April 17, 2014

[14] 29 Lessons

Revel in someone's awe of you.

We spend so much time trying to impress the world, you know? I once heard a statistic that the majority of people, at least in the United States, assume that they will at some point experience a high level of fame. We are all putting on a show, performing for the masses--and we've all felt what it's like for those efforts to go unnoticed. 

You've felt under-appreciated, right? And you've thought, "Well, I could certainly do what she is doing. I could do it better even!" We shame ourselves with feelings of failure, simply because we didn't get the recognition we thought we should, or at least that we were striving for.

But good gracious, I know we've all seen that look of awe in someone's eye--attention on us! We are the awe-inspiring thing. 

I thought this the other day, teaching Iris some ballet. Let the record show that ballet was simply never in the cards for me, being short and curvy and a natural-born klutz. BUT I read about some positions online once and this is what I was demonstrating for Iris. And wouldn't you know it was as if I was delivering to her the perfect gospel truth, Ballerina 101--and expertly. She looked up at me with her green-blue eyes, simply absorbing my instruction with a huge smile on her face. 

It's the same look that Edi gives me when I sing a little song she's never heard--and she likes it. She stares on and on like she never wants me to stop, and like if that's the only thing she ever heard in life, she'd be happy. (It looks a lot like that look she's giving Big Sister in that photo up there, which melts my heart.)

Some day, my kids will look beyond their mama, and they will find a great big world to awe them. I'm glad for that. As scary as it can be as a parent, I can't wait for them to see everything. But for me, to see that awe first directed toward me, that's one of those hushed, beautiful secrets that I soak up into my heart, that boosts my very being and my faith in everything. They're in awe of me.

And we will find this, if we are looking for it, in other places. Certainly I've seen that look on my mother's and father's faces. I've felt it locking eyes with my husband across a room. I've felt it from the cheers of a team or the praise of a teacher. These little moments, they seem so small; but what you do is you take them and you ride them. Keep your eyes on the eyes of those about you. You'll know it when it washes over their face, when you've done something sparkly that's caught their attention. You'll know when you've made a difference in someone's life. Then you revel in that, not because you need to feel good or approved-of, but because to be awe-inspiring is a powerful, spiritual, satisfying feeling that connects us and uplifts us.

We are not meant to touch the whole world all at once. We are meant to move from moment to moment, and if you break it down that way, you'll truly share and feel the love, let me tell you.

April 14, 2014

Away We Go

Trevor and I spent five days in New York City last week. 

We went on walks. We slept in. We saw some sights. We ate some pizza. We went shopping. We spent quality time with quality friends.

We also signed a lease.

In a few weeks, the Noels will pack up and end this little Denver chapter of our lives. Opportunities--many--knocked on our door and beckoned East; and we are answering, "Get ready. Here we come." Honestly, honestly, I can say that, maybe save for the confidence I felt in marrying Trevor, I've never felt so undoubtedly sure of anything. Of course, I'm shellshocked and nervous and so sad and ridiculously anxious. But in the face of those things, I'm positive. I have been made confident. 

This is our right move, tailor-made for us. So, away we go.

April 11, 2014

[13] 29 Lessons

Life moves in seasons.

What are lessons if not learning of the seasonality of life? Sometimes they are welcome, like the change from a brutal winter to blossoming spring. I've certainly experienced that in life--the eagerness to cast off something old for the promise of something brighter and new. It's frustrating when life doesn't move fast enough--like that brutal winter lingering well past Christmas. When times are hard, it's difficult to remember that it's just a season. It's finite. 

But sometimes we are unwilling to move to the next season: Saying farewell to a beautiful, colorful autumn, knowing that it means yielding to colder, shorter days ahead. Despite the inevitability, we hang on to fall's rustic warmth, thinking we can will it, live longer. 

You can't.

One of the biggest disservices we can pay ourselves is to refuse to identify the seasons in our lives and cling to something irrationally. Perhaps we don't want to move on because we are so happy. Perhaps we are too afraid of what's coming instead. Maybe we just feel the need to stay, worried about what it means to let go and move on. 

It's funny to write this and think how it applies to my life now, on the edge of a new season, feeling bittersweet about this small space in between. I think, though, most often, I've seen this seasonality in my relationships. People move in and out of our lives for all sorts of reasons, sometimes reasons we'll never know. I have dear friends who have been in my life for a decade. Other friends come and go and come and go, and I imagine I'll have them weaving in and out of the fabric of my life for the next forever. Sometimes a relationship is fleeting. Sometimes it feels very purposeful, almost like an angel sent to be near me during a certain struggle or period of life. 

Whether it be an actual season, a life season, a relationship, or just a feeling, I think the biggest part of this lesson for me is to acknowledge what I cannot control and force. "Don't force things to happen, don't prevent things from happening," my mom once said to me, certainly not suggesting we float through life aimlessly, rather that there is beauty and importance in surrendering to the inevitabilities of life. We will be much happier if we can move through the seasons gracefully--with fond farewells to what is passing and a clear-headed excitement for what lies ahead.

April 4, 2014

[12] 29 Lessons

Give yourself space.

This wasn't what I had scheduled for this week. In fact, this little lesson didn't even make the cut according to my editorial calendar.

But as I struggled to sit down and write--about anything, much less the next post for this series--I just felt suffocated. I didn't have it in me to tend to my blog this week, and so I took a step back. (I didn't use to do this, and I would obsess over it, which seems, frankly, insane now.)

Space isn't just necessary in blog writing. It's not just necessary in careers. It's not only a need of introverts, like me. Space is the break you give yourself when you need to relax. Space is the time to evaluate an emotion, a decision, or even yourself. Sometimes I need this space from work. Sometimes I need it from my kiddos--can I get an amen, mamas? I will even take some space from Trevor now and again, not insinuating that there's a problem, just because it's good to feel independent once in awhile. And if I'm feeling really crazy (which happens sometimes), I take space from myself! I'll turn on a movie or do something physical that removes the opportunity to sit in my own thoughts too long. 

I used to feel guilty about space. I used to think that it was a shortcoming of mine, to not be able to sustain continual interaction. But then I realized how good I feel when I come back. Space unclogs writer's block! It rejuvenates maternal instincts! It reignites a fire in your relationship! And space helps you put things in perspective.

This week, I needed space so I took it. But I felt it deserved to make this list since it's a thing I've matured into doing. It's really one of the most empowering lessons I've learned. 

March 31, 2014


I was glad for the kind of Sunday we had last Sunday. It was the kind of day to show them the sheer joy of running around and laying in the grass after church, not really worrying about the dirt on your dress. You can always wash it and hang it out to dry in the breeze in the end. 

Let the record show, I didn't stage those top two photos. They just saw me hold up my camera and that is what they did. Hams.