Friday, August 7, 2015

to be known.

I was ordering a book from Barnes and Noble the other day and the checkout page wasn't processing my membership correctly, thus charging me for shipping. Because I'm a B&N member, I should've gotten a discount on the book and free shipping but I didn't and I was upset. Naturally when someone is charging me more than they should and I'm upset, I call them up and tell them I don't like it. The customer service man was kind in hearing my problem and willing to help me out. But then he asked me a few "security questions". The first one being my membership number was easy. The second was my most recent mailing address.

I took a shot in the dark spouting off my most recent billing address. He responded with a slow "nooo?" and I quickly told him I moved recently and to try my Katy address. Again, I got a slow "nooo?" as a response. My hands got a little sweatier and my heart raced a little faster. I chuckled nervously and tried to explain that I move a lot and it's hard to keep track of what companies I update my address with and so it'd really be helpful if he could give me the city and I would tell him the house number and street name. He seemed to understand and told me my address in their system was in Kenosha, WI. Oh, great. Kenosha. I've lived at two different addresses in Kenosha. I started talking in super fast mode because I was embarrassed that I didn't know my own address and I just wanted to be able to order my new book with free shipping. I explained that it could be two different addresses and to be honest, I don't know the house number to either of them. Long story short, I begged for another security question because that one was obviously a struggle and I wasn't winning the war any time soon. He understood and my book should be arriving on my doorstep today with free shipping!

After I got off the phone with the customer service man, I started thinking about how many addresses could have possibly been in their system. I counted eight. Eight places I have called home in the past five years. Eight addresses I've memorized the address for and gotten mail at. Eight places I've had my own bed at and laid my head down for more than just a few nights. 

For a girl that hates change, I immediately thought, how in the world did I do that? How did I survive? How did I not quit at number four? And I think it all comes down to one simple answer. People knew me in those places. I'm not talking they knew my name and that I drove a jeep and I drank coffee. They knew me on a much deeper level. They knew I had heartache and pain. They knew I wrestled with thoughts that don't make sense to me. They knew I take my coffee with a little cream and one packet of sweet 'n low. They knew I have terrible vision and can't see anything without my glasses or contacts. They knew my family and could call them by name. They knew me. 

Let me back up for a second and tell you something important. I didn't always move to places where people already knew me, although sometimes I did. Mostly, I moved places where I had to get to know people and they had to get to know me. We had to learn these things about each other. 

The first place I moved that I had to get to know people and vice versa was college. I didn't know a soul. We all know the fear of a poor little freshman scared to make friends, but even more scared to not have any friends. You've felt it, right? So when a girl came to my door and invited me to come to a bible study later in the week, I jumped at the opportunity. I went back week after week and started realizing that these people, especially this girl, wanted to know me. She wanted to know where I came from and where I was going. She wanted to know what made me tick and what brought me joy. This girl stood by my side a few weeks ago at our wedding. Why? Because after 6 years of friendship she knows me and I know her. In our deepest places, we are known and still loved. 

Even scarier still and with much more change, I packed Mr. Jeep as full as I possibly could and drove across country to Colorado. People didn't know me there at all. Nor did I know them. But all ten of us moved into a giant house together. We made meals together. We celebrated birthdays and holidays together. We shoveled snow together. And most importantly, we gathered in a living room every Thursday night together. We told each other about who we are and who we want to become. We shared the hard times that made us stronger and the times we're still fearful of. We got to truly and deeply know each other and we became family. 

In the in-between I also moved home. Home to where I didn't need to explain myself or practice that getting to know you. The coffee was already made when I woke up because mom just knows. And dad already planned dinner because he just knows. And Brad and Kelly already planned the day because they just know. We need this sometimes too, where don't need to explain or open up because we already have.

Most recently I made the move to Katy, Texas. This one was a little different because the move didn't have an expiration date and I didn't have a job waiting for me there. I didn't know anyone outside of my fiance and his family. But my saving grace was our small group. It was extremely important to Roy and I that we made friends and had a community in Katy so Roy did everything in his power to find that before I moved. And when I got here, we opened our lives up to them. We get together every Thursday night and sometimes on the weekend. We let them in to see the bruises and dirt. We let them see the joys and the sorrows. And six months later, I can say these people know me here. 

If you've ever moved to someplace new or changed jobs or walked in to a room full of strangers, you know the feeling. Something deep inside you drops when you realize that you are a nobody among somebodies. People don't know you. And even if they happen to know your name and three facts about you, they still don't really know you. It's scary and it's hard. But I encourage you today to let somebody in. Nobody is going to know you unless you let them. Invite them in to your messy home. Tell them about that one time it hurt too much to talk. Show them the ridiculous hair you had at age 6 and the time you broke your pinky finger. Tell them about your Barbie movie obsession in high school and your fears about being single forever. Cry with them. Laugh with them. Love them and you will be known. It is a gift. 

Monday, August 3, 2015


I know it sounds kind of strange in today's world, but I've never really been a big fan of creating albums of pictures on Facebook. For one, my pictures download different than every other person. Seriously, every time I try to upload pictures, my screen tweaks out and jumps back and forth between the upload screen and the Facebook homepage. I don't know why, but it does. Secondly, it seems sort of silly to put all those pictures up without a lot of commentary. Have you ever seen a picture on Facebook and thought, "please tell me there's a story behind this photo" or "what is this?" because the picture didn't speak for itself? You know the pictures I'm talking about. The ones nobody ever "likes". And speaking of "like", I also think pictures can be a competition on Facebook. How many likes can it get? How many people approve of me? How many people think I'm pretty enough to click that thumb's up? How many people think my life is adventurous enough? That's what we're really looking for, right?

Now I've got you asking, why is she going on forever about Facebook pictures in a post titled 'Honeymoon'. Well because I didn't want to post honeymoon pictures on Facebook and slip into the competition. I'd rather you hear a little story about the pictures, like how I would tell you if I were showing you in person at a little coffee shop over a latte. I want you to know that these aren't just photos I want you to "like" to make me feel good. Rather, it's my desire to let you in a little bit... to tell you about the honeymoon, not just show you in a quick scroll of pictures. So, please, grab that latte or tea or whatever makes your heart sing and let me tell you about our honeymoon. It is my joy.

The hubby and I stayed in Bar Harbor, Maine for our honeymoon. So many people asked why Maine, and I said because it's the furthest we could get away from the Texas heat. Not really, but kinda. I told Roy that my one request for the honeymoon was that it wasn't as hot as home. Plus Maine has always been a state we've wanted to go to. So Maine it was. 
We stayed in the cutest bed & breakfast in downtown Bar Harbor. Our room was on the far right of this picture, with french doors out to our private porch. I could seriously go on forever about how amazing the Primrose Inn was but I don't want your coffee to get cold before you're done reading this post, so to shorten it up let me just say this... TWO fresh-baked desserts and tea every day from 4-6pm (that means dessert before dinner every day). We loved it and cannot wait to go back! 
Again, I could seriously go on for hours about every little detail that we loved about our honeymoon, but I'm going to try and keep it to a few highlights. One highlight was definitely the lobster, as you can sure imagine. You can pretty much get lobster in any fashion in Maine (yes, even lobster ice cream), but the best is obviously the untouched, pull it apart yourself, fresh lobster. For our first dinner in Maine, we went all out and got the whole darn lobster caught earlier that day. 

Words just won't do justice here. You must try fresh Maine lobster. Put it on your bucket list because it doesn't get much better than this. In the course of our stay we ate lobster rolls, lobster mac&cheese, seafood chowder (with lobster, of course), steak and lobster, and just plain lobster. 

Another highlight of the trip was our whale watching tour. The boat ride out was about 50 degrees and incredibly windy. We drove for quite a ways in choppy waters before the boat finally slowed down to get a closer look at a couple of whale spouts off in the distance. I have to be honest, at first I was a little skeptical and kind of disappointed. I wanted to see a whale. You know, the giant animal that almost seems imaginary because it's so amazing. Whale spouts were not enough bang for the shivering cold temperatures and wind-blown hair. But slowly, with a lot of patience and an expert captain this... 

turned in to this... 

30 feet from the boat. No zoom necessary. In fact, you might want to back up a bit because that whale could splash us. It was unlike anything we have ever experienced. I was in awe of God's creation and that we were witnessing His creation exactly where it belonged. I'm not a zoo or Sea World hater, but there was something magical, something moving about seeing such an incredible animal in it's natural habitat doing what it was born to do. Again, I strongly suggest this to be your next bucket list item. 

Highlight number three... Acadia National Park. This probably isn't very fair to lump the entire park into one highlight because there were so many unbelievable sights within the park, but I'm going to do it anyways. 

Cadillac Mountain. 1,532 feet. The tallest point along the Atlantic coast. To once-dwellers of Colorado, the height seems almost laughable, but the views were anything from that. 

Leaves you speechless. 

Acadia National Park offered inexplainable nature like the thunder hole that rolls like thunder when the waves crash against it, and untouched granite that sparkles in the sunlight. Ponds reflect not only the sun, but also God's matchless beauty. 

Our favorite spot within the national park was Jordan Pond House. Built originally in the 1890's, it is the only restaurant in a national park. Jordan Pond House is famous for it's popovers (similar to an airy croissant in the shape of a muffin), but we enjoyed the views the most. 

After five days in the quaint Bar Harbor, we drove to the big city of Boston. It was the first time the hubby and I had ever been and we were most excited about the taking in all the history. We quickly picked up a self-guided walking tour book of the "Freedom Trail" and made a plan to tackle it all. The Freedom Trail is a path throughout the city of Boston marked by red brick that leads to the majority of the great historical sights. We had the privilege of seeing the birthplace of Benjamin Franklin, the site of the Boston Massacre, Faneuil Hall (where the first talk of independence took place), the home of Paul Revere and so much more.  We only spent two days in Boston and it was definitely not enough. We still have a list of places we want to see on our next trip. 

Thank you for letting me take you along to reminisce for a moment. The hubby and I are beyond thankful for the time we got to spend together, the moments we got to laugh together, pray together and experience new things together. We have made so many new memories and for that we are forever grateful. 

Ps... I should also tell you that I don't totally despise Facebook photos. I like to see what others are doing and where life is taking them, so please, keep posting them and I will keep "liking" them. Promise.