August 31, 2011

Cheer In Unexpected Places

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 I cannot say how happy I am that I am not only allowed to be forever delighted and surprised with the ways God chooses to bless me, but I'm supposed to! 
And all because He never fails to both truly amaze and astound me with how creative He is, as well as how exceedingly clever.
Oh, on a completely unrelated note, my siblings did perfectly fine in school- both today and yesterday- and have announced it to be "not as bad as they expected." 
Praise indeed.
Anyhow, surprises from God and how...surprising...they are.
Today was a day like any other, I suppose: rise, greet the day, read Bible, dedicate the day to The Lord and His time/planning, work on scripture memory, enjoy breakfast. It's all going to be a little rushed now, in comparison to Summer, because I'd rather have all of this- mostly breakfast- at least halfway through by the time the herd of siblings stampede downstairs like a pack of hyenas, dressed for school and arguing heatedly. This means being seated at the table with food by six-twenty at the latest, and I refuse to cut my Bible time short. So...get up earlier? Continue Bible study whilst eating?
Conundrum!
I digress.
I created (what felt like) a huge misunderstanding at work by, when switching days, failing to be sure about what time I was supposed to arrive and then assuming that it was to be the usual eleven o'clock AM. 
Wrong! It was supposed to be somewhere more along the lines of "There in time to be open and operable at nine, all of which you are responsible for taking care of." Understand, please, that I am not trying to be angry: it is utterly my fault for failing to be thorough about switching shifts- I'm merely being facetious here.
Thankfully, God already had His divine plan in order by my turning my cell phone on early, and discovering two text messages regarding the fact that I was opening today (Oh, may God bless co-workers who text other co-workers to give helpful reminders!), and I was able to get into work not only on-time, but early enough to open the shop the way I like to: methodically and peacefully. 
I've said it only a few times before, but let me reiterate this: I love opening the tea shop. 
I don't think I'd like it as much if I did it more often, but on the occasional day, especially when it's feeling decidedly cooler and-to my mind- more like Autumn, there is nothing more delightful. 
Shortly after opening, I had several small groups come in and order breakfasts. We haven't bee serving breakfast too long, so word hasn't quite gotten 'round about it yet and we've been generally slow in the morning hours. However, not only did we have several small groups, but they were true joy to serve and (not to be rude) tipped rather well (I mention this only because I'm leaving my job and have to live in N.Y.C. for a bit on what I have, not to mention buy plane tickets last minute, so money is tight and I'm glad for every cent I can procure). The money is beside the point, though. I was happy, Tami (my boss) was happy, and the day was off to a rousing, golden start.
And it only seemed to get better.
It was one of those days where the pace is glorious, the people all wonderful, and the atmosphere practically embraceable. 
What is more agreeable, more charming, than a quaint tea shop in the Autumn?
On a lighter day- still warm enough to sit out of doors- yet still completely mindful of the coming change of seasons, the shift in pace, what better way to slow down momentarily than with a pot of tea and something delicious to eat?
There is nothing better.
I tell ya!
Well, back on subject, my point is this:
God can use what could potentially be seen as a crazy day-gone-wrong and use it as a huge blessing.
My day was fantastic, and I accredit it to God's taking complete control and using potentially trying circumstances to be jubilant ones.
Another blessing? Tami saw a picture I posted of a hat I recently knit (seen below)...
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...and suggested that I might make some to sell in the shop.
Being paid to do what I love to above all?
Dream come true!
Also, I made some fantastic orange-flavored Madeleine pastries that were so to-die-for, I'm linking up to the recipe here.
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They go pitch-perfect with a pot of Earl Grey tea (A pot of which I enjoyed thoroughly whilst watching Lady & The Tramp this afternoon and knitting a cardigan).
How was your day?
Are you all ready for Fall?
And do you have a Madeleine pan? Because if not, you need one: there is no way anyone should go through life not enjoying these delectable treats. Warm from the oven. With a little powdered sugar.
Hallelujah! 
And cheerio!

August 30, 2011

Back To School

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It's the first day back to school for my siblings.
This year is their first foray into the world of public schooling, after a lifetime of homeschooling. 
Needless to say, we're all a bit nervous.
But at the same time there is a delicious sense of excitement and anticipation in the air.
The tension is thick enough to be cut with a knife, but the blade needn't be a sharp one.
It's strange to watch my siblings head out the door, backpacks weighted down with books, arms swinging, and not to be experiencing such a beginning myself. It's my first year as a high school graduate, and, to be honest, I truly expected to at least be attending some college classes this year.
But God has had other plans, and I am more than delighted to pursue the paths He is going to lead me down, no matter how different from my own plans and wishes they me.
Where He wants me is where is best.
However, just because I'm not going back to school with my siblings doesn't mean I don't feel the same sense of expectation and excitement as they do; indeed, the same senses I have felt and savored each year.
I love the Fall, and I will admit to liking school as well: the two are tied together in mind, and I've always appreciated the charm of a scheduled day, an ordered way of daily life with the weekends being reserved for joyful dissipation.
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To me, brown and gold leaves are paired with the leaves of lined paper I snap out of my binder to write on.
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The smell of hot cereal in the mornings, apple pie baking in the afternoon, both mingle perfectly with that of freshly sharpened pencils and maybe an exploding science experiment or two.
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In short, school is to Fall as Christmas is to Winter.
But this year is different.
I am looking behind me at the paths I yearly used to tread, and then ahead at the darkened one that lies before me: the unknown.
And I am more excited than I can express.
For the challenges, for the triumphs (For how can I do but triumph with the Lord on my side?), for the new experiences that lie ahead.
This Autumn has suddenly become so much more beautiful in that I can rewrite how I look at it. 
I can create a new experience.
New traditions for the years to come.
I can slow down and enjoy the scenery more than before.
Spend more time studying my Bible rather than textbooks.
I am excited indeed. 
When do the rest of you start school?
Are you facing your first year as a graduate as well?
Perhaps it's your last year in high school.
(Take my advice and just go with it: if you try to be clingy it will be miserable, but if you let it pass you by you will regret it. Savor the moments and the last times you will enjoy life this simply!)
I dearly wish I could have sent each of my siblings off with an apple for their teachers (I'm so old-fashioned!) and a piece of paper with these words of advice on them.
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They'd better behave.
*Makes squinty eyes at siblings*
I hope you all enjoy your day, whether you have started school or are still enjoying the last days of Summer's freedom.
Cheerio!

August 29, 2011

Motivation

Ahhh, my favorite day of the week has arrived yet again!
Hello, Monday: I'm ever so happy to see you!
This past weekend- Saturday and Sunday both- were so full of success and blessings.
I will admit to having been extremely nervous about Sunday. I was worried that Saturday's triumph over fear as well as my improvement was just a one-time, day-long fluke.
But God's mercy and blessings are new each day, and Sunday was even better.
So when I went to bed last night, inexpressibly thankful and full of joy, I was even more excited for the arrival of Monday morning, because I knew that today would be a new day to face my challenges armed with a great strength. Indeed, the day has already been victorious!
I've got some great plans for the day: it's my sibling's last day before they start public school for the first time in their lives. We've always home-schooled, but this year my mom has had to admit that she can't work a job and juggle teaching at the same time, so it's off to the school for the kiddos, and I actually find it all rather exciting. Since this is their last official day of "Summer," I can't seem to help myself from thinking of it that way as well, so I've got a fantastic to-do list today, as a way to go out with a bang. 
(To tell the truth, though, I'm more excited about them being in school: the house will be quiet, and I can have peace and quiet to clean, knit, draw, write, and putz around to my heart's content. It will be like vacation, living alone, and therapy all rolled into one! It will also give me lots of time to spend uninterrupted in prayer, and maybe I can find a way to use this time to be a huge blessing in the lives of others: I don't want to be completely selfish with my free, quiet time!)
1. Library. Of course. I need books and the books need me.
2. Cookies: I'm making pumpkin spice cookies. I've been on huge pumpkin kick lately- probably because I'm so excited about Autumn coming-but for the first time since I can remember I am going to eat one of them. And I'm going to like it. I think they will go well with my daily afternoon tea-time of earl grey. 
3. Have a picnic lunch. I fully plan on taking my meal outside and eating it either at the park or even just in the back yard. This needs to happen.
4. Constructing an epic birthday gift for my friend Brianne, who is turning eighteen on Thursday! I can't wait! She is an amazing person and a fantastic friend: we've had so many great outings and times together, and I can't believe how soon this day has come. I still remember her thirteenth birthday sleepover. *sigh*
5. Finish a watercolor picture/drawing I've been working on for over a week. I've been taking it out and adding little bits and pieces to the prelim sketch, but I'm actually going to get the washes on today and finish it!
6. Finish knitting the sleeve to my latest jacket cardigan. And maybe get part of the body knitted as well.
7. Memorize my next two verses in Psalm 31. I've been getting about one done every day or two, but I am aiming to get two down today. I love this chapter of the Bible: it has been such an encouragement to me.
8. Look into planning another tea party type-thing for before I leave. I've wanted to do a second tea party since the one I had this past Spring. This one will be more Summery and potluck style, I think, with an emphasis on the change of seasons. It would also be a little less formal, and would involve a craft like making cards to send to the Senior ladies in the church, the ill, or some of the ladies in the church who have had babies recently. Something along these lines. I'm looking forward to it! 
I know the above list may seem rather pitiful, but I'm savoring its silliness. How well I know it may be the last to-do list of the year that is as quaint and dissipated. After this it's going to be all priorities and regimens, plane flights and food plans. 
Oh! I also wanted to encourage all of my readers to head over to Rachel's blog, Dramatic Elegance, where she has been listing her blessings each Monday. I love this little habit that she's been forming, and am thinking about adopting it as well. There is nothing to make one more thankful than counting blessings. I know mine are too many to number!
I hope you all have a fantastic Monday!
Here are some flowers to brighten your day (I adore hydrangeas!). 
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Cheerio!

August 27, 2011

Simple Gifts

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This is photograph of what my day has been like.
Gold-lined, lackadaisical, earl-grey, Saturday perfection.
Woke up early, read my Bible, wandered the farmer's market with my mother, spent an hour at my local yarn shop, knitting steadily and happily away, followed by a walk home (interrupted by a stop to get more farm-fresh produce), a wonderful afternoon of reading, baking, tea, prayer, and more knitting. 
But I've saved the best part for last.
Let me first thank all of you who have been praying so hard for me, because I have some fantastic news:
Today was one big giant success.
Not just in what I did, didn't do, how I slept, etc.
I overcame Vanity over and over today.
What started out as a simple "What time I am afraid I will trust in thee" kind of early morning has turned into a jubilant "By thine strength have I leapt over an wall" day. I not only ate actual food, but enjoyed it. I had all of my meals, and stuck my tongue out at Vanity, so to speak, at each and every one.
I made pumpkin scones for tomorrow's potluck at church, and had one with my afternoon spot of Earl Grey tea.
And the best part?
I didn't regret a single thing.
I've noticed, the past few days, this feeling of having overcome something.
Ever since Monday when I made the tart and found myself asking Vanity "Why not?" and receiving no answer...well, I've been working off of that all week. Today I was finally able to make the leap from questioning why to demanding that she shut up and leave.
I can't even describe the elation I feel as I look over the day and the successes therein, other than none of this has happened by my strength.
Indeed, every bit of effort, every ounce of strength, ever tiny bit of success came from and is entirely because of God's strength. 
Every time Vanity whispered hateful lies into my ears, I closed my eyes and repeated scripture to drown out the noise.
Every time she used fear as a tool against me, I said "In thee, oh Lord, do I put my trust..."
I am a long way from recovered, but for the first time I feel like I've stepped out onto the road to recovery. 
A narrow path, but an even narrower path I've already been called to walk in my life: the path that leads to Christ.
I love how God made my day so golden, so lovely, simply through my giving everything over to Him and trusting, not being afraid. It's almost as if He knew I would need all of the joy I could get because of the difficulty of the task at hand. And the joy of the Lord is my strength, after all!
So thank you all for your patient and unending prayers and support: it may seem a small thing, this victory, but a huge flash of hope and life it is to me none-the-less.
On another note, the farmer's market was fun, per usual, although decidedly more like a craft fair. That's the problem with living somewhere like Meridian: the rest of the populace doesn't seem to understand the true meaning of things like farmer's markets. However, I am increasingly confident that God is going to lead me somewhere someday where there are actual vegetables, fresh milk, and hand-knit blankets all being sold at the farmer's market, and not just Michi bags, hand-made jewelry, and Tupperware stands (Maybe I'll be selling some of those blankets or vegetables myself!). 
And I can't even begin to describe how lovely was my stay at the yarn shop. There's nothing like being nestled at a large, oak table, drinking red rooibos chai tea and knitting with a couple other similarly fiber-obsessed women, the heavenly scents of wool and alpaca mingling around your head. 
Ah, it was pure perfection. 
Perfection followed by a pot of Earl Grey tea, a small pumpkin and cranberry scone, and more knitting (whilst watching Holiday Inn, of course).
These simple, small bits and pieces of the day are truly, I believe, gifts from God.
Gifts of peace that He places in our lives to remind us that He is there, to give us a chance to praise Him.
And praise Him I did (and am)!
He is so good to me, so marvelous a King and Father! 
I am thankful that His strength is perfected in my utter weakness.
What was your Saturday like? 
Cheerio!

August 26, 2011

Silver Screen

I will not be pretentious:
I am not much of a movie person.
I used to be. I would watch films every evening, see movies in theaters, hang out in front of the television.
But for some reason, especially in this past year, I've simply lost all interest in movies.
There is rarely anything turned out into the theater that I want to waste my time on, and I'd much rather watch something informative (For instance: Planet Earth is a show I watch again and again and again and never tire of). 
However, there are some movie genres, film types, and particular reels that I could sit and watch over and over again. These include Doctor Who, Masterpiece Theater productions, interesting documentaries,  a lot of British telly (I'm sensing a British theme here), well-done period drama...
But the one thing I really love, adore, drink in, are the classic black and white flicks.
Old movies that no one watches anymore, films no one remembers.
White Christmas is, by the way, one of my all-time favorite films. I simply adore it.
I especially love the old actors and actresses. 
The way they portray their characters and selves in a way completely different from that of modern actors.
Some of my favorites are:
Bing Crosby
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Bob Hope
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Cary Grant
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Clark Gable
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Danny Kaye
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Debbie Reynolds (Knitting!!)
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Donald O'Connor
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Eva Marie Saint
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Gene Kelly
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Ginger Rogers
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Grace Kelly
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Gregory Peck
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Jimmy Stewart
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Joan Blondell
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Rosemary Clooney
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All of these actors and actresses make it possible for me to enjoy television again,
Make me yearn to hit the "play" button once again and stay on the couch for just a few hours longer,
Knitting steadily away, cup of tea at hand.
*Sigh*
Who are your favorite "classic" actors and actresses?

August 25, 2011

The Now

This day.
This moment.
The comings.
The Goings. 
The happenings.
The Joys.
The disappointments.
The unexpected twists.
The "of-course" conundrums.
Everything.
It all belongs to Him.
And He will never leave me nor forsake me.
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Good morning world.
Salutations, Thursday.
I'm ready for you:
Are you ready for me?

August 24, 2011

There Is A Light, And It Never Goes Out

There is something about the morning.
Something about rising early-
House still wrapped in dark quiet, blanketed in peace-
And sitting on a couch, spending the first hour or so of your morning with the creator.
There's something so... exquisitely beautiful, inexpressibly precious about this time.
What is it that pervades these gentle moments of peace and reflection? 
Of learning, of memorization, of prayer, of praise.
What is it that hangs over me as I get up from my Bible, 
Go through the motions: 
Heat Water, 
Put In Egg,
Make toast,
Turn off water,
Dry egg,
Egg in cup,
Toast on Plate,
Tea in mug,
Butter, jam, 
Knife, Spoon.
Eat.
Enjoy.
My mind pauses abruptly at this sensation; a slow smile spreads across my face.
I savor each bite, explore the taste, the textures.
The process of cracking the egg, of delicately spooning it out of its porcelain shell and eating it. Of daintily munching my toast.
What a rare happening this is for me!
I explore the sensation that so rarely surrounds a mealtime for me.
And with another jolt, I realize something: in between reading my Bible, making breakfast, and eating, there has been one prominent emotion, one feeling, one thought, that hasn't altered in the least save to grow stronger as the morning has worn on.
I probe this feeling, turn up to heaven questioningly, begging the source to reveal what it is, and how it came to be.
Musing, I clear my dishes, pull out my knitting, and meditatively click merrily away with my needles: silver and blue fibers flashing up and down, in and out, as I go.
This feeling, of illimitable joy...but not joy alone.
A looking forward, paired with a fond glance back.
A resolution, a strength- not mighty, but merely sturdy.
A light.
Hope. 
This feeling is hope.
The needles stop.
I glance up once again.
Hope
"Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord."
Another prayer: a thank-you.
I rest my needles, pull out my notebook,
And write. 
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This post is part of Rachel's Draftless Challenge, hosted over at Dramatic Elegance
No editing.
No drafting.
Just writing.
Just truth. 

August 23, 2011

Unscripted

I have spent all day wondering how long I could put off this post, but I suppose there's no avoiding it any longer.
For starters, let me mention that this post is part of Rachel's Draftless challenge, over at Dramatic Elegance.
Now I love the entire idea that centers around this challenge: no planning, no thinking, no editing, just sit down and write.
But my problem with today is that there has been so much brain activity going on, that it seems currently impossible to switch it off.
I'll say right now that my phone call with New York went well. As long as I can come off the Prozac prescription I have been taking for a little over a month and a half, I'll be accepted. However, I need to have the medication mostly out of my system before I go, which could take at least a couple of weeks. While this does give me time to prepare and pack and think about plane tickets etc, it also puts me in a dangerous position in that I have no idea how much lower I can go and not need serious medical help.
So I'm not going to redouble my efforts: I'm going to triple them.
And that has already nearly sent me over the edge of a number of occasions today.
I can feel Vanity putting up a huge fight every time I even think about food, yet always lingering by making sure it's the only subject that occupies my mind. 
But thank the Lord for His strength and help!
I was able to make myself eat what I call a "regular lunch" (Pita bread with a hard boiled egg in it. It was something I was taking to work, but Vanity has recently started trying to oust that off the menu as well), and am at this moment making sure I eat my prescribed snack (In this case, garden fresh veggies and, because I'm feeling a little bit brave, three home-made cheese-its), along with some iced peppermint tea. Only when I made the tea earlier I wasn't considering the fact that I may be hit with one of my cold spells, which I have been, yet I refuse to let the tea go to waste. So I'm sitting here, typing away, bundled up in one of my latest hand-knit sweaters and pairs of socks...drinking iced tea.
Oh, I'm so pathetic.
The hardest part about today, though, hasn't been the challenges of eating, the nerve-wracking phone call, or the long spell of musing on how it's actually happening: I'm flying to New York to go to a hospital and get better. Nor has it been the long, tiring afternoon during which I've been struggling to get my mind to work properly, get myself to keep moving, and persuading myself that I need to eat.
No.
The hardest part about today was walking up to my work and having to hand in my two weeks notice.
This isn't saying I know that I've only got two weeks until I'm leaving.
It's just that since I don't know when I will be going, and I've decided to deny Vanity any extra chances to sap my energy and burn calories- since I don't do a good job standing up to her at mealtimes- it is only courteous to give my boss the respectful amount of warning time due her.
But it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
I love my job.
I don't want to leave.
Have I ever really talked about where I work?
I work in a wonderful little tea shop. It has a restaurant that serves delicious food, a gift shop full of goodies, knick-knacks, and jewelry, and a wonderful wall of teas available for purchase in bulk. 
But besides all this, I work with a fantastic staff of friends and have a wonderful boss; a christian woman who is at once an excellent business person, and a good friend. 
I don't want to leave any of this.
But I have no choice.
So I wrote the letter, and tearfully handed it in. 
She (my boss, Tami) was-and has been-so encouraging and understanding about all of this from the start, and knowing that I have to leave such a blessed and wonderful job and work-force is breaking my heart.
However, I know that God is taking care of me, and that this is all in an effort to get better. I also know that, if there is a position available when I return, I will be welcomed back onto the staff with open arms. But that doesn't make this any less of a hardship to do. I think I may have cried most of the walk home. 
I'm so ready to evict Vanity for good. 
So ready to be like everyone else on a 98 degree day: sweating and uncomfortably hot, instead of balled up in sweaters and socks, and too tired to even pull out her laptop to put up a blog post.
Okay, enough complaints about me.
How are all of you?
Can you please inform me, in that lovely comment box that is conveniently located at the end of this post, about your life? Who all is starting school? College? I know I haven't been able to keep up with my readers as much as I would like to recently, but that doesn't mean I'm not interested in what you all have going on. 
In the mean time, I'm going to go curl up and read for a bit, and go look for an extra pair of socks. 
Don't forget to check out Rachel's challenge (And sorry this post is so rambly and weird: not being allowed to go back and rearrange/edit things- just sitting down and typing madly away- is not necessarily a good mix with me. You'll probably be seeing a long post on yarn or tea or books tomorrow, as that's what's usually on my mind). 
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August 22, 2011

Free-Form

Ahhh, Stress: how I love thee.
Oh, and let's not forget your lovely wife, Anxiety, without whom you would hardly impress us at all (Oh, don't take that the wrong way, dear: you are a nuisance on your own! Fret not!). 
There are so many thoughts, so many feelings, so much trepidation, swirling about in my little head today; it's enough to drive me batty.
After my initial devotional time this morning, followed by a comfortable breakfast and a bit of knitting, the day quickly picked up a pace and tuned it's melody to a theme that promised to be both hectic and frazzling. 
I joined my mother in an early-morning grocery run, completing an hour or more's worth of food shopping at the market into less than a half and hour (she had to work early this morning). 
This was then followed by a short space of time in which I was able to reflect.
Normally a wonderful, relaxing thing, my reflections today were drawn to the scheduled phone call I am to have with one of the New York doctors tomorrow morning, and I was quickly taken from merely reflecting to putzing around the house in a nervous state of anxious worrying.
What if I don't get accepted?
What if nothing comes of it?
What if I am accepted, and then have to wait, and end up falling extremely ill or dying before then?
What if? What if? What if?
Like a quiet whisper I could feel the Saviour's urging stealing across my soul:
"Patience, dear heart."
I quickly saw the direction my day was truly headed in: Vanity rearing her ugly head and opinions and taking control of every moment, turning what I usually love (Mondays) into what I hate (a waking nightmare).
"Well, Grace," I thought to myself, "What are we going to do about this?"
The answer was simple and clear, as well as completely logical:
Walk to the library,
Then make a tart.
So I did.
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I have always, always, always wanted to make what the French refer to as a "Galette", or free-form tart. 
They are so rustic, so beautiful, so simple, and yet so elegant; one can't help but be enchanted. It is the very epitome of French country cooking.
So I decided, as I passed the farmer's produce stand on my morning walk, tantalized by the heavy aroma of fresh peaches and apricots, that a free-form tart was exactly the therapy (and distraction) that I needed today.
Picking out three pounds of the ripest apricots, nabbing some juicy strawberries, and stocking up on brown sugar and organic wildflower honey, I hurried home as fast as my little feet could take me.
Commence baking.
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I love to bake.
I love to bake with natural, organic ingredients.
I love to bake on wooden surfaces- tables and counter tops- next to large windows and with the lights off- natural lighting all the way!- and with fantastic music playing in the background. 
There's something so therapeutic about the process of baking. 
The preheating of the oven, the sifting, the mixing, the pouring, the baking, the waiting, the smell: I love it all.
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While I was baking today, the thought struck me: I never ever wonder how it's going to taste. 
I never ask myself: "Will this be good?"
No.
I leave that up to the family to decide...because "I can't eat it."
Wait, what?
Why not?
I paused my dough-rolling to demand this of Vanity, whose silky-smooth voice had been whispering deceptively in my ear.
There was silence on her end.
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Why should I not be allowed to eat- to enjoy- this wonderful (hopefully!) dessert that I have created?
What's wrong with it?
Why not?
Give me one good reason.
She responded in accusation, in argument, in pleading.
I fought with her for quite some time, even yelling at her out loud. 
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She said a lot of things, but the one thing she never produced was a valid reason.
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And so it goes.
(I'm a messy cook)
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I do have a phone call tomorrow, and it is with a doctor at the facility in New York. 
I have been nervous,
I have been anxious, 
But at the same time I have been comforted.
Repeatedly today, God has called my attention to Him, taken my hands in His and turned my chin upward.
"Daughter," He says, "Don't worry. My timing is perfect. My planning immaculate. This will all go according to how I direct it, so let go!"
Oh, how hard this is for me to do! Letting go! Trusting! Things I always fail miserably at. 
I keep grappling wildly for control, for confirmation of myself and my plans, for authority.
But I need to let go of it all- and, consequently, my anxiety and fear- and let Him who makes no mistakes take control. I need to trust Him.
I need to make my plans and my ideas and my times like this tart...
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..."Free-form."
A little crazy. A little chaotic. A little different.
But, in the hands of the perfect cook, absolutely wonderful.
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(Oh, and because you are all wondering, I did do some knitting. What do you think that entire section of time in which the confection is baking away in the oven is even meant for? Behold, my newest soft-boiled egg cozy. Breakfast tomorrow will be yummy and well-attired!)
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Thank you again and again, by the way, for the many prayers you have been sending my way: I have definitely felt their affects as they've lifted me up and kept me going in the past weeks. You all are phenomenal, and I thank God for each and every one of you.
Until tomorrow (when I shall update you all as to my latest phone call); Cheerio!
(I love me some natural lighting.)
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August 21, 2011

Sad Songs Of Goodbye

I wasn't really planning on doing a post tonight.
In fact, I wasn't thinking of doing one until Tuesday: tomorrow afternoon at the earliest. 
I have so much I'm doing and anticipating at the moment, that I didn't feel I could do a blog post with any amount of equanimity and sense.
But here I am after all.
And it's because tonight was a night of goodbyes.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love and hate goodbyes?
They break my heart into a thousand pieces, yet also have this grand aura of hope and chance about them.
Goodbyes are seldom an ending, just a new beginning. 
This doesn't mean they don't hurt, though.
I'm saying goodbye to so much- good and bad- today and this week.
The hardest part was tonight, though.
Many of my good friends- most of them from church- are leaving for college this week, and I won't see them again for a long time. 
It's a strange thing, these goodbyes. More like a prolonged "See-you-later" that's been left fairly open-ended. Perhaps we should be saying "Until Christmas!" or "Au-revoir!" 
The only problem is, I can't be certain if that's ever true. If not because of my change in circumstances, because God changes the circumstances. He has a way of rewriting our plans- however much to our annoyance- for the better. We may dislike or disapprove at the time, but His timing and His knowledge is perfect, His mercy and grace unlimited, and His giving spirit unmatched. 
So although I do not need to worry about if and when I will see my friends again, it still doesn't mean that the goodbyes weren't heartrending and sad. 
This Summer has passed in a whirlwind of activity and color and sensations I never would have expected. 
It felt strange to wander down the neighborhood sidewalk today and notice a few of the leaves on the trees had turned orange.
Strange to review the past few months, look forward to the next ones.
Strange to stand on the threshold of a whole new era and not have a single clue as to what is to come.
But I am simply trusting Him who will never fail me.
And I am praying that all of my friends- the ones going to college and the ones staying here- will do the same.
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It's not goodbye, dear friends:
It's "Until we meet again."

August 16, 2011

The Road Not Taken

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Tell me:
Have you ever felt like this picture?
Like your heart, your life-everything- is too heavy a load for you to carry as you struggle uphill?
Well...
What if I were to tell you that you're going about it all wrong?
I know, I know: how presumptuous of me! 
What a judge I am!
How about I walk a mile in your shoes? Let's see what tune I'm singing then!
Well, I do understand.
Everyone does.
Because we are all born with a burden on our backs, desperation in our souls, and darkness in our hearts.
But I understand it even more because my burden has been removed.
That heavy heart I was carrying?
I placed it in the hands of a loving Saviour, and went from carrying a heavy rock, to clinging to one.
And now I am clinging more than ever. 
Let me first thank you all so very very much for your prayers the past few days. 
I wanted to update yesterday, but I wasn't sure about a whole lot and also had two wisdom teeth removed, so I didn't feel so great either. 
However, I am a little surer now, so here are the facts.
I don't believe I will be going to Selah House.
At first I was disappointed in this fact, after all the prayer and the fact that I thought God had made it seem like it was what He wanted. But I asked Him to please close all of the wrong doors so that I could see only the right one, and the fact that, no matter how many calls I've made, I still can't get a hold of the person I want to speak to. Well, that made me wonder.
But it wasn't until I called a facility in New York, got through their initial screening process, and scheduled an admissions phone call for tomorrow that I decided it was probably a closed door. 
Certainly I am disappointed that I don't get to go to a 43-acre, small, secluded home to recover.
But if it's not where God wants me, then I don't want to be there either.
The facility I'm looking at- and 98% sure I'm being accepted into- is a research and treatment program.
The more I consider this, the more I love the sound of it.
I have been made so miserable by Vanity, I hate this disorder so much, that I wish there was a way to prevent anyone from ever getting it. By participating in this program, I will be aiding in research that will help other anorexics someday, as well as being healed myself at the same time. And because it's a research center, it's free of charge. 
How's that for an open door?
Because it's not a Christian facility, it will also both test my light and give it a greater chance to shine. 
I know I am completely relying on Christ as my strength to defeat anorexia, a strength many of the others probably do not have.
I am clinging to a rock that is stronger than I, feeling the waves and the storm around me beat and batter my body. 
But this rock is different.
It doesn't erode.
It doesn't chip.
It doesn't fade.
It was there before the ocean was.
And even though I can hear the sirens singing- enchanting, alluring songs- I know that in the end if I let go and follow them, I won't get a lovely song. I'll just meet sharp teeth and a painful death.
I have felt Vanity's cold, clammy hands caressing my arm, pulling at my legs, trying to lure me from my Rock.
But I won't let go. 
There is carved into this rock handholds that were made perfectly for me. 
They are meant for my grip.
It is not with my own strength that I will hold on and get through this storm, but with the rock's surety.
And that Rock is Jesus Christ. 
I was at first afraid of going into recovery, but I'm not anymore.
I am actually leaning towards it the greatest of anticipations. 
I am so indescribably ready to defeat Vanity and get better, that I can't wait to board that plane and go where  ever God is sending me to get help.
I know it's going to be a long, hard journey. 
It could take months.
I don't want to leave my job: I love my job. I love the people I work for and with. The people I seat and serve. 
But I know that if God so wishes it, I will come back and be able to work at the tea room again.
My only fear, oddly enough, is that if I go to New York that I'll fall in love with it.
It's just the sort of thing I would do, and I dislike the idea of breaking my heart when I return home. 
But I can trust God here as well: He will never let my heart break. 
And if He takes me to New York because I'll someday be going back there...
Well, that's in His hands: I will make no assumptions, no plans.
Thank you again so much for your prayers.
I am in a state of awe as I thank God for each of you.
He daily showers me with blessings, and for this I am eternally thankful. 
Please pray for me just a little longer, as I have a "phone date" with the facility tomorrow. 
Pray that I get in.
Pray that I get help.
And please pray that it happens soon.
Thank you all and cheerio!
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August 14, 2011

Say A Little Prayer

Okay.
Long, hard, stressful weekend.
Did you know finding a residential facility that offers either financial support or takes medicaid is nearly impossible to find?
Wait: that's a lie.
It is impossible.
Wait: that was another lie.
"With God, all things are possible."
Now that's truth.
And I have found a place that I adore and love with all of my heart.
They do offer some financial aid, and are very very small, and quiet, and everything I yearn for in a place of healing.
It's called Selah House.
Selah is a Hebrew musical term: it means a pause, or comma in the song. 
Which is exactly what I feel I need.
The only problems so far have been that when I phoned in on Friday (after a long, frustrating, fruitless search), the admissions woman wasn't in. 
Also, they are very small (eight women at a time), so getting in would take a miracle.
But you know what?
My God is a God of miracles. 
I so strongly want to go here and heal; not just to get better myself, but because more and more I am feeling the Lord turning me in a new direction.
I feel that maybe He has given me this challenge in my life, so that I may overcome it and be able to help others like me. 
If there's one thing I've noticed throughout this whole process, it's been the "holes in the system." 
Things and needs that aren't being met or provided.
Truly God-based therapy, for one thing. Selah House is Christian based, but still relatively "open" as to their terminology and definition. 
However, it would be a place where I could learn to overcome these battles with and using the Lord. I would be allowed, encouraged, instructed in how God can help me, how to run to Him.
That is what I desire above all else.
I am going to call in tomorrow and start the application process, which brings me to my request:
Please, please, please; if ever you were praying for me or wanted to, get on your knees now and ask for God's hand in this. I so desire to go here, anywhere really, to be healed, and I think He has pointed me to this place for a reason. My pastor informed me that there is a strong church nearby, that I might be allowed off-site to attend. Little things like this have made me hope beyond hope that God is going to provide a place for me here, and soon.
But it needs prayer. 
As I go through this coming week, please pray that an opening will become available, but more importantly that I will follow God's leading here. I don't want to go somewhere I like when it's not what God wants.
So please pray. 
In the mean time, I am trying to stay sane and get myself to eat. 
I am clinging to Christ with every ounce of strength and willpower I have, and I hope that I can come through this victorious with Him, and be able to help others facing the same trials. 
Thank you all. 

August 11, 2011

Falling Slowly

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It's happening.
Bit by itty-bit.
The change of seasons.
We are already finding ourselves marching head-on into August, but the change of months isn't what has sparked this realization that Summer is coming to a close.
It isn't the back-to-school sales either, although they certainly are instrumental in keeping it foremost in my mind.
It's the little things.
The way it's always a little darker for a little longer each morning when I wake up: a month ago I could read my Bible in the downstairs kitchen, at six AM, with the lights off. Now I have to squint to see the words even at six-twenty. 
The air for the past few mornings has been much cooler: a sign that it's cooled down more during the night.
I heard a Canadian goose honking as it flew over my head on Tuesday: that's the first one of the season, may there be many more to come!
I am tinged with the insatiable desire and dream of Autumn and Fall.
A craving for the change of colors,
Temperatures,
Seasons,
Times,
And pace of life.
I look forward to so many things about Autumn each year, and although it's still a bit early to grasp onto those dreams yet, they are awaking from sleep none-the-less.
Am I the only person craving pumpkin and crisp, flavorful apples?
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I'm fully and readily aware of a few things.
Well, not so much aware as decided. 
I have decided some things about college for this year, and about the coming change of season.
I think God is telling me to wait on college-even if it's just a couple of classes- until next semester, next Summer, or next year. 
The stress is something I need to avoid right now, what with my anxiety problems, and I also need to get this anorexia under control. I was thinking about it last night, and was a little perturbed by the casual thought that crossed my mind: It would be silly to pay for classes and buy books when I may have to be sent out of state to an inpatient program. 
Wait, what?
"Yes, you heard me correctly," said my brain.
The truth being that I think I've lost more weight.
And I'm already one bad doctor's appointment (and they've been nothing but bad so far) away from being put into a facility. The only problem is that there are no inpatient facilities or even day programs dealing with anorexia in the state of Idaho. 
What's truly frightening is how resigned I am to the fact that I might have to go. I'm almost looking forward to it, actually. It's not a giving up kind of resigned or anticipation: not at all. It's the kind of anticipation that comes with the knowledge that it would help me, and is the thing I actually need. 
I'm beginning to believe it's the kind of anticipation that comes from God pointing in a direction and saying "This is what you need; now will you lay down your fear and pride and admit it?"
I no longer think or trust that I can take care of this from where I am. Already this week I've overdone it and fallen so many times. I'm at the point where I'm counting ribs, bruises that appear magically on my legs, having to sit on pillows, and noticing new protruding bones. The past two days as I've walked home I've had the distinct awareness of my heart...working. Stretching. Being tested. I longed to sit down at the park and rest, but was frightened that I would be too exhausted to get back up again. I'm wondering- almost feeling it lain on my heart- to ask about a facility.
I'm aware of the stress this would cause my family and friends, as well as the fact that I would probably lose my job, and that a facility would by no means be any fun (Depending on where you go they can almost always be a lot like going to a concentration camp) and I don't know if I could take my knitting (Eeps!!), but I just want to get better
And I'm ready to admit that that's simply not possible for me to do by myself. 
So this looking forward to Fall isn't just about season and the normal changes that come: I'm looking forward to the leading that God will do, and hopefully the healing.
I am so ready to get better, no matter where I have to go to get it done. 
I'm going to ask for you all to pray for me as I look into what God wants me to do, and to light my path.
In the meantime, I'm determined to do my best today, and seize it with all of the strength I've got.
May you do the same!
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