Friday, December 6, 2013

One year (later)

The weight of this day has been pressing on my soul for months.  Not that this one day means anything in the course of how grief rolls through time.  But it's a day of such clear, deep wounds & bitter memories.  And at the same time it's a day that somehow comes with a sense relief and a breath of fresh air behind it.  We made it a YEAR.... Not only made it through a year of grief, but plowed through it head first, arms raised, seeking joy in the midst of pain in a way that most days I can say I'm more than thankful for - even proud of. 

I can't act like this year hasn't been hard and that I always put on a good front, because it hasn't... & I didn't.  Anyone close to us knows the ups & downs that have come this year as we've tried to move forward.  There have of course been painfully difficult days along the way.  There have been monthly milestones we suffered through, there have been days and days of guilt and suffocating questions.  Many mornings I wanted to crawl under the covers and not come up for air.  YET beyond the pain this year has been washed in (actually flooded in) GRACE.  Such that could not be mistaken as to where it comes from.  He has constantly and graciously pulled us up out of the pit.  And even as we proclaimed a year ago that HE makes all things new.... He does and He is still.  We have been made new this year and I am confident He will continue to renew, even in some of the darkest, hardest days of facing reality- like today.

I did this video {link below} for our women's retreat last month and have wondered if I should share it here.  Despite my rambling it was edited beautifully to share the best of our testimony.  So I can confidently say one year later... We are better than alright.  

Sweet Gibson,
I can't bare the thought that it's been one whole long year since I held you in my arms, felt the beating of your heart close to mine, listened to your tiny breaths & stared into your deep blue wondering eyes.  I swear I can sometimes still smell the distinct sweet scent that I carried on me for 108 days.  Our hearts still ache for you.  Our lives are not complete without you here daily.  I long to sing to you one more time, let your brother pat your head and your sister stare in awe, and your daddy nap with you on his chest.  I still anxiously await the day we meet again.  I have dreamed of all the things your little body has now conquered.  We rejoice with hope that you are happy, healthy & whole, walking & talking with Jesus today.
Happy Homecoming day in heaven our brave little angel.

Friday, November 8, 2013


One day in July I was on one of my normal (just about daily) walks through hobby lobby.  Darting in with two kids flying past the breakables, pleading for cooperation when it hit me.  Suddenly there it was - the fall stuff.  I could feel the tears welling up as my heart began to beat faster.  Even past the horrible acoustic rendition of "Lord I lift your name on high," playing in the background, kids tugging on me, screaming for snacks and random unassuming moms all around I felt it hitting me and began to cry.  
Fall has always been my favorite time of the year.  And we all know I love to celebrate.  So as I felt the pain rise up in me with the mere sight of decorations I felt confused and unsure of the days ahead.  A few weeks later I was praying with some girls one night and I mentioned my fear of the season ahead.  My sweet friend said in the most simplistic but firm way, "You just need NEW memories this year."  It was simple in theory but more difficult for my mind to grasp how I would implement that.  

I do have good memories of last fall.  Despite the heartache that accompanied them, I documented a lot through the #ichoosethankfulness series.  A friend posted on IG the challenge and I jumped in and am so thankful for the impact it had on my heart.  It truly changed the course of our gratitude going forward and walking through this past year.  Some of my hard but favorite photos from last year...

I felt the same pain this morning - it hit me out of nowhere just like that day in hobby lobby.  I walked through the living room and glanced up to see the Rockefeller center tree being rolled down the streets of NYC on the today show. I've only been to NYC a handful of times but the first was this exact time of year and the thrill of the city preparing for the holidays was something I can't even describe.  I felt it in my heart.  Preparation for this season in my soul.  
We're moving out of our house next weekend.  As we prepared to put our house on the market it became clear how much I wanted to move... before the holidays.  We don't have a new house yet.  But we have an amazing half-way house with some very giving friends! ;)  It WILL be a good season, full of NEW memories.  And I AM thankful.  And I know that on the other side of the crazyness ahead is a newness we can't imagine.  And I'm clinging to that.  
When we bought this house our backyard was a lusious garden reaping the harvest of a sweet little widow.  Well, after having kids, despite our best intentions that didn't last.  And the past few seasons of drought have completely wreaked havoc on it!  When we were getting ready to list the house we had to rent a chipper and haul out all the dead stuff.  I kinda thought the only beauty left in it was the free roaming yellow lantana and the last standing rosemary bushes.  
But this week I found this little spot...

God is still a God of new seasons.  If you're in a drought, there's beauty ahead.  If you're in a winter, there's a spring budding up below you.  Hang in there.  And CHOOSE thankfulness with me.  Please?

I should probably start packing now...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Deeper Roots. We're moving! Somewhere...

Monday morning as I walked into the dim kitchen and picked up the dented coffee pot I chuckled.  It is still in the same condition it was when it came out of the POD exactly 6 years ago to the day.  

We moved here on faith.  Literally.  When people have asked for the past 6 years why we moved to Austin I've usually said, "I don't know, God told us to."  Now I know.

We moved because God told us to, but the truth is we weren't so convinced...for a very long time.  We uprooted everything we'd built as a young couple trying to seek God's will for our life, build deep relationships and start a family.  

We knew exactly 4 people in Austin when we moved.  We didn't have jobs.  We didn't have a house.  But we had a church and despite the turmoil we stuck there and grew new roots.  (I'll get back to that!)

When God told us to move here we'd been in our {NEW!} home outside of Nashville for exactly 2 years.  We'd been married 4 years and were ready to have a baby.  We put our house on the slow market and it sold by owner in 3 weeks.  We found out a couple weeks later to our surprise I was pregnant.  I say surprise because we'd tried and prayed for a while and then decided (WE) should wait.  {Haha.  As if we're in control.}  We came here to visit for a weekend, picked a house (on complete faith or stupidity- one or the other) and didn't get jobs.  We went back, loaded all our stuff in a POD (or I should say a SAM - I don't think they're in business anymore- and there's a reason!!!), we stayed with friends for a couple months and then it was time.  We moved.  

Until recently with friends I haven't admitted how hard the first couple years here were.  We loved Austin, we were closer to family which we wanted, we had a sweet new baby boy soon after which was amazing, but I had all the hormones and emotions to go with that and no one near that I was close to.   And things were tough.  It took a long time to get jobs.  I worked horrible hours at starbucks during the in between and before & after pregnancy.  The so called "Live Music Capital of the World" was surprisingly hard for Daniel to find a good job.  And we questioned God a lot along the way, asking where that "traction" was we were looking for to grasp onto and start thriving in.  

And really I can't say exactly when things got better.  There was a good period when we considered giving up.  Going back or going to Dallas.  But we didn't feel like God was done with us here.  And he definitely wasn't.  We dug into our church because we knew God had called us there despite the loneliness we felt.  We dug into our community and I met the most amazing group of MOMS that helped me as I was pregnant with a second much sooner than expected.  

And things didn't get easier over night.  But over time God planted us.  He helped us sprout roots and prepared us just in time for the storm.  I recently saw the quote:

Storms make trees take deeper roots.

I did a little investigating to see if that was true.  Here's what I found:
A lot of rain will saturate the ground to a greater depth, and the roots will no doubt go down deeper to get the water. One storm won't make much difference, because roots don't grow fast enough, but a series of storms will.  It has been found that wind stress from repeated storms causes the trunks of trees to increase the speed of growth in the outer layers, making them thicker faster. If they get thicker, they will probably grow more and deeper roots.

So here we are, exactly 6 years later, not a lifetime, but somedays this year it kinda feels like it.  But I couldn't feel more rooted & planted.  I couldn't want more to be exactly where we are. 

We put our house on the market 3 weeks ago because we felt like we should.  We realized we could surprisingly make enough right now and be able move forward.  We didn't have to move, but the thought of a fresh start right now sounded overwhelmingly comforting & appealing.  Sometimes all the paint in the world can't change the walls around you.

I like to frequently remind God that we did our "Blind Faith Move" and we don't need to do that again. Well, here we are.  Our house closes in less than a month.  And we have no idea which house is waiting for us.  (But don't worry Austin, you've won hearts, you're stuck with us now!)

So here I am, holding my dented coffee pot... reminding me of God's faithfulness. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Embrace your shadow

This is the last day of the first week of Kindergarten.  Can I get a "What What" from all the new Kinder moms!?!?  
I feel like I'm crawling across a hurdle at the finish line, dreaming of pizza and a movie at home tonight, staying in my bed till at least 7am, and letting Daniel make pancakes in the morning.
Will this schedule ever feel normal?!?!  

I. am. not. a. morning. person.  I am a night owl.  I work at night, I'm creative at night, I get things done at night; I stay up late.  I watch Jimmy Fallon for crying out loud.  I'm only 30!  (ahh hmm, ok 32.)

I questioned a fellow walking mom (or should I say trench-mate?!) this morning on the way at exactly 7:36am.  She had a child a couple years older and looked like maybe a little more wisdom than I, so I said, "Does this ever get easier?!?"  She turned to me and I saw her tired eyes, frazzled hair and just-rolled-out-of-bed wrinkled sweat shorts.  (To be fair, I looked the same... I just had a baseball hat & big sunnies on!)  "No," she replied.  "It doesn't."  Then scrambling for hope I said, "Well, does the pick-up line at least get better in the afternoon?"  And even more assertively she looked me in the eyes and replied, "No!  It does not."

She walked on ahead of us and I saw her hug & squeeze her sweet daughter, telling her to have a good day and it seemed like nothing she'd said moments before really mattered.  We entered the school, I followed Ryder to his class (although he says he's got it now and doesn't need me to walk him to his room).  I watched him put his stuff in his locker and Paisley and I headed home.  

On the way back she begged to stop at the playground and I begged to go home and drink more coffee.  We walked hand in hand looking at our shadows again as we've done the past few days.
I was staring at my shadow, in my head criticizing the size and shape of my hips, thinking about spin class in a few hours when Paisley broke the silence with, "I don't want my shadow!  I want yours!  It's bigger!"  I laughed at the irony of the moment.  

I wanted a slimmer shadow and she wanted a bigger one.
Without thinking I said, "Well you can't change your shadow.  It's exactly who you are and where you are standing in the sun right now."

It's true.  I remember being little and wanting to be older & bigger.  I remember being in high school and dreaming of college.  I remember being in college and wanting it to be done.  I remember being young married and wanting to be a mommy.  Now we reminisce of the days before kids when we didn't have bags under our eyes and could eat dinner at 9pm if we wanted.  As we crawled into bed the other night Daniel said something to the effect of how we USED to be cool... "hey there were days when we would just be heading out for the night at this time..."  

What I wanted to say to Paisley (and to myself) this morning was, "Embrace your shadow sister!"  
Not just your size (I won't go into one of those blogs...  Women, your daughters do not need to hear you criticize your body... just search pinterest for a blog on that! LOL.  Not my topic.)

But where you are in life.  I don't wanna wish away these day of Kindergarten.  The other night I said something like, "another day down... 18 more years to go..."  But I regretted the words the moment they left my mouth.  They seemed so hostile and ungrateful in light of the past year.  

As much as it pains me to mess with 'my' schedule.  I yearn to have the strength to embrace my shadow.  It's not my past, and not my future.  But it's exactly where the sun is shinning right now.  

I wanna be all there.  Even if it is at 5:45 in the morning with a little boy that's "too excited about school" that he just can't sleep.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Celebrating G

Thank you so much for all the love, support & sweet words over the past week.  We had a good last week celebrating Gibson.  It was exactly what we needed.  

Wednesday we awoke to celebrate the day.  My dad was here to be with us and the kids and I had some errands to run, a friend from church came and gave me an amazing massage (!) and we made cupcakes for the night.  

Wednesday night we celebrated with friends who put together a lovely dinner.  I wanted us to be with friends and knew our family wouldn't be able to make it to the mid-week get together.  And like I said in the last blog I wanted us to really celebrate the year that G changed our lives.  We wanted to be together with some of the friends who've really helped carry us through the last year.  At one point in the night Daniel thanked everyone and said something I couldn't put into words... He said how we know as Christians and as the church we are to be the "hands & feet" of Christ, and just how much we'd learned and experienced that through those around us this year.  How we've learned what that truly meant.  
That is what we celebrated.  
On the patio at sunset- with lots of friends {even more kids than adults running around!} & lots of food.  We celebrated that with music, tears, words of encouragement, hope, strength & love.
{God's Grace}

Before we headed out for the night we gave the kids a little gift.  I ordered these sweet little key necklaces from an etsy shop.  They were so cute about them and Ryder's insisted on wearing his almost every day since.  

After dinner we headed out to release lanterns.  The kids were SO looking forward to it (and I was too)...  Well, a windy Texas night and huge flames... and maybe the not so perfect suburbia location did not bode well for the lantern release!  After a joint effort try we decided that was not the wise choice to release them there and then.  
Carrie wrote these sweet words about the night.  And I stole her pics below...

 Ryder cried & cried.  But we told him we'd do it another time and place.  When we got home Daddy came to the rescue with some (old leftover!) sparklers! :)
 It was a good night.  
We went to bed with hearts {again} full of gratitude in the midst of what could have been a horribly painful day.  So thank you all.  

Saturday was Race day!!! :)
I talked about the 5k and the meaning in the last blog - so I figured I better have proof!  
It was HOT and crazy with color!  We had to take some breathers from the heat & walk a bit, but we did it.  So proud to have these girls with me every step of the way.  Was so amazing to see "Team Gibson" running in front of me and hear people yell "Go team Gibson," behind me!  
Getting ready to go...
Matthew & Warren joined Team Gibson too! ;)

 And we're off!

My biggest fan ;)
My littlest fans... they were not exactly happy at this point.  Hot & over it! haha.
The group.
 The girls!!!
Christy, Kristin E., Me, Ashley, Kristin L.