5.1.20 On the Road

Started into a podcast this morning when Maddox, our youngest, asked for music for a little bit. He is so sweet, I obliged.

As I scrolled for a good easy song to play, I stumbled upon Oceans and said to David, “I think I’ll start us out with a little worship music.”

“I really don’t want to listen to worship music.” He said, with his loving laugh voice which I’m thankful exists.

“Well then that probably means you should” I say in my loving laugh voice which I’m also thankful exists. It was a sweet exchange.

I looked out the window at this beautiful sunny morning, headed into our 9 hour journey to Black Hills National Forest. My heart started to tremble:

// spirit lead me where my trust is without borders //

Listening to the repetition of the prayer while watching the landscape with the lingering smell of a PBJ in the truck cab (made for Aria) made me aware of this reality that I have been led to an adventurous man.

This commitment we are in has me on a roadtrip, through a part of the country I have never been in, using strengths my life has equipped me for (like making three kids comfortable in a backseat and making sandwiches from a front seat – wrapped in a folded napkin with a quick scribble note to the recipient on it) and in a landscape of people so wide and deep that the only realistic expectation I can have of myself to help guide and mother is to stay present. To pay attention.

When I consider the whole of all that is on my mind and heart and how much is unknown, I am led just to consider its opposite: “known”.

I considered seasons of “known” (where nothing major was in question or in flux) and realized those seasons were seasons of plans, concrete planning or where plans were in motion.

If what is “known” means to me that I know the plan then, very much so, my life right now is “on the fly”. Big stuff: I don’t know what June looks like, yes. But even daily stuff like tomorrow night, I’m sleeping “in Montana”.

I did a little word math, a way I journal to try and make sense of complex ideas, to find my center. And I saw quickly that living “on the fly” and living “planned” have the same root: my intention.

If living present, per my true honest root, my intention, I believe, would not make my plan that much different than what I would come up with in a split decision. Said another way, what I come up with in a split decision is probably similar to what I would have planned… I think this is where the lyrics got me, spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.

Maybe living spirit led allows them to be the same: making plans and winging it. Just like Covid changed the best of plans, a boon can change the worst of winging it. If you’re true to your intention, to being spirit led, your trust is without borders.

To close, I’m stunned at how much of my life with David rings true to what I am accustomed to – like long road trips and lots of people – while also having me in unknown territory where I am reminded to rely heavily on the spirit. In yoga, we call this the balance between effort and ease – and when we find this place, we have just the right amount of tension to grow and explore newness with just the right of softness to trust and relax. It’s humbling: how simple the complexities of life can be.

Lots of love. :) me

Iowa. <shrug>

San Fran, CA – 2019 (SFO)

fullsizeoutput_d8b7.jpegHave you seen Ellen lately? This is her back in June – perfectly packed – at ease on our BART commute to Union Square for a 46 hour stint in San Francisco.

This picture is so rich to me. And perhaps I am reflecting on her because I have been in her room doing some deep “have you really been dusting” cleaning. Her room got to the point last week that it was just time to be rearranged, re-thought, evolved.

I sit (absolutely covered in dust) with a Starburst wrapper stuck on the bottom of my bare left foot and am in awe of how I am more in love with my oldest child than ever.

As I prepare to bring a bin up to start gathering up her nursery items, her kid room items, and leave it minimal – cool – updated, I realize the extent to which she and I have a decade behind us. For the most part, I know when and where she got things. I know the sentimental value behind the items in her room from her mom: items I made her because I love the little things like her sense of time and her feet.

For example, I printed this picture of her feet (one arch folded over the other, the way they still end up when she sleeps curled up on her belly) which were soles up at me while I was driving her and her sister across the country. It was taken in our van, she was dozing in the front seat in such a way that her perfect feet were nestled next to the road atlas. I decoupaged the picture onto a little box that now stores her guitar picks.

Ellen and travel just go together. (Along with her need for sleep.)

As I round out my thirties, I realize just how much the hard parts of my life are more easily navigated when I use what comes easy to me or how they are more fun and enriching when I incorporate what I love; what “just goes with” who I am.

Likewise, I recognize the effort in the ease. I hope she learns this relationship between easy and hard things early. How the surrender and the edge work together. Yet sometimes I think she already knows on a deeper level how to let go and be in the still moments that come.

Still moments like when you are waiting for when the BART will finally take off through the painted neighborhoods, to the heart of San Francisco. A city that provides a shared pulse for me and Ellen.

San Fran gets her the same way it gets me. It is a pure kind of connection that puts a person at ease before ever having arrived.

That’s it for now. #backtocleaning #sanfrancisco

May Current. My Tide of Wondering.

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Waiting for a flow waiting for a flow

(Three Days Later)

I wonder sometimes if I will always remember this season of my life. Mugs of coffee, walking Ranger in my North Webster neighborhood where there is both litter and progress on the streets, family and friends nearby.

I wonder if the feeling I have in my heart when I contemplate where I go to church, feel gratitude to who helps and prays for my family and scan my life for new paths I have to help and pray for others will stay or if the feeling (it feels like newness and curiosity mixed with patience and acknowledgement) will evolve into maybe some wise old woman type heart.

You know – like the kind of woman who knows how to cut and trim the herbs just right and what kind of Psalm to sing to her roses to keep them from getting brittle.

Is that a stretch?

I wonder, of all the friends in my active circle, who is the one with the next thing to teach me.

I wonder, of all the people I haven’t met yet but will meet in the future, who will validate the choices I am making now. In my near 37 years, there is always the validating stranger who comes in and says “yeah – that’s great – that’s like what they do in <name region of the world> to <name thing that I was also trying to get to>” and then they usually add something “you should read” or “you might like” or offer a deeper reason for said thing they are validating which helps me understand how a prayer was answered in my decision to do something.

The Pastor at AME Blackwell Church said “Don’t look for what you think the thing you asked God for looks like, look for the thing you asked God for – period.”

“Don’t look for what you think the thing you asked God for looks like, look for the thing you asked God for – period.”

Like the people that will come in and validate, there will be the storms that come in and expose me. My vulnerabilities, what is unhealthy about the things I do. I wonder when that next storm will be. And then I wonder and survey my life and see if there is any obvious place to reinforce, any obvious tool I need, any obvious gaps to close.

I wonder that about my emotional and spiritual life like I do about my house, my land, my motherhood.

I wonder how many times I will be afraid for the lives of my children and pray for a shield over them and how many times I will still – even after experiencing relief from this fear – I will be hit in the head with the practical wisdom of Proverbs and prayers of Psalms to remind me how much more power good has over evil. How my words matter. How my time matters. How the stories I tell my daughters matter. How the food I cook them matters. How the way I filter guilt and shame and speak in clear language matters. How my listening to them matters. How my hugs matter, my patience matters, my certainty and servant heart matter.

I saw the mint expanding today in its golden yellow pot (which I will likely have to move once it gets taller than the roses) and thought “I’m not going to move the pot yet”. This awareness of timing is something that has matured in my heart. The patience. The willingness to see how it goes but the proximity to be the right kind of proactive; there when the next step is ripe.

I offer all of this – a journal of today – in hopes and in prayer that we all recognize the seasons of our life, the way the day feels – and get some power from knowing it is all a part of the process.

XO, Erin