my life requires, my friends understand.

Grandma is amazing for helping MaryAlice pull off a tea party for the girls!

We'll have time

A few months ago something profound settled over me in a life giving realization. I looked at my girls and the sixteen years I had been a mom. It seemed like an eternity and a day all at the same time. I felt the years passing by at lightning speed. The desire to be present in my life and not miss the moments pushed through the "busy" and settled onto my heart. 

These days pass by quickly. Some day I will be able to have coffee everyday with a friend, but I will miss the chaos of a full house. All the days I long for just a few moments of quiet will melt into days of longing for someone to step in and create noise. 

Today, I will learn to take the short moments of solace amidst the crazy. I'll be content to build relationships at a snail's pace. I will take the trips back home even when it's hard. I will be all the more grateful for the safe places of shared history and the new ones that give time and space to forge new ones. 



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