Monday, September 30, 2013

God isn't a Sneak

If you tell everyone your wish then it won't come true.

We've all heard someone say that at a birthday party after the candles have been blown out. And, while I don't really believe such nonsense as wishes and jinxing your wish by revealing it...I kind of sort of do. When I have a dream or a goal or a hope I hesitate to tell anyone, because deep down I wonder if my wish will fizzle and die like the candle atop a cake.

I wrote about it here:

"Part of me is afraid to tell anyone my dream because it will jinx it. But, I don't really believe that (I'm not super stitious but I am a little stitious.--Name that show!!!) and I don't think that God is tricky like that. Whether or not I share my extravagant dream has nothing to do with whether it will come true."

But, in that same post I did talk about some of my hopes and aspirations as a writer. I dreamed and wished and imagined:

"But, until then, I wish that I could give something that I have written to one of my beloved writers. I wish I could give it to Kate Conner or Glennon Melton or Heather Kopp. I wish that they could read it and give some insight: Encouragement, criticism.....anything. I just want to know if I have any potential and any shot at this dream coming true. I need a boost of confidence. I want someone that's been where I am now to tell me how to write from the heart and be brave. "

I had forgotten that I actually published this post, but stumbled again on it the other day. I wrote it two months ago, and today I want to tell you that God isn't a sneak. Opening up and talking about you desires will not automatically kill your dreams. God delights in you (and me). He loves you (and me). My future is already decided and has always been decided and sharing my dream isn't going to change what God has already ordained. God used this post to prove that to me, because as you know, a month later I was published. "I just want to know if I have any potential and any shot at this dream coming true. I need a boost of confidence." Having even a short story published was a huge boost of confidence to me.

And, then a couple weeks later, would you believe it??? But, one of the very authors I listed in that post actually visited my blog (after I sent her a link to it of course) and wrote an encouraging note to me. When I saw the comment on my blog, I texted my friend something to the effect of:  "Heather freaking Kopp just commented on my blog! Fkltrrekrhwytlytgjkrgfgt!!!!!!"

This meant so much to me because I admire this woman. If you haven't heard of her then please visit her blog and read her book Sober Mercies (Isn't that just a beautiful title?)---Life changing. Hers is an amazing story of grace and God and redemption and all of that beautiful stuff that comes from the Gospel. I have had a draft for three months now that I revisit every few days trying to put what Heather's book has done or me into words. It's proven to be a hard thing to do. But, let me just share one thing that Sober Mercies has helped me overcome.
I don't hate my Dad anymore. I kind of hate admitting that I ever did hate my Dad, but there you have it. I did and for a long, long time, and I was in complete denial of it. But, while I was reading Heather's and her Dad's and her Stepdad's stories I suddenly was struck by the absence of hate in my heart....this sense of lightness. It was just gone. And, then I realized of course how real and heavy and silently it had sat and poisoned me for years. And, that made me think and ponder and wrestle and sort through a whole lot of junk. But, it was good and I'm better having read her book.
Besides admiring her for the amazing woman she is, I also hope and pray that I can write like her one day. With honesty and love and Christ-centeredness and beautiful, poetic wordiness. I am in awe of how well she takes confusing convoluted issues that totally baffle me. Things that I struggle to make sense of in my head and can't even begin to put into words and she just writes it so articulately and concisely and I say, "Yes! That! Grrrr. Why didn't I say it first?"


And that is what I wanted to share today: God is good and loves me and showed me that by making my dream come true. He cares about me. Even about the little--in the grand scheme of life--things. I just feel so very loved and noticed today.

  And, also please go visit and order her book.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The $600 I don't miss.

"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
I'm sure I have heard this portion of scripture a hundred times before, but I read it in an all together new way about two months ago. It has been on my mind these past weeks and little did I know that God brought me to this passage for purpose.
A few weeks back I left my laptop on a plane. This did not occur to me until I was 2 hours away from the airport and the plane was already on it's way to Honolulu. It was a sudden and gut wrenching realization. I had stupidly left my practically new, $400 laptop underneath my seat for goodness sake! I gasped and exclaimed what I had done to everyone in the car, and began to bemoan my plight and my idiocy. But, then I stopped short and realized that I was only acting  upset because I expected myself to feel upset. But, really, I was okay. I was more than okay. I was completely at peace. My first thought was how thankful I was to have Matthew 6:21 committed to memory. And, how thankful I was that in God's faithfulness my treasure and my heart were not bound up in something so momentary as a laptop. And, my second thought was that it really is just that....momentary, fleeting, not lasting.
If my heart is placed in a treasure with an expiration date then what will become of my heart?
I remember my old pastor's wife saying, "It's all gonna burn" quite often. It is all gonna burn eventually, or rather, it's gonna burn or get spilled on or get dropped or go on a vacation to Hawaii without you.
I've never wanted for anything, but for some reason I am a worrier. I worry about money, about job security, about my family being provided for. I check my bank account and credit card balance constantly and my desk at work is littered with post it notes of budgets and figures and trying to make my money stretch. God has always, always, always provided, yet I am still fearful. This doesn't sit well with me. This is why the verse at the top of this post has burned in my spirit for many weeks now. I want my treasure to be in something lasting, I want my heart to be found in something forever.
And, of course, this is the same chapter that has those beautiful verses on worry. He tells me not to be fearful of what tomorrow brings. He tells me to look at how he cares for the birds and the flowers...."Are you not much more valuable than they?"
It's taken years for these truths to sink in and take root in my soul. But, as I drove through Minnesota prairie I realized with overflowing joy that maybe I finally get it. And, so I was glad that I had left my laptop underneath 31C. I was glad and thankful that I had proof that my treasure lay in something deeper than an electronic gadget.
There were a couple moments throughout the following week where I did begin to feel stress and anxiety over how I was supposed to pay for a new laptop. But, it was fleeting and peace ultimately won.
I suppose I should mention that I did at one point throw my phone across the room after spending an hour being transferred to India and hung up on and put on hold multiple times to ultimately an obnoxious woman who told me off and made me half-cry. But, that wasn't because of my laptop. It was because I can't handle when people are rude to me. I will not have it!
And, then I came home a week later and found a ticket for $158 sitting on my table. I had run a red light. Do the math. That's a lot of money to lose in under ten days. And, I almost lost my peace. I began to worry again. I scribbled dollar amounts and figures on my notepad at work. I checked my credit card account multiple times in one day.
But, then my flighty and worrisome heart found it's footing again in those simple words.
"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
 I mustn't forget these words. I must keep them close and remember them always.
God is good and I sent the check in for $158 and I drove to Stuart and bought a laptop for an amazing price. And, I told people the story and laughed about it. So, really, I don't miss the $600 I lost. What I learned from this experience is worth far more than that.
 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin DO NOT destroy, and where thieves DO NOT break in and steal."

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Long Expected Party

Welcome, Autumn! Today is also Bilbo & Frodo Baggins birthday. In case you hadn't caught on yet, my family is bookish and nerdy therefore we celebrate fictional characters birthdays. We spent this afternoon preparing a most delicious hobbit & autumnal feast and will finish our day with tea and scones while watching the movie "The Hobbit". Hope you are having a splendid weekend as well!

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hear Myyyyyy Confession!!!! (To be read in Josh Groban's sultry, dramatic voice)

This is an actual photo of me when I saw how many views I had on my blog last week. Not really. Just kidding. But, when I aw this picture, I said, "There, there. It's alright. I know how you feel." and I stroked my Pinterest feed.

Hi friends, I drove to Stuart this weekend to pick my beautiful, new laptop. While there, I ate gelato and wandered down streets and made funny jokes about shovels. You had to be there. Amanda thinks I'm funny.
So, Laptop. Perhaps that means I will be posting more.

Here is a confession: I submitted a story a month ago to Prodigal Magazine. I did not expect to hear back from them what with it being my first attempt at getting published and all. So I was shocked when I got a letter from Allison Vesterfelt saying that they would like to post my story on their website. I was shocked and cried. A lot. I am a baby and all of my emotions are expressed through tears.  I didn't know how to process all of this and I discovered that I had not prepared myself to have my story out there for all to see. It's so personal and so very "mine" and I gave it away to them.

 Who do they think they are publishing the story I sent to them?!? Surely they knew that I can't handle any form of attention and would most definitely have the meltdown of ALL meltdowns?!? They should have read my story and patted me on the head and said, "You are not quite ready, dear. Try again later." But, then my ego would have been sorely bruised and I would have sworn off of writing for forever.

The day after it was published, I signed into blogger and found that over 70 people had followed the link from my story on Prodigal and had visited ***cue dramatic music*** DA-DA- blog. GASP! 70 people. I do realize that 70 is not a big number and really what did I expect? I tried to get published, I got published, and then I was shocked out of my mind because people actually dared to read what I wrote! So, naturally I shut down and used my vacationing laptop as an excuse for disappearing from the blogging world.

 It was all just so much to take in. Aside from the crying (which I was able to get under control by the second day) I kept most of this tempestuous hurricane of thoughts, doubts, and fears inside. I inward-spaz out frequently. But, I'm good at keeping it to myself and talking myself down and finding that calm place where I can regroup. And, so I gave myself a few weeks to recover and I think I am ready to emerge and write that my prolonged silence on Linden Tree has most likely driven away what few readers I may have gained from my story.

So, there it is. I'm human and although I crave vulnerability and open honesty, still I am scared stiff. And, so sometimes when life is too much and I'm having a hard time figuring it all out I say, "That's it! Time out!" and then I do my own thing and clear my head and come back to it with a better perspective. I have a better perspective now. So, I'm showing up. Hi.

Also, this is a picture of me right now:

There are days when it's all you can muster to change into polka-dotted flannels and you favourite plaid shirt and watch episode after episode of Sherlock while blowing your nose and crocheting a scarf you will never wear because it's always so freaking hot in Florida. Today is such a day. I have punctuated my Sherlock marathon with watching youtube clips of dumb people falling down. Don't judge. I'm sick.

And, another thing. Since we are on the topic of confession I think I should admit to something terrible that I am deeply ashamed of. I swore I would never be that single girl who has a "Happily Ever After" or "Someday..." or "My Future Wedding <3" Pinterest board. I have held true to my convictions (or self-righteousness. You choose.) and do NOT post wedding dresses and cute favor ideas and mason-jar-chalkboard-paint-twinkly-light romantical pretties ever under any circumstance....except that I do. I have a private Pinterest board where I secretly and sneakily pin things that I would be too embarrassed for anyone to actually see. And, sometimes, I even pin wedding things.  I'm telling you this because I need to share some very important and exciting news!

I have found my wedding dress! Wheeew! Glad I have that figured out!

Here it is. Isn't it loverly and delicate and feminine in every way? I will probably hate it by tomorrow because I am fickle when it comes to fashion. But today I love it so much that it hurts.

Alright. I think that is all for now.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I had a lovely piece written for today, but then it dawned on me this morning that it was saved to my laptop which is currently taking a vacation in Hawaii. I wish I were in Hawaii with it. Whatever. Today is my older sisters birthday.

There is nothing quite so special as having a sister near your age. We were inseparable when little and almost all of my memories are shared with her.

She was companion in play. She was by my side in every imaginary adventure I have ever been on.

She introduced me to mystery novels. She read aloud to me my first ever Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, and Agatha Christie mysteries.

She made everything a game. At lunch time we weren't really eating buttered toast with baked beans...we were Oliver Twist in the workhouse. At bed time we weren't just brushing our teeth...we were standing in front of the mirror pretending that we were in an infomercial for "Bright & Shiny" tooth whitening. Yes. We played peculiar games as children.

She and I were such talented song writers at such a young age. Together we bounced up and down on our bed and jammed to the hit song, "Tennessee: a Different Country". Together we wrote the music and the lyrics to the poetic ballad, "Lily of the Field".

She let me sneak into her bed at night when I was four since I was too scared to sleep myself. She would cover me with her ten thousand stuffed animals so Mom wouldn't find out.

She has been my best friend for 21 years. Happy 24th Birthday, Natalie. :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow.

Well, I'm back. My laptop, however, is not. So, my blogging shall be sparse until I cough up the $400 for a new laptop. Oh, well. I had an amazingly wonderful time as you can see from the pictures. I faced some of my fears and tried some new and fun things and now I feel on top of the world. As always I had a inner war going on throughout the trip. This happens every trip I take to Minnesota. I am always struggling and working through something in my heart in the midst of all of the fun. And, so I feel on top of the world and I also feel burned out and emotionally weary. I'll write more later when I can, but I did want to check in for a minute to say "Hi".  Here are a few pictures from the week.

I played paintball for the first time. Scary. New. But I did it and I kicked booty.

This makes me happy. Friends for fourteen years. She is one of the best people I know.

Redwood Falls. I saw a waterfall for the first time. We hiked and climbed rocks and I rolled down a steep hill and had an awful asthma attack. But I did something new and scary (to me) and so I'm trying not to pick on myself for being the weakling that stopped breathing.

Will, Me, Olivia, Maggie, Natalie, and Ben. Love this picture.

Those dimples.

Those eyes.

And, that scrunched up nose are why my heart broke when I said "good bye".

My people.

I will try to post again this week. No promises though. I try and steal Nat's laptop occasionally but it's hard to write a post in those few moments. Ta!