Creators

08.13.16

“The world doesn’t need another band, per se.  It doesn’t, strictly speaking, need another book or another photograph or another album.  The general world population will survive without one more stage production and one more gallery showing.  This is the thing, though:  you might not.  We create because we were made to create, having been made in the image of God, whose first role was Creator.  He was and is a million different things, but in the beginning, he was a creator.  That means something for us, I think.  We were made to be the things that he is:  forgivers, redeemers, second chance-givers, truth-tellers, hope-bringers.  And we were certainly, absolutely, made to be creators.”
   Shauna Niequist

Embarrassed

Embarrassment.

“What’s your most embarrassing moment?”

The classic ice-breaker question.

The one that makes me cringe because unlike most (so it seems to me at least) I don’t have one example of me floundering through the aisles of Target with ripped pants. My mind holds a million embarrassing, awkward, red-faced, “Can I cry yet?” moments that are not nearly as laughter-evoking as the former.

Embarrassed is a tricky emotion to describe.

I can remember stumbling over what it is when my Pre-K kids would ask.

I can also remember my Dad doing his best to explain it to me while waiting in line as a kid.

The memory must stand out to me because I knew the feeling all too well and now this word, this perfect word, made it all make sense.

“Oh, so this feeling I have is a real thing!”

08.10.16

I quit my job a month ago.

Not on a whim.
Not without thought.
Not without tears.

Looking back, it was a long-time coming.

I loved my job.

I loved my students.
I loved their families.
I loved my co-workers.
(Seriously, the Lord gifted me with those strong, kind, and wise women.  I cried on their shoulders many-a-time.)

And maybe this is hard to explain (And trust me, it was very hard to explain.) because it’s not that I disagree with early childhood education in itself.  I just don’t totally agree with the way we’re going about it.  And thinking into the future, it surely isn’t the way we want to raise our children.  I love your child a whole lot.  But not enough to leave my child with someone else to raise them.  Add in the factor that my salary would be equivalent to the cost of sending our child to said institution and it’s downright depressing.  I read this (“It Doesn’t Pay to be an Early-Childhood Teacher” ) and thought, “I’m not the only one recognizing this problem.” as well as, “Why did no one tell eighteen-year-old Rachel this?” Which in fact, they did.  Every time, “We’re not in in for the money.” was muttered – they were shouting it.  I just wasn’t paying attention.

This recognition has brought a flurry of insecurity, regret, confusion, and embarrassment.

I felt embarrassed about feeling so sure of my “calling” and passion.  I declared my major as an eighteen-year-old and did not change throughout my three and a half years of higher education. I have a piece of paper (somewhere) and three years of experience stating that I’m good. I’m qualified. But it’s not my passion.  I love kids, yes. And hope to have a houseful of them someday.  But teaching in a formal setting – not so much.

I feel insecure.  Because I don’t know what I want to do in life.  I have some ideas.  But they’re not so practical.

I feel regret.  Because each month a chunk of change pays for my nice piece of paper that states, “Early Childhood Education” while I punch the clock doing otherwise. I know that’s a wrong way to look at things.  That an education is so much more than a piece of paper.  But it doesn’t take the feeling away. Why do we entrust eighteen-year-olds to decide what they want to do with their lives?!

This month I’ve realized what I wish I would have realized as an eighteen-year-old.
(And will probably re-realize several times in my lifetime…)

That it’s ok to flounder.
To feel embarrassed.
To not know what you want your “career” to look like.

Things & Such // Vol. IV

Botanical Trees

Josh has fully recovered from gallbladder surgery. Turns out that’s why he was so sick while we were in Nashville a whole year ago.

This post about prayer.  And praying God’s Word. Plus, their waiting/adoption story is incredible.

I’m starting a new job on Monday and I’m pretty sure this is a necessity.

My doctor prescribed yoga for me for my leg pains and possibly because of my high Kleenex and “I’m sorry I cry so much.” usage.

Because of the job transition I’ve had the past two weekdays off.  It’s impressive what these quiet days can do to restore my body and soul.

When All Else is Unclear

I save a list of quotes that I read through from time to time.  Some of them I just can’t shake no matter how many times I’ve already read it.  This is one of them.

07.09.16

“We often presume that trust will dispel the confusion, illuminate the darkness, vanquish the uncertainty, and redeem the times. But the crowd of witnesses in Hebrews 11 testifies that this is not the case. Our trust does not bring final clarity to this earth. It does not still the chaos or dull the pain or provide a crutch. When all else is unclear, the heart of trust says, as Jesus did on the cross, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning)

Yep.

St.Louis2

Jeni’s, long walks and talks around neighborhoods, getting lost more than a few times, laughing until it physically hurts and singing at the top of our lungs in the car.

I have the sweetest friends.

Podcast Roll

Podcasts and I are no strangers.
It’s a running joke in our family that if a certain member mentions a podcast reference more than a few times in a day they have to add quarters to a hypothetical “Podcast Reference Jar”.  Dad is infamous for adding quarters by stating,  “Yesterday on Marketplace…”

Driving back and forth from college I would burn CDs with this church’s podcast before I knew how to download them on my iPod Nano.

Nowadays I listen while getting ready for work or doing chores around the house.  I am not an auditory learner so I’ve discovered that I can’t do podcasts with too much “heavy listening”.  Most of them are light, funny, and conversational. If I’m going to be jumping into something deep I would need a notebook and a pen.

June-2

My current favorites in order of obsession, mostly.

1. Question of the Day  Short, funny, enlightening.

2. Shailey & Katie – I stumbled upon this podcast through Instagram and have been laughing ever since.  Craziest part? They’re Springfield gals.

3. RELEVANT – This is a Saturday morning staple in the Morris household.  Sometimes I lack self-control and listen early.  Honestly, the first 30-45 minutes of round table style talking is my favorite and we usually stop listening for the interviews.

4. FiveThirtyEight Elections – This is one I was a bit obsessed with throughout the primaries (the other one is the NPR Politics one) but now they’re running a “Kitchen Table Politics” series that I’m really enjoying.

5. Invisibilia  – This is new on my list so I’ve only listened a few weeks but the topics have been very thought provoking so far.

6. Awesome Etiquette – This one annoys Josh the most.  And sometimes the hosts are so polite that it’s annoying.  But I find it interesting.  I was a kid who read etiquette books for fun though so keep that in mind.

7. Freakenomics – I’ve listened to this one for over 3 years and still can’t stop.

8. Modern Love – This isn’t a regular download for me but if I’m going for an evening walk with Millie it’s perfect.

9 . The RobCast  – Again, not a regular download, but every once in a while a series or interview guest will peak my interest.  Specifically:  Learning to Lament and Politics and Guns.

10. Serial – Yep.

Honorable Mentions:  Stuff You Should Know, The Art of Manliness, and The Influence Podcast.

 

What are you listening to these days?

One Thousand and Ninety Six Days

chicago1

Year three.

I look back with fondness over the last two years, swallowing my words about how sweet life is and then think, “Year three was just really, really hard.” As with most challenging years or seasons, it’s not just one thing that makes it hard.  It’s like the rain is pouring and it just won’t stop.

There were times I was consciously thankful to have Josh Morris by my side. Sitting on the couch next to me in silence as we both just sat silently after receiving painful news. Thinking, “No one coached us on how to walk through this.” Dragging the mattress into the living room to camp out with the TV after the doctor’s report came back and all I could do was cry. Every weeknight spent without my husband while he worked a job that helped pay the bills but drained him. All these things just kept coming.

All the while the “sweetness” of marriage we held onto through the first two years losing its luster.  The stress of life and circumstances crowding out the joyful celebration of just looking at each other.  Or just driving together with the windows down.

Leather is the traditional wedding gift for a third anniversary.  We aren’t cool enough to hold to those traditions.  But as I happened upon the list I couldn’t help but relate our tough year with the qualities of leather.

My Dad has a leather notebook cover. It’s customized with his initials on the front, closes perfectly, smells just like worn leather should, and slides right into your hands.  I can see it sitting on the floorboard in between the front seats of the minivan now. It holds notes, lists, and mail to be sent out.  As a little girl (with a weird passion for organization) I loved that notebook.  And one year for my birthday he gifted me with my very own.

But it wasn’t the same.

It had my initials on it but it gapped open instead of closing perfectly, smelled too much like leather, and didn’t slide right in my hands.  When I asked him why it wasn’t like his, he replied, “It takes time. The leather has to be broken in.”

Our marriage through years one and two was unmarked.  Smooth but not worn.

Some years will be sweet. Some will be hard. But the years added together are shaping us and by God’s grace weaving us together to be strong in love.

 

Chicago

Last weekend Josh had the privilege of being the best man in our good friend’s wedding.
They have a really precious and sweet love story.  Including us crashing their first date.
Which is clearly how they ended up together.

But really.  They’re made for each other.

Since we knew the wedding would be only a few hours from Chicago, we decided to plan a little getaway after the festivities.

And by plan we had a place to stay, train tickets, and a river tour booked.
The rest was whatever our spontaneous hearts desired.
Josh would also like to add that he planned on visiting Intelligentsia Coffee.
(Which we did.  Three times.)

We travelled by train which was new (and a bit outside of our “get in the car and go” comfort zone.) for us but we enjoyed every minute of it.  I loved sinking into the communal aspect of public transportation.  On our first train ride we sat behind two women in their fifties who had just been introduced as they took their seats but chatted like old friends (complimenting their attempts to “Go grey!” and sharing their love/hate relationship with Facebook) and two men just released from prison, en route to see their families. It was fascinating. I’ve felt this feeling one other time in my life and it’s really hard to explain.  Maybe I’m overanalyzing it? When the rich, middle-class, and poor are gathered together on a level playing field (i.e. Amtrak coach class, church gathering room) and can talk and relate and laugh as natural as can be. It’s beautiful.

Anyways.

On our first Chicago “L” train experience, while getting off at our stop, a man looked at us, smiled, and said, “Don’t worry, be happy.” He must have seen the (obvious) flustered looks on our faces while glancing down at our Google Maps and then up again at each other to confirm that this was in face the right stop, our luggage pulling our arms down as we shuffled to exit.  Maybe he was crazy and just says that to everyone.  Maybe he felt sorry for us.  But for whatever reason it stuck with me.  Don’t worry about messing everything up.  Just enjoy it.  And we did.  Soon we were tapping those Ventra cards like pros.

A few details:

Favorite Moment: Biking around the Uptown neighborhood and around the lake with Josh.

Moment I Wanted to Cry:  When no pie places were open on Memorial Day.  I had one prospective place and we took a one-way train to get there, got lost walking there.  And it was closed.  We ubered back.

My sister was a huge help in planning a few details for our trip. They’ve been there a few times and pointed us in the right direction for many things.  Plus, she’s a travel goddess.

We tried Airbnb for the first time and loved it.  Our place was quite a ways outside the downtown “loop” but we enjoyed biking and strolling the beautiful neighborhood and lakeshore and finding some local spots that were a bit less crowded.

Food:

Antique Taco – Hands down our favorite.  Unique but not too weird.  We sat outside and watched the trains roll by. We both had the sweet and spicy chicken tacos and I sipped an agua fresca.  It was delicious.

Wildberry –  Good. But a bit disappointing?  This was on the top of a lot of brunch lists downtown but was a little “meh” to me.

Shake Shack – We had to.  The fries were worth the hype.  The plain hot dog was delicious.  They served fruity lemonade.  Win. Win. Win.

Thai Aroma – We wandered in here while walking through our neighborhood.  We didn’t even consult Yelp.  We just walked in. So adventurous.

Drinks:

Intelligentsia Coffee – Like I said, we found ourselves here three times in two days.  Josh loved trying different brews while I enjoyed their pastries, grapefruit soda, and exceptionally good decaf lattes.

Do:

Divvy Bikes –  Take them everywhere. Josh used the CityMapper App to locate the pick up and return stalls.

Architecture River Cruise – I loved this. A good way to get a feel for the layout of the city and learn about the famous buildings that make up the Chicago skyline.

Millennium Park –  It was beautiful but packed when we went on Memorial Day.  Still, you have to. Plus, your husband will be thrilled as you point out all the buildings in the background that you learned about from your architecture tour.

Milwaukee Avenue Stroll – We walked down the busy street and popped into the shops along the way.

Reading List

The past few years I’ve leaned towards non-fiction books. But this year, I think after reading this, I dove head first into fiction. The rebel in me likes that it completely swerves from my original book list and each book is just a library reservation whim.

Tree Grows in Brooklyn

  1. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Goodness.  This book.  Trust me, just read it.
  2. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Ridiculous title, I know. I’m going to use the phrase, “Don’t jude a book by it’s title.” here. Quick and easy read with solid advice in just how to be a nice person basically.
  3. The Girl on the Train – This was an impulse iBook purchase that I could not stop reading.  Seriously addictive.
  4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – I believe this was suggested on a podcast I listen to and I am forever grateful for the suggestion. Francie Nolan truly stole my heart. I love a good coming of age story and even more when it’s set in the early 1900’s and in New York.
  5. All the Light We Cannot See – Everyone and their mother is reading this book.  This is one I’m listening to through Audible and am hopeful to finish it while on our trip.
  6. Brooklyn – After watching the film, I reserved this book at the library.  I have never really been a fan of reading the book after watching the movie but it’s so good.  The inner dialogue of the main character that you have to rely on inferences from the movie create a whole new experience.  I’ve already reserved a few of the author’s other works to hopefully have as a trip book.