Double Life

How do you live in two places at once?

Trick question for most but for me, I’ve been doing it (fairly) successfully for the last few weeks. My mailing address is in Kansas City (Missouri, not Kansas) but I’ve spent more nights in 2014 in Houston Texas. And by more, I mean I’ve spent double.

I manage subcontracts for a living and have a couple vendors in the Houston area. The products they are working on for my company will eventually end up installed on our project in Mont Belvieu Texas (east of Houston). One of these contracts needs my physical presence to help us be successful. I have friends in Houston so I don’t mind.

O I used to mind. If I had a penny for every time I’ve told someone in the last three years that I was never going back to Houston or that if my employer told me I was moving to Houston it was going to be my two-weeks notice, then I could afford to pay a mover to pack my boxes in KC and haul them back to Texas. So what’s been different in 2014? Why the sudden change of heart?

God.

Period.

That’s the only way I have this kind of change of heart. I said “never” and God smiled and said “we’ll see.” In my rebellion, He is true and soverign.

Now this is not a moving announcement (yet). But I’m open to those conversations. I do not yet know what God has in His plans for me. But I do know that I cannot put my foot down and say “no.” I love God and desire to follow His directions so that He can use me for His glory. One of the prayers in church on Sunday was asking God not to pass over us in choosing who to send. Lord, please send me. I won’t say “never” again.

I’ve re-connected with people God put in my life in college. People who are and have served a distinct and divine purpose in shaping my life today. I pray that they will continue to influence me. I am thankful to God for sending them and ask for His protection over them.

Several of them have told me in the last few weeks that this is the happiest they have ever known me. It’s such an odd statement. Initially, I shrugged it off but it’s hung with me. These people knew me when I was in the darkest part of my existence. When I completely ignored God. When I acted like He didn’t exist except for the part where His Son was going to save me from hell. These people have accepted me. Be-friended me. Want to spend time with me now. They wanted to back then too but I was too busy with all the wrong things to see what amazing community and friendship was open to me.

In the few days I’ve been in KC in 2014 I’ve had some incredible conversations with people, with friends. There has been lots of opinions about my possibilities in Houston. I am immensely grateful for the food for thought although some of it has sat with me better than others. I’ve never had community that told me they would miss me if I left. I’ve never been that vested in relationships before. It’s super uncomfortable. It’s super messy. It’s amazing.

There are lots of details to work out with my job over the next few months. It’s difficult to maintain relationships in two different states but it’s what my life is right now. I get to experience both cities, pros and cons, and figure out where God is leading my heart. Please pray for peace and direction for me. I would much rather life this double life than the one I was living a few years ago, but it can’t go on forever.

Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving Holiday is different for me every year, mostly because I am rarely with the same people or in the same place as previous years. My parents have always opened their home to anyone who didn’t have anywhere else to be for Thanksgiving which brough some great memories including Korean graduate students or fraternity brothers or even sometimes family.

 

I think this open invitation is due to my parents struggling through graduate school (both of them) with a 6 month old infant and vowing to make the path for those behind them easier (my Dad still chooses to teach classes on the college level) but it’s also because their only daughter rarely comes home for the feast because she typically has football tickets. Some years my parents have gotten smart and gone to the football game with me or traveled to have Thanksgiving close to the stadium so I would attend.

This Thanksgiving was a little bit different. It was different because for the first time since I went to college, I was a little sad to not be at my parent’s table. It was the first Thanksgiving without my grandmothers. It was the first Thanksgiving where the football wasn’t on Thursday (it was Saturday). It was the first Thanksgiving I had to work both Wednesday and Friday. It was the first Thanksgiving where I was completely alone in my house on Thanksgiving Night.

I think it’s healthy to want to be with family. I had a great Thanksgiving! Separation has created a longing to be home for Christmas that I haven’t had in the past. Typically my travel over the river and thru the woods is trying on a good year but this year I won’t care. I’m ready to go home for Christmas!

So what did I do for Thanksgiving this year?

I ran a 5k with my friend and her family and boyfriend which I PR’ed 🙂

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Then it was off to my friend Brad’s Parent’s house to have Thanksgiving lunch with them, his sister and her boyfriend, and their cousin. It was traditional food and super yummy!

Than back to Lee’s house to help cook Thanksgiving dinner and eat with the 5k crew. We packed up and went over to the club level of the hotel her parents were staying in to watch the lighting of the Plaza which officially kicks off Christmas in KC and was also on my KC Bucket List. 🙂 It was even better that we didn’t have to be outside in the cold with thousands of people!

After cleaning the dishes, Lee and her Mom and I went shopping at Kohl’s and Michaels. The lines were two hours long in Kohl’s to checkout but we ended up with some great loot including my presents for Affordable Christmas and the last (almost) of my Christmas gifts for friends and family!!

It was a long day but one I am emensely thankful for. Friends are chosen Family and I had two great families that adopted me for Thanksgiving. (By the way, my parents had 12 at their house for Thanksgiving this year including my brother’s girlfriend, and two care givers of my grandmother and their family members. Everyone said it was drama free and delicious, exactly how Thanksgiving should be!)

Wings

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Post-Haiti has been a difficult experience for me. I’ve felt completely alone. This concept is ridiculous since I live with a roommate, work with vendors and other engineers, and go to a church filled with people. I think this is why I’ve struggled with it so much. and probably why I hadn’t told anyone (until last night) about it.

I am not a person that struggles with alone-ness. In fact, I am typically the person that carves out time in my weekly schedule to not have to be around people. Quiet is something that I crave. A necessity I strive to artificially create in my life on a regular basis.

This same quietness has haunted me for the last week.

In the defense of the people in my life (for whatever reason I feel that I need to defend them a little bit here), I’ve been traveling a lot – Mississippi, Houston, St. Louis, Haiti – so it’s hard to remember when I’m in KC and when I’m not. I can’t really blame them for not inviting me to things, they assume I’m out of town. But that doesn’t make it hurt less. That doesn’t make being left out less painful. It doesn’t make my idol for approval and acceptance feel satisified.

And that’s my real problem.

It’s not that I was actually left out, it’s that I felt that I should have been included in the first place. The entitlement. The expectation. The idol. The separation from God.

So yesterday I hit a low. I’ve been avoiding God (like that was going to help). I’ve been avoiding work as much as possible. I’ve basically just been sleeping and hoping these feelings would disappear. I called a buddy of mine to get a drink after my chiropractor appointment since I was close to his house and his office but he was not who God knew I needed to talk to. God had already planned for someone else to lead me back to Him.

My friend Brad ended up picking me up, taking me for wings and little World Series action, and a good conversation. In actuality, the conversation was pretty grim – I talked about struggles with cleaning my house, control issues, relationships that weren’t progressing how I wanted them to and he talked about the girl he’s trying to find closure (or new adventures) with and the pain in his knee – but the honesty and openness set me back on course. At the end of the evening, as he dropped me off at home and promised to see a movie this weekend with me, I felt home for the first time in weeks.

I was back in my skin and being honest with myself and with God.

I had lots of repenting to do and lots of praise too. In my honesty, I don’t understand why God wants relationship with someone like me. But. He. Does. Always. In my running from Him and my idolatry, He still seeks me and welcomes me with open arms when I turn around. Thanks be to God!

Happy Birthday Mel!

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Melanie!

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I love pictures of yellow roses!

We walked around the rose garden at Loose Park in Kansas City after grilling out and chatting to celebrate Melanies Birthday. It was the perfect way to end a wonderful weekend – cool temperatures, grilled meat, birthday cake and great company 🙂

 

Enjoy the picturesImageImageThe GirlsImage

Doug did not want his picture taken.Image

Doug and Matt didn’t want their picture taken holding hands but they secretly loved walking around the rose garden with us 🙂ImageMelanie smelling the rosesImageImageImageThe girls took selfies while watching each other do it. The boys didn’t understand but we liked it 🙂