Whose Plans are These Anyway?

path on the lakeI laugh at my last two entries. Not the light-hearted giggling “hee, hee, hee” of a little girl, but rather the evil “bwa, ha, ha, ha” of a deranged woman.

Dear Self from Last Year’s Blogposts,

I’ve got news for you sweetheart…stop trying to lay your own life plans!

Yeah, right. You’ll just move into the cabin on a lake and build your dream home. Ha! No problem. Sure, you’ll have a hard time closing doors and packing up boxes, but you are really pretty clueless. You won’t see those things you’ve boxed for practically a year. And, honey, you have NO IDEA what your life journey will look like the next ten months. Just relax, would ya’?  There is plenty to see and hear and learn and NONE OF IT IS IN YOUR CONTROL!!

Let go. Sit still. Oh yeah, and if you refuse…there will be outside forces to take care of that for you.

Sincerely,

The Crazy-eyed Future Version of Yourself (jaded and sarcastic)

Back then…two whole posts ago…I thought things were simple. We would move to a new town, start a new hockey adventure and build a home…hilarious! Before I became hardened to reality, I figured one of the hardest things we would do would be to agree on the color of the kitchen backsplash.

God had other plans for us.

Progression of My Plans            God’s Plans
Work for my husband during the summer and   see him lots Work for my husband, stress with him about a new business…see him 5 minutes a day
Move to the lake and start building a new   house Move to the lake and realize the lake has many building restrictions
Cheer for Big Sprout as he starts playing   soccer again

 

Enjoy Middle Sprout as she blossoms into a young lady

 

Watch Little Sprout leave behind any anxieties she had in a bigger school

Co-coach with hubby for the middle school soccer team just so all the   kids could play

 

Be challenged by the nastiness of pre-teen hormones and attitude

 

Realize that innate anxieties move with you

 

Enjoy the temporary nostalgia of no   dishwasher and one bathroom for 5 of us Extend time in close living quarters through one of the worst winters in   30 years
Enjoy the warmth and coziness of our   cabin on the lake Force close huddling because the furnace goes out
Establish independence in the new town Force dependence when my car dies on the side of the highway in -15   weather
Ok fine…find a house in town and keep the   cabin a cabin You’ll find one, but it won’t be ready for you for a while
Well then should we plan to just make the   cabin as big as we can? You could, but it won’t be all you need
Well I’ll just make the most of it then:   snowshoe, cross-country ski, lakeside yoga Wait a second…you need to rest now. Sit still. You need to heal your   ruptured Achille’s tendon anyway

If I’ve determined anything in the last year it is that God wants creativity and imagination. He knows that it takes energy to create and imagine in chaos and with all we’ve faced this year we have been tapped dry. We could never have had enough energy to do what we’ve been asked to do. So yes, we relied on Him more. And He has come through.

Again and again, we’ve had what we needed.  We are suited for this town and this town is suited for us. They accept our crazy. They may not understand it, but they do accept it. We know now what it is to live in difficult circumstances and we have an appreciation for the many blessings in our lives. We are surrounded by good people who are willing to help us…again, and again, and again.

I am no longer in the planning or predicting mentality. I am resigned to live in the moment.

In this moment, I am sitting on the couch with my driving leg propped on a pillow as the staples work to mend the surgically repaired tendon. The heatless sun is shining on the snow-covered lake and I have time to blog. Time I have not had for months and months. (you poor people!)

I make no predictions about my next post, or my next house. What I know is I have a place to sleep tonight and probably tomorrow. I have food to prepare in the fridge and children to parent this evening. What would be the point of planning out any further than that?

 

                     

Copyright Choosing to Grow 2014                                     www.meaganfrank.com

“Closings” and “Openings” on the Calendar

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Later today we will close the door at our house for the last time. We’ve gently shut many doors this past month, but this one will be the hardest.

The dry-erase calendar in our kitchen has been counting down the days until we pack up our final belongings and head out of town. Over the last few weeks, a number of activities have been listed on that calendar: Move furniture to storage, Concerts, Birthday parties, the last day of school, Middle Sprout’s fifth grade graduation, end-of-year recital and… Final day.

These events mark the closing of an era, of a year of study, and of a year of life.  They needed to be on my calendar. We are meant to acknowledge and grieve the end of things because how else can we be fully open to the beginning and joy of other things.There are doors closing all over the place, but there are equally as many doors opening. So for the big changes in life, we need to mark them on the calendar.

There are other things, however, and arguably the more important things, that aren’t ever listed on a calendar. These are the moments I’ll miss most.

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When you live on a cul-de-sac life happens in impromptu fashion.

Bike gangs emerge, kids gather at the park and kids ask one of my favorite questions: “Can I go see if they can play?”

If it weren’t for the rain outside today, I bet the embers of last night’s cul-de-sac bonfire would still be smoldering in our neighbor’s driveway.

The bonfire, like so many of the other impromptu gatherings that happen in good neighborhoods, was not on the calendar. It came together over the course of the weekend and is the perfect closing for what our time on this street has been.

The night games unfolded in their yard and as the adults stood around chatting, all of the kids, ages 7-17, ran and tagged and fell and laughed. Marshmallows and chocolate melted into sticky gobs and as the eyes of my kids drooped heavily, they resisted going home because they knew what I knew…this was our last impromptu bonfire for a while.944400_10151511412077745_2112992674_n

Bonfires were new to me when we moved to the Midwest. We cannot regularly set fire to things in Colorado, so I hadn’t ever really known the power and draw of a good fire. The cul-de-sac bonfires will be among my favorite memories of living here. It’s magical, quite honestly, and the connection and community that can be sparked around a fire pit is hard to replicate somewhere else.

So last night, I walked somberly from across the street knowing it was the last time I would walk home from an impromptu cul-de-sac bonfire. I know full well it is not the last time I will gather with our friends, but I do know our world, and their movement in it, is about to change considerably. We cannot rely on the freedom of proximity and instead of living moments without a calendar we’ll have to more purposefully use the openings in our calendar to plan ahead.

I hadn’t considered the symbolism of the note I am leaving for the new owners of our house. You’ll notice I wrote it on the dry-erase kitchen calendar.

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It says: Welcome to your new home. You will be happy here. Please make an effort to get to know the amazing people who are your neighbors. You could not be luckier to have people on this street who care so genuinely about one another. We will miss a lot of things about living here, but most definitely what we will miss the most are our awesome friends and neighbors!

                                                                       www.meaganfrank.com

Copyright 2013  Meagan Frank             Choosing to Grow

 

Washing off Dust with Water

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Let’s pretend that this is new. Better yet, let’s pretend I’m young.

I was okay in the dust when I was younger because I didn’t know about water.

We lived in Monument, Colorado, with a surprisingly arid landscape full of cacti. I had never seen a natural lake.

Dust felt natural.

You and I stood at the indoor balcony of our first house and watched the water pour as a paint bubble down the front, two-story wall. It wasn’t supposed to rain for four straight days. We didn’t believe the compromised roof was going to fail so soon. We tried to call for help, but learned your energy to work was going to fix things faster than any delayed contractor could.

Water started our path through dust.

We renovated that house.  I trod off proudly to my teaching job with signs of your labor carried in lines of dust on my skirts. It was a declaration of home ownership.

It didn’t bother me then.

It didn’t even bother me the other three houses we’ve renovated. It was all part of our young adventure.

I am done with dust.

It has been so messy around here the last few days. Sanding drywall drops a layer of dust that doesn’t really ever go away. I’m certain I have dust from every house we’ve renovated imbedded in my skin… or buried in my ears. Part of me is so ready for the mess to be cleaned, while another part of me knows this phase of our lives is coming to an end.

I have to admit I’m a little sad to see it go.

This last project mimics this past winter and maybe with a new perspective I can avoid bitterness about both. Let’s imagine the story has just begun and the dust settling at our feet is magical instead of maddening.

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Remember the way snow felt at the start of December? Yeah, me too. Now, let’s forget the snow that fell today has come in late March. Instead, let’s relish its freshness.

We’re at the last house renovation. This is the last time you’ll be covered in soot of your own work. From the very first house we’ve owned together, we have raised the dust to bring life to what was dying in some way.  I should embrace gratitude for our dusty story.

That’s why I need to stop myself from cringing with each footprint we leave as we walk through the dusty part we’re mending onto the wood floor we’ve already replaced.

This is it.

This is the layer of dust that, once blown away, will reveal the calming center of where we’ve been aiming to be.

A house on a lake…imbedded into a shoreline with humid leaves for blankets.  It’s not the dust-filled, wide open potential of a Pike’s Peak view, but it is the calmest place we’ve been able to imagine together that will let the dust of our crazy lives finally settle.

www.meaganfrank.com                                                              

Copyright 2013    Meagan Frank                          Choosing to Grow