April 23, 2014

Fine Farewell Yard Sale

Well, the countdown is getting smaller, and I've been busy this week emptying my house of its contents either into boxes or into a loving new home. Moving across the country takes some major downsizing, but I really do love any chance to purge. The first purge is trash, really. The second makes space. And the third purge? That's painful!

But that's good for you, because if you're in the area, you should stop by our yard sale on Saturday! Since I made it to and through the painful purge, we are actually selling off a lot of cute stuff. I have a few furniture items left (an antique dresser, a tri-fold partition, some bookshelves), and there will be lots of home decor (vases! picture frames! all my brass candle holders!) and clothing options (men's and women's alike!), not to mention a plethora of baby clothing (and some gear!) that I forced myself to unload. 

We'll be hanging out on our front lawn on Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. and would love to say goodbye to you! If you don't know where we live, feel free to contact me (you can use the email form in the sidebar!) for directions.

*Also. For those wondering, Roscoe will not be moving to New York with us. He simply would not be happy cooped up in Bed-Stuy, and really I couldn't handle taking care of him there. I'd love to see him go to a loving home with space to run, or at least to live with people who are caring and active. He is a beautiful, fiercely loyal dog, and when he's exercised and "given jobs," he's just the best there is. Let me know if you or a good friend are interested.

April 21, 2014

On Sunrises and "How I'm Feeling"

With pretty much everyone well-informed on what's happening now, I'm getting a lot of questions about how I'm feeling. And it is just so lovely to be cared for, though I honestly haven't been doing a very good job answering this question. It's safe to say, I'm feeling everything in the face of this adventure. I'm trying to take it all in stride and just let the emotions come as they will. 

A month or so ago, after we'd gotten the news, I left for a trip to the city that I'd had planned for months. I was going for work of my own, mainly; though it all felt different boarding a plane for what was to be my future home, not just some place I visited and romanticized over and where my friends lived. Oh, how I've longed to live in New York City--for as long as I can remember! For as long as my mom can remember! And isn't it a funny thing when your lifelong dreams suddenly materialize into realities?

All that to say, I think to better answer "how I'm feeling," I'll just share what I wrote on the plane that morning. It's a bit long (it's a long flight, guys), and it's a bit scattered (I'm a processor when I journal); but I think it gets to the heart of how I really feel and what this all means. Thanks for all your support and well-wishing! I'm excited to keep sharing our adventures with you.

Here I sit, floating above the clouds and an icy patchwork quilt below me, flying headstrong into the sunrise and the start of a new day flooding it all in rose colored light. All things are made new, and that's easy to see from up above and looking down on an earth that is actually so small. When you're moving this quickly but with this much perspective, it is like you're actually traveling in slow motion. And I like that it seems slow, because I am overwhelmed with this moment, a point in time that, for whatever reason, I'm able to remember and see and love that I am here and human and alive. I'm experiencing a gift, right now this very minute, and really can every day too, if I pay attention.

The whole horizon is a rainbow now, like I'm being encircled by a promise--it is before me and behind me and buffering me in hope and opportunity and peace on all sides. It is a big and maybe even uncertain promise, but who could be frightened by something so beautiful? Seek, seek, seek and move in confidence. As sure as the sun rises to reveal a new day, our souls can be refreshed and revived, changed and redirected--that's what I can see from up here. 

This is what it looks like when you start over, when you're fresh-faced and rosy cheeked, just like you too are soaked in that unmistakable rising light that greets with a faithful glow. A sunrise is really a fleeting moment: Orange for just minutes before giving way to a bright and illuminating light. Not everything is visible, but it all feels warm on the brink. Then things are clearer in the full sunlight. 

Still, that crack of dawn! What a delicious glimpse of how beautiful anticipation can be. We don't see it all yet, but the horizon glimmers while a dark night lingers behind.

The sun beckons East, beckons us into that fleeting moment where it begins.
The sun beckons East.

They are the seconds in between, and they are full of tension. There are no real footholds. There is nothing yet tangible. Still it's graceful, like floating in this airplane. It's a freedom from all things past and future and it's like only dreaming. It's a twinkling in-between that is a pause, a rest, a reminder to consider all things.

Now life beckons East. 


I wanted desperately to be wholly happy in Denver. But my soul kept stirring and then stirring turned to want for something else. I fought my discontent like it was a character flaw, all the while dissatisfaction growing in me--not because this isn't a paradise on earth but because maybe it is not my paradise. So instead I moved against my sort of natural grain, corrupting where I was and also what I had once dreamed of.

Then suddenly! Here we are being given something new--here we go, away! Away we go. How could I be sad? But I am not just sad; I am crushed and heartbroken, disappointed in myself. Finally, after all that desiring for it, everything I had to admonish "Be enough!" is instantly so full of life and meaning. And now I have to let it all go. Still, as important as it has become now (as it always has been), the fact remains that something in me feels it is not enough. At least not right now. And somehow, from this position, I can love those beautiful bright spots in my life again for exactly what they are while I await what is coming. They are no longer jaded with the sun rising ahead of me. 

Somewhere over the course of flying through these hot pink clouds, I realized: It's okay to be sad. It is good to be sad, and I should experience that sadness in full. It's the very thing that is granting meaning, and I really can enjoy everything from here. These few weeks are my sunrise moments. They are my chance to be and soak in everything--like a rosy light flooding and warming me. There is exciting adventure ahead! And the sadness behind is so, so very rich, brought on by the incredible love of family and friends, and all the little makings of this life we have started together. Denver was the birthplace in so many ways--even some literal--and now I can thank it for all it's created in my life rather than struggle against my unsettled spirit. 

When I get back from this trip, things will be put in motion. The middle ground will become less and less a sunrise and more and more the complete start of a new day. We will be shedding layers, deeper and deeper until we are scrubbed clean enough to start again. Some of it will be freeing; and some of it will be almost unbearable. Because there are pieces of my life here that did come so naturally, as much as I think I knew this might not be the place for me right now. We will bid farewells and sell possessions and pass along that lovely little bungalow, our home, to someone else needing the same start that we did just a few years back, and I will do all those things with an immensely heavy heart.

But it is right. I know it is.

All in all, it makes me think of this poem that I wrote ages ago, because though the destination reads differently, the spirit does not. He made this happen for me. He saw my dream and not only brought it to life, he made it his dream too. Now this is our adventure. It's us taking on the world, lying awake at night and making plans in scared and excited whispers. We will watch our girls blossom from something new; but always we will remember that it was ours before it was anyone else's. It was something we thought and then dreamed and then saw fall into place, and we can marvel together that we will be living out what was once only real in our minds. 

"Our love won't change,
So we'll be the same.
Just in a different place with a different name."

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.