Imperfect people


So I have the fortune of being part of the launch team for Rachel Held Evans' new book, Searching for Sunday. It's about what so many people go through - questioning the hypocrisy of so many churches, wondering where the real Jesus is in all the "show" - the REAL Jesus, not the shiny, John Lennon without glasses Jesus who only drinks Welch's Concord Grape Juice.

I'm finding myself highlighting things nearly every other page, and being so incredibly grateful to not be the only one who had all these questions that seemed to have the "wrong" answers, or answers I couldn't even get my head around. I am planning on writing a longer post when I'm done with the book, but when I read this passage, I had to stop and really mull it over:

"At its best, the church functions much like a recovery group, a safe place where a bunch of struggling, imperfect people come together to speak difficult truths to one another."

This means so much to me right now. I think it's easy to go to church and plaster on a smile and pretend everything is okay, but when things get harder, that gets harder and harder to do.

Right now things are hard for us. I lost my job in November when my company closed. Less than two weeks after I started temping where I am now, John lost his job. He's still looking, and I know he will find something but we just don't know when. It's scary. It's ugly. It stresses us both emotionally and spiritually and financially.

Right now I have a hard time walking in church and not just going straight to the altar and pouring out my heart (I tried that at a prayer service earlier this year. Suffice to say it was so hard when a well-meaning person came up and started praying right in my ear. I don't even go to the service she goes to anymore, just so I can avoid her.Because I don't know how to say "that was a personal, deeply spiritual pouring out of my heart that you interrupted." Just seems rude. I don't even know her name.)

But that's where my heart is. I need to know that I'm not the only one broken, and that I'm not the only one struggling right now. That facade of perfection is what pushed me away from church for a while in my twenties. But like Rachel, I felt it pulling me back the whole time. I knew there was more than what I'd experienced.

I'm so grateful for the United Methodist Church. I'm grateful my daughter will never have limits on how she can serve God, just because she's female. I'm grateful to see men AND women, sons AND daughters, proclaiming God's Word and sharing with our community. I'm grateful because we are all broken. and there is something comforting about liturgy.

I can't wait to share more with you from this book, and more about how deeply it's affecting me. Suffice to say this is a must-have, and I'm so happy to be part of this launch team.



So in the time since my last post, things have changed fairly drastically at our house.

To recap - in November the company I worked for previously closed their Houston location, and I found myself once again scrambling for work. This time, because of the time of year, it took a little longer, and I was in the unique position of being unemployed over the holiday season.

I did find there were interviews to be had, and people were not completely unwilling to talk. I even got a few good leads out of those weeks.

One lead was great, and I was set to start temping with an oil and gas company at the end of January. Unfortunately, the price of oil continued to fall, and they had to cancel plans for temporary employees. The plus side of that was being placed as an Executive Administrative Assistant, with a company much closer to home at a better pay rate.

So things went really well for two whole weeks.

Then, John lost his job.

So now we're back to one income while he searches for the next step in his career path. I can't lie and say it's been sunshine and roses, and we've both dealt with a lot of emotions over the course of nearly four months. Life hasn't necessarily been easy, but I'm a firm believer these difficult times make us who we are, and show us what we are truly capable of accomplishing.

So we wait. He goes on interviews, gets his resume out there, and we just wait and work and pray for relief. I know it's coming, I just don't know quite when or how (which is the scary part.)

Either way, it's a meaningful learning experience. It brings me closer to God, closer to my family, and reminds me who I am in a way that easy things definitely do not.

Put one foot in front of the other


Because it's that time of year, I've been watching a lot of Rankin-Bass Christmas specials lately. We watched Santa Claus Is Coming to Town the other day, and I was kind of struck by one of the songs - "Put One Foot in Front of the Other" - and how it means a lot more now than it did when I was a kid.

Right now I'm just putting one foot in front of the other, with a big helping of faith that there is a reason for this difficult time, and one day all of this is going to be made clear. If I keep putting one foot in front of the other, eventually I'll get past the blocks and where I'm supposed to be.

Since I've already linked to one video, let me share another. This is one of my current favorite songs, and sort of explains what I'm hanging on to, because I truly believe it's time to more than just survive.

It's a Family Tradition


Folks ask me, "Hank why do you drink?"

No, no, not that kind of Family Tradition - although anyone with a toddler or preschooler probably has their own special answer to that question.

I'm talking about the little things we do as a family that become our traditions. One of the things Sarah loves is Saturday Morning Pancakes, particularly when Saturday Morning Pancakes have chocolate chips in them. Usually she pulls out our kitchen stepladder (two steps, no worries, but it has a handle) and stands next to me, helping mix batter, or telling me she needs more chocolate chips in her pancakes.

She gets to eat her pancakes, watch Disney, Jr. and get ready for story time at the library. John and I get to build some special memories and hope one day she's making pancakes on a Saturday morning and remembers having fun and feeling very, very loved.

You'll notice it's been a while


Yes, it has indeed been quite some time since I blogged last.

Quite honestly part of it was busy-ness. Part of it was feeling in the dumps. Part was just not knowing what I'd even write about.

Since I wrote last, the company I worked for closed its Houston location. Yes, that's right. Second time in a year I found myself unemployed (or facing unemployment) because of a closure. So I spent a great deal of time looking for a new job while trying to make certain our location was closed down as best it could be. There were lots of people involved in that and quite frankly it was just exhausting both physically and emotionally.

Since November 21st, I've officially been unemployed. The first week was easy. I churned out some applications and got ready to head to El Paso for Thanksgiving. While we were there I even went through some online applications - got to keep Texas Workforce happy - and checked my phone obsessively in case anyone was working the day after Thanksgiving.

The long drive was worth it, because we got to see things like this

We visited Murchison Park on Scenic Drive, and I got an amazing picture of my two favorite people

And the World's Most Enthusiastic Dancing Queen struck a pose in Franklin Mountains State Park

It was a really nice trip. John doesn't get to go home often, and we made the most out of this trip.

Now that we're home, it's been a flurry of activity. I've been spending my mornings at Starbucks, sending out resumes and staying out of John's hair while he works. Sarah is doing half days at preschool, and our afternoons are full of nap time and finding activities to keep her occupied. We had an early release party at church on Wednesday, and she and I helped out with that.

I had a really positive interview yesterday, and another scheduled for late this afternoon.I'm hopeful the right job for me, and the right thing for the family will work out soon. In the meantime I'm trying to be still. To listen for the message meant for me in the middle of all this chaos and bustle. I know there is a greater meaning to all this, and I can't wait to share what amazing thing is around the corner for me, and for our family.

I'm choosing to be joyful. 'Tis the season for miracles, joyful celebration, and hearts so full of love they could burst.

Seasons change


One of the recurring themes in my life right now is the idea of "seasons of life" and how things change for us depending on where we are in our journey.

This season is not exactly the easiest one I've been through. There are lots of questions, lots of figuring out what being "Kelly" means right now, and how to balance that with being wife and mama and all the other things that make me who I am.

What do I have right? What do I need to rethink? I may actually have five minutes now for a hobby - what should I do? Am I doing okay with Sarah? Am I still being a good wife to John? Am I the only one tired of folding clothes over and over and over again with no end to the cycle in sight?

I think the repetition of right now is the worst part. The same thing, in and out, every day... it's not that I want or need a grand adventure. But have you ever tried cooking for a finicky preschooler? I made homemade mac and cheese, which she refused to eat. But she'll gobble down Kraft in a box like it's the best meal she's ever had. Make her a burger at home and she barely touches it. Go out and she'll inhale one. No matter what meat you use, what seasoning or lack thereof... so I do the same things over and over because it is what she eats, and I know I'm not the only one bored of it, but what do you do? Just keep trudging forward, hopeful for the day you can serve green peas and be sure she'll eat them.

It's just hard to be motivated. So I'm trying some new ideas, reading some new things, and committing to trying one new thing every week. I don't know what that will be. It might be a new recipe, or a new book, or talking to someone I don't know well.

It's just time for me to find some new things, and explore a bit. Nothing crazy just yet, I mean, I am not going to start drinking Pepsi instead of Coke for goodness' sake. Although I have made the decision to give up soft drinks of all sorts again. I just felt better. (After a few days... this headache is NOT fun.)

Time to gear up for a season of learning and trying to be the best me I can be. Got to set a good example for the little person, after all.

Finding my words


I'm coming to a place where I can find my words to write again.

Today would have been my Daddy's 59th birthday. My brother Kevin's birthday is coming up early next month, and too soon after that, it will be a year since we lost him.

In that same month, both the girls have a birthday. I feel bad that right now I can't imagine celebrating their special days without feeling tied to that loss.

The last year has been bizarre. A job that wasn't exactly what I thought, that turned into a nightmare,and now the whole location is closing by the end of November. I have something lined up that is supposed to start the first of January, but the uncertainty of not having things 100% set in literal stone is challenging.

I'm trusting God has a purpose for this. Not just the immediate situation, but the whole year.

In the spirit of that, I'm regrouping. Training. Preparing myself to be all in. Totally and fully committed to the things on my plate. Blogging is part of that, because writing is part of who I am. It won't always be serious, trust me. But this one needs to be.

I'm finding my words again, and wanting more and more to write. So write I shall.