Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hello Rosy: Week 14 (thoughts on vulnerability, blogging, and throwing the plan out the window)

Something has come to my attention this week-how much I truly am longing for this space on the internet called mine and how it feels like coming home whenever I stop in to write a word or two or three.  I just finished paying an invoice via Paypal for the most gorgeous original piece of artwork, made by someone I've only known virtually.  Yet, my heart squeezed when I read their kind note sent on the invoice and I thought again to myself how there is truly a good vibe and power to this internet thing if we let it be. 
  But much like pulling on a stray thread on a favorite quilt can quickly unravel the whole thing, putting a complete thought or sentence out into the world wide web has made me feel like the whole story could unravel along with it.  So I've mostly shared the rosy and the bucket loads of photos I take, keeping the meaty stories to myself. 

But you see, there's this book I'm just about to finish called Hope Heals.  You absolutely must read it. You just must.  In the book Katherine writes "I don't think any of us can tell our most vulnerable stories in the moments they occur for fear that they may undo us. " I read that line tonight and something immediately clicked in me and I felt like she had put words to a thought I didn't even know how to express.  If you've read her book you may find it ludicrous that I am even saying I understand where she is coming from.  Katherine did, however, suffer a stroke in her 20's.  Although our life circumstances literally couldn't be more different, I am living in a season of vulnerability.  
Anna Ruth has started kindergarten, leaving me home to figure out a new routine with Betsy Grace.  And although I'm excited at the thought of time to paint or photograph again once she is in preschool a couple days a week, I also feel rather vulnerable.  I just KNEW we'd have a foster baby for a long-term placement by now.  But we don't.  The quiet and wondering at what is next haunts me. Vulnerability at it's loudest. 

I watch Anna Ruth walk confidently into kindergarten, a trail of prayers going in front of her and behind her.  I know she is protected and I know we have made the best decision to have her attend public school.  I mean, I know it deep in my bones.  Yet the minute I have a second alone at home the doubts, fears, and anxieties rush in like consuming flames.  Vulnerability trying to become my vicious vice. 
I used to make bucket lists and dream lists by the dozens.  Literally as far ahead as I could see was planned.  I couldn't ever imagine a season without being home with my two babies.  Then once they started to grow up some, I simply couldn't imagine not having my adopted baby or foster baby along for the ride.  Yet although we've had 3 placements so far, none of them have stayed.  I wake each day literally not knowing what it will hold by the supper time and my thoughts start to race, wondering how I'll entertain a little one in the car line and still get dinner on the table.  Is this vulnerability or worry?  Or both? 
In this season I have longed to spill my soul, to share the messages God is whispering into my heart.  There are lessons being learned, so much love filling our home, and also much pain as we learn to say goodbye not only to foster babies but to the picture-perfect plan we thought was a given.  

The only thing certain about our life ahead is Jesus and the uncertainty.   I don't have a lot figured out.  I wake each day (at 5:30!) to serve my family well for the day, finding little thoughts about going back to work someday, painting and photography, questions about "what ARE my passions and hobbies?" filling my head in random bursts here and there.  Yet none really ever take root.

We are truly in a wait and see kind of season.  Can I tell you though, it's a beautiful one.
I truly, truly mean that.  Sometimes there's a fine line between being honest and being hopeless.  We, in the Torbett household, are NOT hopeless.  In fact, we are more hopeFULL than ever before about our future. 

Want to know why?  Because we've truly moved out of the good Lord's way. It's terrifying, I'll be honest about that.  I'm a plan girl.  I like a good plan and a daily to do list and a tidy schedule.  It feels very uncomfortable standing tall with the Lord, asking "What's next?".  Yet there are moments of excitement starting to flit around, here and there.  They show me that God truly has plans bigger and better than my imagination could muster. This is not just good Christian girl talk. It's true.
Just last weekend we had a little one with us through foster care.  I just fell in love immediately.  We all did.  As I pushed them around the farmer's market in the stroller, strains of a local trumpet player were wafting through the air.  I had a contagious grin I just couldn't contain.  I bent my head down for a quick moment and told the Lord "we're in trouble, no way can I say goodbye to this one", not knowing that later in the afternoon we would receive a call to do just that. 

Did I later regret the morning and the heart connections made, however short our time may have been?  Not for a second.  I had a glimpse at the unspeakable joy and excitement that comes when I get out of God's way and follow His lead.  A couple of years ago I would have NEVER, ever even been open to the thought of foster care.  Yet here I am, living heartbroken and fiercely passionate about doing something about these precious lives. 
Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. 

In-between these growing and stretching pains our family is facing, there is so much good that keeps us going.  Simple things like playing out in the rain on one of the last summer days, cutting a bouquet of zinnia's, or chasing butterflies with a pink net. 

Dance parties to the Trolls soundtrack, fluffing our nest and decorating here and there, cooking with garden-fresh tomatoes, stacks of books on the bedside, and morning cups of tea are all bits of joy.

Endless giggles, silly time with Dad, lego building, checking the cows, conversations with Nana, pulling out my Nikon, early bedtimes, weekend adventures, growing in friendship with our church community, and having fun date nights with Brett are all constants. 
These constants and daily pockets of joy are like diamonds in the night sky, shining the way to a heart of gratitude, no matter the weather outside.
It has occurred to me this summer that I could very well live in my beautiful country home, with my safe and predictable lifestyle and that would be fine.  I could get to the end of my life, having loved many people, even loved them well. 

But that story seems dull.  Even typing it I felt a small sigh escape my lips, immediately thinking "that's it?"  

I am instead, going for the choose your own adventure kind of life. 

Only I'm not choosing. 
Just trying to be a patient follower of the one who is. 

The same God that raised Christ Jesus from the dead and saved my sins permanently and made the butterflies so fantastically creative and gave them wings to fly, 
is the same God going before me and behind me and everywhere around me for the glory of Him.

I just have to do this.
Wake each day and do this. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Hello Rosy: Week 13

Hello rosy friends! I changed the name of the weekly post up, seeing as it's Monday and not Hello Fri-YAY and here I am just now getting my fingers to the keyboard.  I intended to do this Friday and was already scrawling little notes to myself about what I wanted to say and share on the blog.  Then the rain came.  Oh, how it came!  Thursday evening it just rolled right in with gusts, spraying drops of rain all over the front porch.  The girls squealed and ran about, then cuddled up on their Daddy's lap to warm up against the cool August temperatures. 

The next morning we woke and as always with our rural internet, it wasn't working due to the rain.  One missed moment led to another until here we are on a Monday and I feel like I should wish you a happy week ahead! 

Perhaps the weather is a boring topic to write about or shows my age, but truly it's worth talking about!  Normally an Arkansas August is so dreadfully hot.  In fact, I've admitted to Brett on many occasions that August and February are my two least favorite months.  Both seem to be a bit of an outlier, neither fitting here nor there, or in any season really.   August is typically brown grass, everything looking and feeling absolutely parched.  I don't remember a cool August at all.  

Except for this year.  Cool temperatures and rain have been present day after day.  I've even had a chill.  It has felt like the biggest treat in the world, totally unexpected.  We have been delighting in front porch time for just about every meal, sitting down with a stack of books, and walking around the yard and admiring how lush and green everything still looks.  
This sweet six year-old starts kindergarten in ONE week! We have been asked at least a million times if she's excited and am I ready.  You can never really tell by her answer to the general public how she's feeling because my gal has a lot of introvert in her.  But at home when it's us or when we're talking about school or shopping for school supplies-yes, she's very, very excited!  Last week she complained when we still had 11 more days to go.  We get to meet her teacher and go to a special kindergarten open house this week that we are all very excited about! 
As for the "are you ready?" question, the answer should be so obvious because it's a no! I have truly loved being a stay-at-home mom and wouldn't have had it any other way!  Everyone told me it would go fast and back when the girls were both such little babies at the same time I couldn't imagine I would ever leave the baby stage.  But here we are, one girl going to kindergarten this year and the next the year after.  What everyone said is true, it really does go by fast!  This year will especially feel strange because I know the girls will miss each other so much during the day.  They play together constantly so Betsy and I will have to find a new little rhythm to help with the change. 
I've still been distraction free on my phone, which means I took Safari, Instagram, and Facebook off my phone.  It has been truly wonderful and so very freeing.  I find myself with spaces of time I wouldn't have ever had before because I would have been scrolling through Instagram.  Now I can do things like sit and type my true thoughts out on my laptop, for my eyes only. 

I've been holding back a lot on the blog the past few months of what this season of life is really like.  I'm finding that I like to share less publicly now than I ever have before.  That's not to be fake online but instead it seems in this world of over-sharing it's best for my personality to share less with the world and get the thoughts and emotions out in a more private way for now. 

Can you relate?  I just find it gets so noisy sometimes when I look around at other people's opinions, voices, and thoughts on what I (or we) should be doing as a family.  God and Brett make much gentler guides. 

We've been spending time on the front fence row, feeding these cows from our hands! We have even named this cow Rosy.  

The girls continue to find all sorts of ways to amuse themselves.  Someone asked them last week what they liked to play with and I found myself kind of stumbling over the answer.  They certainly play with toys but much prefer things like blocks, plastic or stuffed animals, or being outside.  They prefer toys that they can use their imaginations with! 

I'm finding myself delighting in the small things more with less of my phone around to distract me as well.  Things like this plate of seashells from our two beach trips this year.  

Brett and I have been trying to be more intentional about community and being present to get to know people.  One evening we sat on the front porch for dinner and then got to visit with our best friends who live down the road.  One was on a walk and one was driving home from work.  Both stopped to chat.  Another day recently a neighbor saw us outside and brought a homegrown watermelon over to share.  Then there was the time we saw a neighbor outside shucking his corn so we stopped to say hello and he invited us in to visit for a while.

These are the rich moments of life. 
We're still picking tomatoes and peppers from the garden! The girls have started eating sliced tomatoes with salt this year, which is something new for them.  Especially for Anna!
This night felt just magical.  We watched this rain move in and parked it on the porch to enjoy it.

It wasn't all cuddles with dad.  There was plenty of squealing and running about from the sheer excitement of the rain. 

I do have a few phone snaps to share.  Sometimes it's the only thing around and still so handy to capture a moment with.  This dresser is my desk and I added this lamp from Target for only $5.99! I stand at this little spot a lot to write lists, put things on my calendar, edit photos, or blog. 
My big girl school shopping! 

I've been lighting candles at night lately and also making a cup of hot tea.  One night in the dark really, I poured a bit of water on this candle to make it go out.  The next morning I awoke to see a heart shape in the wax.  
I've still been working on a lot of little organizing and house projects. 
Last week I took our photo wall down, all 366 pictures of it!  It had been up for a year and a half and as I told the girls, it was time for new memories to hang.  We sure do enjoy printed photos! 

Between our photo boxes of loose pictures and our photo books we just adore sitting and looking through all the wonderful memories our life has given us.  And really my life is as ordinary or extraordinary as anyone else's.  We just look a little harder than some for the rosy. :) 

I am currently working on a BIG summer photo book and using Blurb to make it. 
Last week I got the girls' closets as well as mine purged and organized! This always makes our getting ready routine smoother.

Someone asked yesterday what we'd done this summer and we replied a bit of everything!  Between the pool, library, beach, swim lessons, playdates, local field trips, going to Kansas City, and more we have really had such a fun summer.  Last week we crossed another item off our summer bucket list by visiting the Wal-Mart museum in Bentonville.  Next door to the museum is this old-fashioned soda fountain and ice cream shop.  It is just dreamy! The girls each got a cone for $1.  They also quickly made friends with two other children while we were there.  Kids are cool you guys, they do this being friendly thing way better than us grown-ups!

After the cones we explored downtown Bentonville! We just loved it here! Of course it helped that the weather was in the 70's.  But there were so many sights, sounds, smells, and shops that were fun to explore. 

We ended our morning fun with lunch at this food truck I'd heard about from my parents.  Yeyo's Mexican food is amazing! We got so much delicious food we took the leftovers back to Brett at work for a treat.  The only thing that would have made this day better would have been having him along too! 

And now here we are, down to our last week of summer.  We have several fun things planned like a birthday party, kindergarten open house, and a trip to the library.  If I don't blog for another week or so it's because I'm savoring every last bit of time with Anna Ruth home! 

What are you up to?  Do you have a good book to read?  Something to look forward to? 
Prayer requests? 

I am reading my 19th book of the year, 
drinking homemade tea lattes, 
am excited to try and see The Glass Castle in theaters (hopefully),
ready to spend some time in the kitchen this week, 
and hopeful about the school year ahead. :) 

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