Sometimes I feel like there’s this misconception about me– or you or anyone really. The idea is that we have arrived. It’s something I’ve heard before of me and of others– “How did you do it?” And “How does it feel now that you’ve accomplished this thing?”

I just worked.

And it feels the same.

Here’s the thing, whether your craft is writing or building relationships or hosting dinners or taking photographs, there is no moment where we kick up our feet, dust off our hands, and say, that was a great accomplishment. I can be done now. That’s just not how it works when you’ve got this thing in you that must be refined and reworked and shaped and shared and repeated. Athletes play until their bodies don’t let them anymore. Writers write until they lose them selves or their minds.

I barely remember any “release dates.” What I remember is the process because that’s where the meaning is for me. I remember tears and anguish, and I remember inspiration and dizzy typing. Getting published just seems like a, oh that’s nice that this wasn’t entirely for myself. Or the occasional, hooray I can feed myself today!

I say this now because, one, I don’t want anyone to have misconceptions about me. And two, because I’m feeling restless and I want to be honest about this life I lead. I’m restless for understanding what all this writing is for. I’m restless for understanding my platform and my audience and my future. There is no arrival here yet, I assure you.

And now I’m turning this page back to you: did you ever feel like you arrived? Do you feel restless with your call? Tell me I’m not just a crazy-lady. Or tell me I am. It’s cool and I won’t be offended.

[Soundtrack for the post: U2 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For']

I wish I could tell you how many blog posts, over the years, that I’ve started and never finished. Not because I lost motivation, not because I got lazy, but because it became– for lack of a better term– not worth it. Or, not what I want to put out into cyberspace or on a page somewhere.

In today’s waterfalls of content, it’s hard not to feel like I’m just adding to this gushing white noise. You get enough of it already– between recipes and listicles and tutorials, you can learn it all with just a few bookmarks in your browser. This puts a writer in an interesting place.

But I guess my purpose has never been to teach you anything, really. It’s been to be here, and ask the questions that don’t yet have answers. To be here and to reflect this life, and maybe your life, and these joys, these inspirations, these dark places and the good ones, in the hope that I’m not alone and that you’re not alone.

Bear with me here, but in CS Lewis’s ever-after, there is sinking and there is standing firm. In the world we live in now, the qualities which are most real aren’t yet solid to us– grace, compassion, truth, loyalty, wisdom, relationships. We understand these concepts but they are ethereal, irresolute, not physical. Our hope is that these are the lasting things though, the most real, the most infinte.

But the things on this earth that are solid? Firm? Tactile? They fade into nothingness as these lives pass. And I don’t want to concern myself with these things, these sinking things, regardless of how solid they feel right now.

All that philosophical nonsense to say, I don’t think my writing will be the writing to teach you something, anything. But, if you want to engage the mysteries and complexities of this day-to-day living, trying to discern what is real and what is sinking, and what is loving and what is less, let’s keep talking.

Am I crazy for craving this? Maybe. But I’ll still be here, writing my crazy heart out.

[Also, if you want to have a conversation about Wendell Berry, or pie baking, or puppies, or Jason Isbell's music, and how all of these things engage these mysteries and give us hope, I'd like to do that too.]

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So, by now, Christmas has come and gone, and all that waits before us is a new year. I’m grateful for this, as I am every year. It’s always necessary, and always hopeful. Much like the seasons which roll past and somehow renew our perspectives in the process, the new year comes when we need it. Those sometimes long, sometimes short months of a year that has been, well, whatever it is, is closed out, and in it’s place, we are given a new barometer for which to mark our time.

See, this holiday season has been heavy and rich, and deeply joyful and deeply mournful. We’ve celebrated with friends who announced babies on the way, we partook in all the traditional meals and parties, and we have mourned the loss of our family patriarch. I’m still reeling from it all, remembering the tears of joy, as much as the tears of sorrow. There’s no use in recounting all the memories from this past year, but its arc– this full circle of life– has truly been experienced and understood and felt.

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This is why I’m so grateful that this time comes now, because I have a choice. To dwell in this place of the past year, or carry it with me, strong and understanding, and still so hopeful. And this is where I am, settling in to the strange hole of missing my grandfather’s presence on this earth, feeling all the feelings about such a great year together in community, and anticipating a new chance at making our life even richer, even fuller.

We aren’t bound by our habits from the past 12 months, and that is a beautiful thing. Moreover, when 12 months feels like an eternity, we have each morning, for mercies come new with every rising of that stubborn sun in the east. This is the good news, y’all.

There is nothing new being said in these words, but just a reminder that what was, doesn’t have to be going forward. Carry what you will, build on what you have, but keep moving.

I’ve always seen my life, and the seasons therein, in words.

In college it was strife (or some dark variation of the concept). After college, it was intention, in the midst of flailing. Dating Chris was trust, so much trust. And these days, I may be getting ahead of my self in naming it, but it’s feeling like contentment.

Contentment in the way that we are happy, yes. Very very happy. But also contentment in the sense that I am learning to be such. Learning to let go, to quit striving so hard, to see what I’ve got and acknowledge it and let it be good and let that be enough. That’s the contentment I’m shooting for.

So in this season of giving thanks, in acknowledging that which is good, I’d like to take a moment to do just that.

1) Thankful for a home. A small place, with a fireplace and yard that we can call our own. I already know it’s going to call us to be more responsible and more diligent. I’m thankful for that call.

2) Learning how to roast green vegetables. I’m not kidding, are you all doing this? I’m sure we’re losing all the nutritional value of said vegetables, but whoa, roasted broccoli that tastes like french fries? Yes, I’m thankful for this.

3) Saying no. I’ve said no to writing opportunities, parties, trips, everything. This is both scary and good. I’m a better person for it.

4) Sisters, always always always sisters. And the men that love them. It slays me.

5) The Port William Membership. They are my friends, I don’t care what you say.

6) A new kitchen for the person who most deserves it (my mother).

7) Newness: a new season, a new year, a new opportunity to approach the manger in the quiet, reverent Advent season. Without these rhythms, we stick in our murky places. Definitely grateful for newness.

8) Words that seem to just keep coming. I don’t know how, or from where, but they’re still here.

9) Community that makes you feel completely at home, and yet always challenged to be better. This is the paradox of community that we live in, and this is the paradox I love.

10) A husband who respects me, thinks I’m brilliant and even occasionally funny. A husband whose daily presence in my life reminds me that this whole life thing isn’t about me, but it’s about us and it’s about everyone else, and it’s about this greater presence and purpose. Also, he’s super fun, loves all my friends, fixes my computer, listens to me yammer, and let’s me take a million selfies of us. So yeah, the best.

So Chris and I are living out of boxes. Boxes on boxes in rooms closed away so we pretend we don’t see them.

We moved about two months ago. And still, there are boxes.

It may sound crazy, but this is our life. We are busy and we are full. I say “no” to plenty, and I’m pretty in tune with my boundaries, but this is still our crazy, living-outta-boxes life.

It’s easy to feel bad about the state of our house, like that there’s still painter’s tape up in our living room. It’s easy to feel bad, because I do feel bad. But then I think about our busy and full life, and I am content.

We’ve traveled to see loved ones, we’ve hosted others (even if the space is undone), we’ve made small dinners, we’ve worked hard and seen fruits of all our relational and occupational labor.

I guess I hope this house is known for being full of love, more so than the nice things that may fill it. I hope this house is known for how it makes me people feel comfortable, not nervous or– God-forbid– inferior. I hope this house is always a reflection of Chris and my chaotic and strange life of love and relationships.

This is our house. Come by when you can. We love having our friends over way more than we love books on shelves, and office supplies in filing cabinets.

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