I know it’s still January, not just because I’m bundled under a down comforter wearing heart-printed knee socks, but, a few days ago I spent an hour watching snow fine and shimmery as glitter float down from a cloudless sky like so many misplaced promises.
I know it’s still January because everywhere I turn, people are talking about change. desperate for a fresh start and new mercies.
In my small town, all the world is white and I want some of it for myself. I want that light inside me, a brand new purity to wipe away all my tears and coat my soggy heart.
The trouble is, I'm not sure if an earlier bedtime or consuming mass quantities of kale is the answer. I’m not even sure “spending more time with family” or stubbornly resisting the pull of stress will wash me clean.
Life feels upside-down, and logic has taken a wonky lean to the left.
Twenty three days into my best intentions, I toss half the night when I should be sleeping. I quit my exercise class because something had to give, and relationships trump toned thighs. The kale wilts while I devour triple chocolate chip cookies with Pastor Josh, and just outside my window the ground winks up in the sunlight.
Something in me is resisting the idea of making big plans for 2015, or setting major goals. I haven't even picked a word. (I may still be working on one for last year.)
I'm a big picture person by nature. A list-maker. One of my favorite things to do is to daydream about the future. Daydreaming makes my soul feel free, like good things are still possible, or like maybe there's still a shred of control resting within my grasp. Still, over the past few years, my dreams keep changing shape. They shift when I'm standing still. They lose their edge while I sleep. The things I used to dream about are, for the most part, off my radar for the moment.
Back in the day things were different. Time was my own, now when I steal a quiet hour for myself I sneak off to get a hair cut or buy a new book. There are days it all seems right and there are others when the world seems desperately off-balance. I mourn those daydreams about a house at the beach. I know every life is complicated in its own way, but I look around sometimes and wonder what it's like to not worry about certain things. I used to live that, and now I can't even remember what it feels like. Not even a little bit.
The point of this isn't that I'm some kind of martyr or the Best Girl Ever, the point is, I worry every single day that I'm losing myself and the people I love.
The other point is, I'm over here feeling like I'm trying to climb out of my own body. It feels like spinning and rocketing then stopping on a dime. It feels lonely, sometimes. Painful, sometimes.
My life is still good, even though it wants to boss my schedule around. Yep. It wants to keep cramming appointments into an already packed datebook. It wants my days to feel so unmanageable that I impulsively turn my back to the room while I'm stirring marinara and say, out loud, "someone else, take the wheel." (That was an honest prayer I prayed Sunday and I wasn't even trying to be funny.)
I am trying to build myself back up in ways that reflect more goodness, less self-pity and ego, less sack cloth and ashes to be sacrificed on the alter of Much Better Things That are Lost Forever.
But I was kind of crazy about my life and my ways.
I sorta always want to stay a free spirit.
Being a free spirit is the essence of who I am, so I guard it like the Hope diamond.
My wild heart is the source of my creativity, it's the thing that keeps me from fleeing life when it feels too scratchy and hard.
These days, I'm paying attention to what I need and when and where I can find it. I'm doing more listening, less talking. I'm giving myself permission to regroup in necessary ways, and discovering the path to regrouping is to simply Be.
It turns out, that the economy of Always Enough applies even to me.
I can spend and keep spending my life for the sake of all others, but at some point the best service I can offer is to lock my door and read a magazine.
So, here's what I know right now. I know my house is quiet for the next hour, after which it will be Game Freaking On for the rest of the day/weekend/oh-my-gosh-Monday-is-a-holiday (oh wait that was last week!).
So I will spend this hour well.
I will wear it out.
That's honestly the extent of what I know.
So, my plans for today already include some angst/drama/inconvenience/stress. It's already packed with everything I need to keep running round in circles. The bad news is, I would have chosen differently. The good news is, I'm learning to trust this way more.
Life promises our plans are folly in the light of day. It can be gentle sometimes, but it’s January, and there will be fire if need be. The sky will burn, oceans will drain, and once again I will be knocked to my knees if that’s what it takes for me to hear over the drone of green smoothie recipes and enticing sales at anthropologie. None of that can ever make me new. I will make my plans, but God has been ordering my days in the weirdest ways. I will follow the purity and truth even when it falls like misplaced promises, and I know for sure it’s this the path that will make me stronger.
3 lbs Granny Smith apples (about 6-8 apples) peeled and sliced (No substitutions on apple variety or the pieke will be too sweet)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 tablespoons butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
- Heat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 glass baking dish with butter. Add the sliced apples, 1 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Stir to combine and spread evenly across the bottom of the pan. Slice 1 tablespoon of butter into small pieces and dot evenly over the top of the apple mixture.
- In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, combine remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 8 tablespoons butter until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at at time, until mixture is smooth. Beat in the flour just until combined. (The batter will be stiff) Spoon batter evenly over apples and spread so that the apples are covered.
- Bake 30 minutes or until top is browned. Cool 15 -20 minutes before serving. Can also be chilled at room temperature or cold.