A letter

Posts Tagged ‘Endurance’

Dreams and scarecrows.

In Bloomfield, New York Summer, Uncategorized, Year 3 on August 15, 2017 at 5:39 pm

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Three years, friend. Three years ago, today. Three years ago today that we sat at the Taco Box in the East Village and began our hunt for housing. Three crazy, wonderful years. Three years of the highest highs, and the most brutal lows. Three years of dreaming. Three years of blood, sweat and tears. Three years of living the dream. And, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I will never forget the feeling I had that day. Elated and sick. I think I felt sick to my stomach for the entire week. I kept saying to myself, “We are here, our stuff is here, our kids are here, we’ve moved here.” I remember that feeling of “no return.” Not that I wanted to, but sort of. At the same time, there was nowhere else I wanted to be, and nowhere else I wanted to live. There was one thing we were sure of that day, and that one thing was NYC. Since that day, there is another thing we are sure ofscarecrows.

Scarecrows exist because there is treasure in the field. They exist because there is something of value there. Something they don’t want you to get. Something they don’t want you to find. Something they want to keep secret. They want you to leave and go elsewhere. They want you to move on. And, as we both know, NYC has been full of scarecrows for us.

It’s been full of ugly, mean, taunting scarecrows. Ones that have tried to convince us the field is empty. Ones that have tried to to tell us it’s a barren land. Ones that have tried to tell us we’d starve if we built a home here. Ones that have told us we’d only find fool’s gold here.

But, we are learning. We’re learning they tell lies. We’re learning where the biggest scarecrows are, is actually where we are supposed to be. We are learning that they are spineless, weak facades. We are learning they are lifeless, legless, breathless props. We are realizing the sight of them should actually cheer us onencourage us to walk bolder. They should remind us that gold is yet to be found—that bounty lies there. They should give us courage to stay. They should spur us on to dig deeper, to invite friends along, and to be tenacious. They should make us laugh, because we’ve called their bluff. They should make us dance because we’ve missed their trap. They should make us sing, because they can’t. They should encourage us to add pages to the dream, rooms to the house, buildings to the neighborhood. They should press us to write the dream. To speak it. To make it biggerso big that others must come with you. They should tell us to reach farther. Scarecrows should scare us into the very land they are staked in—where the treasure is hidden, waiting for us.

I think I’ll dream a little more. You should too.

Bep

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When living takes courage.

In Bloomfield on July 29, 2016 at 11:48 am


Certainly odd for me, but I just finished reading my second book on death. I sat alone in a quiet, sleeping house sobbing, barely able to read the last chapter. His (the author’s) story hit me at the core of my being. Maybe because my mom has had two brain surgeries this year. Maybe because we just had a baby, and I can’t imagine a goodbye like that. Maybe because the author that passed was only a year older than David. Maybe because we’ve said two painful goodbyes this year already. Or maybe because life is fragile, laced with unbelievable joys and aching tragedy. But maybe mostly because life is a gift, and I want to keep seeing it that way.

It is easy to forget that life is a gift, especially when it’s hard. I’ve wanted to hide from life many days this year. I hate to even admit it, but it’s true. The urge to crawl back under the sheets has been all to frequent. Life has been hard. I’ve felt so bare. We’ve had conversations, asked the difficult questions, reminded ourselves of God’s goodness and cried bottles full of tears—mainly mine. We’ve thought about giving up on dreams and leaving the mountain climb for something easier. As tears continued to fall the other night, I think what gripped my heart the most was realizing not my fear of death, but my fear of life.

In difficult times it’s not the uncertainty of life that makes it hard to keep going, but its seeming certainty. In the face of hardship, it’s the living of life I fear. I fear that there are too many hard days still in front of me. Grappling with death these past few months, as strange as it may seem, has been freeing. The worry about getting through tomorrow is suddenly relieved when I realize all I’ve been given is today. In facing death or life, I’ve only been given today.

There is a peace in surrendering to life as it is today, even through pain. In beauty or mess, in plenty or lack, in joy or pain, the only thing that is certain is today. I think God told us not to worry about tomorrow to protect our heart in times of trouble—to not worry about bearing the weight we feel today, tomorrow. There are no guarantees. Tomorrows aren’t given to us today.

This man’s courage to live while dying challenged me.  It challenged me to live my todays more fully—more yielded and present. It’s challenged me to soak up baby kisses, savor late-night chats with my hubby after long workdays, and to have too many scoops of ice cream. It’s also given me courage to face challenging days, knowing I only have to tackle today for now. This man’s courage also reminded me of another Man we know, who courageously faced death so we could have a better tomorrow. And, it’s because of Him that we do not have to walk alone.

Love,

Bep


The Getting back up: Staying the course.

In New York Summer on July 29, 2015 at 4:24 pm

I seem to be circling the mountain of a wintery soul, and I am SO ready for spring. It’s odd to be in the blazes of summer and be struggling with a wintery soul. It’s also odd to experience a winter season that has lasted so long. We’ve never known a winter to last forever, but still have no immediate promise of its end. I keep telling myself that our spring MUST be around the corner. Winters don’t last forever, they just don’t. This is yet another week where leaning has been my habit–a tired, full-body-lean in to the person of Jesus who is our Rock. Thank God for Jesus.

I have been thinking a lot about endurance this week. People throw that word around a lot, right?  But what does “running the race with endurance” even mean? Is it the ability to last long? Does endurance mean running well? Does it require beating everyone else? Does it mean I feel like a champion at all times? Does it mean that I feel like running? Does it mean that I run with full speed at all times? What is this endurance I’m supposed to run with? I decided to look it up and was surprised that it was far different than what I imagined:

Steadfastness, constancy, patient continuance, a patient enduring, steadfast waiting for

It also said it is the characteristic of a man unswerved from his deliberate purpose and loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings. If all that is true, It’s staying the course that counts. It’s the continuing that counts. It’s the patient waiting that counts. It’s not how many times I’ve fallen, but that I get back up again and again and keep going.

Most days my run is very slow. It’s often a slow methodical walk. Some days it’s standing still and simply not exiting the track. And, if I’m really honest, some days it’s sitting down in the track through tears until I have the strength to rise again. Thankfully it didn’t say anything about being a super hero to fit the bill of endurance. It just said to keep going!

Cheering you on, friend,

Bep


When the grass looks greener.

In New York Summer on July 22, 2015 at 10:46 pm



The boys are at the neighbors and I have a few minutes of quiet on this gorgeous day. It’s been quite a week, as you know. Not sure I’ve ever felt this helpless. It’s been a leaning week—leaning on the faithfulness of Jesus. I guess there isn’t a better spot to be, but it is certainly not the most comfortable. Thankfully God doesn’t always give us what we want. He always gives us better. Our better came in the form of dinner guests. And, let me just say, it was FAR better than the comfort I craved.

We had met this incredible (my-parents-aged) couple a few months back, and after weeks of crazy schedules, we finally found a night to do dinner. This couple moved here about a year ago after acquiring the largest parking garage company in NYC—no small feat, incase you were wondering. To say he is business savvy would be a gross understatement. We told them our story of getting to NY and the insane highs and lows of the last year. He smiled saying he could tell us twenty stories just like the ones we told. He said he’d just tell us one, but we’re so glad he didn’t stop there. He was speaking our language. For several hours he shared story after story of risking all, and sometimes loosing all, only to climb again. They had watched bank accounts dwindle just like we have. They had parallel stories of being down to the wire only to see God come through in miraculous way—except on a much larger scale. They sat across from us beaming, unscathed from the journey, full of faith, cheering us on. He happens to be a professional mountain climber, and has climbed some of the highest mountains in the world. He said when you are close to the peak, you often can’t see it. Sometimes people turn back when they are so close. He told us we just have to be willing to take one step, then one step more.

I lay in bed last night thinking about what I told David earlier this week—that I just wished things were easier. I’d been thinking about how nice it would be to have a steady income and a stable life. I was craving a life with less pressure. But, laying in bed last night I realized I don’t want to live on that side of the fence—that grass isn’t greener for us there. We would be craving adventure, begging God for something more. We would be stagnant—dying inside. We would be laying in bed wishing there was more, not less. Sometimes what we need is courage, not change. I’ve thought I wanted change of scenery, for things to be different. I’ve been wrong. I want to be right where we are, climbing this mountain. I’ve just needed courage to keep climbing. I’ve needed to realize the grass is greenest where he’s led us—right here.

Love you friend,

Bep


Uphill climb and Lemonade.

In New York Summer on July 2, 2015 at 6:42 pm

Well, after months of planning, we—and I do mean we—opened Vacation Lemonade. I can tell you one thing, this manager is tired. I wasn’t quite prepared for the level of involvement required of me for this stand. I envisioned sitting shaded in a lawn chair, drinking lemonade and reading while they seamlessly ran the stand, unassisted. Instead, I found myself stooped over at their side, coaching every move and helping in every way imaginable. I guess they are only four and six.

Leon wants to be open daily, and after earning a whopping thirty-eight dollars on day one, I understand why. He told me yesterday he is going door to door to get “costomers”. It seems we have an Uncle Bub on our hands. He will shout down any human looking creature in sight, trying to get a sale. He asks solo customers if they would like one cup or two cups and tells them he’ll see them tomorrow. He’s an absolute riot. Sol decided to start selling toys they don’t need as well. I’m not sure how they did it, but they convinced a Rocky-like, college-aged pedestrian to take an unwanted football guy, for free. He seemed very unfamiliar in the realm of children and said he would put it on his desk. He kept saying, “Are you sure you don’t want it anymore?” I was holding back uproarious laughter. One thing is certain, besides making money, we are making memories. What more could I want?

Through this process of running the lemonade stand the kids are learning amazing lessons. Leon is learning that making money takes time and hard work. He’s realizing it will take days of work to get his desired Air Jordans. By the end of day two they each had thirty-four dollars. He requested I search eBay for Air Jordans for thirty-four bucks. He said he wanted to know what Jordans he could get NOW. Funny thing is, in watching them, I see many parallels in my own life. I wish we were there right now.

I’ve been weary this week. I’ve been tired. I’ve been short on the patience required in life, especially in this season. I’ve questioned whether I have what it takes to climb this mountain. I want to be out of debt today. I want to arrive at our goals today. But just like the boy’s lemonade stand, our adult version takes time. Unfortunately, and fortunately, our goal is far bigger than a pair of Jordans, but that means it will take more than a few days.

We stumbled across an old gospel song last night and it couldn’t have been more perfect. You might already know it. She sang it well, and now we are too: “Lord don’t move that mountain, but give me the strength to climb.” This is where I am at today: I’m needing strength to climb. The beautiful thing is, He always gives us strength to climb. So we know we’ll be okay. Both you and I.

Love you friend.

Bep

    

When to-do-lists don’t get done…

In Spring in New York on May 21, 2015 at 9:56 pm

Well friend, here I sit.  Or should I say, here I sit in bed at 8:36 p.m. hot packing my angry lower back and praying my children remain tucked until morning dawns.  There are few guarantees, but I have not heard the bedroom door creak in the last 6 minutes which is hopefully  an indicator of sleep.  Today was one of those days.  This week was one of those weeks.  Maybe it’s because I told you I’m working on “messy happy”.  Maybe it is because occasionally there do not seem to be enough hours in a day.  Maybe it’s because I try to conquer the world in a day rather than the world one day at a time.  Maybe I’m just cranky and an overachiever, perfectionist who doesn’t have a large enough soul to let things slide.  If this is what I signed up for in “growing in mess”, I may have to re-evaluate the contract.

Okay, okay, I’m probably being a bit dramatic.  But in full truth I don’t do well when things aren’t done.  Every day this week, I have gone to bed and at least half of my to-do-list remains undone.  I’m sure you know the feeling.  I think I should just scrap my to-do-list to the curbside entirely and just going about my day singing “Que Sera, Sera”. Do you ever feel this way?

I think every mother feels this way though, at least from time to time. We start a task and someone needs wiping.  Then we referee world war four in the front yard before being reported by the neighbor.  We put the last pile of laundry away only to see dirty hampers spilling over.  We finish cleaning up lunch only to start dinner, and in the midst of it all we are paying bills, loving husbands, dreaming dreams, not to mention tending our own souls.

What is my conclusion in this all?  What resolution have I found?  What peace have I met to calm this storm.  We both know. It’s not a maid, though I wish, It’s not a super power, though I wish that as well.  It’s not even the ability to re-start the day and do it perfectly, and I know we both wish we could do that daily.  It’s this kiss of grace, that meets our lips held tight with frustration.  It’s the mercies in the morning that greet us no matter how the day before finished. It’s the strength that meets us when we are weak, when all we can say is “help”.  It’s the cleansing shower, that washes expectations of perfection to the wayside and reminds me I’m but dust with out Him.  He’s okay with it, it’s why He’s Savior. Somehow that’s what I’ve been trying to be.

So tonight, laundry half done, bills not paid, groceries not purchased, and house not cleaned I’m sitting back and drinking grace, remembering His strength is made perfect in weakness.  He came to rescue because I needed it.  I’ll drink to that, won’t you?

Love,
Bep

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Winter energies and no facilities.

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2015 at 10:08 pm

We’ve somehow managed to retain an enormous amount of winter energy and decided, whatever the weather, to rid ourselves of some of it by heading to the park.  So confident of my scheme, I even ventured against traffic to Starbucks–one without a drive through, and you know what that means–to have coffee in hand for this daring adventure.

Ten minutes post arrival I see Sol running towards me with a look of terror.  He had to poop.  Our beloved Harrick Park, one so secret the boys are convinced we are the only humans who know of it, also happens to be the only park in the history of the world not to have a bathroom.  As you know, our family freely relieves themselves on many a random patch of grass or tree without hesitation.  Poop is a different story.  Needless to say, our winter energy remains.

This inconvenience has made me realize that I feel this way about the winter season of my soul.   I realize it sounds a bit odd and kind of grotesque, but it’s also revelatory.  Our winter in the natural has been long.  It’s been hard work, and messy and taxing, and down right exhausting, and on some days I wonder if spring will ever come.  Winter has been the same for my soul and sometimes I just want to rid myself of the toxins of the season, but find there is no outlet.  And, just like the park, in spite of the efforts towards change, the outcome isn’t what I hoped for.

Waiting can be sickening.  It’s not even that I doubt His showing up, it’s the handling of my heart in the meantime that is the delicate challenge.  I’ve found myself wondering what Abraham and Joseph felt like waiting? I’m sure there were moments they felt a lot like us.  We know their “morning” came, and know ours will come.  He always shows up. Though I don’t know exactly the time and seasons, He does. His grace holds me.  Spring has ALWAYS come, always. Until then, in the not knowing when, I’m heading to the park again.

Love you,

Bep
P.S. My praying plant (literally) died over winter, and guess what just popped up?  Yep!  I’ll take it as a sign.
P.P.S.  We drove to Duck Donuts today for the first time!!!! Hallelujah!

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