I’ve spent the two weeks thinking about the future. It isn’t necessarily a “New Year’s Resolution” or even a “Word for the Year” kind of pondering. It’s more of a “what do I want to be” kind of processing.
2017 was hard. I spent a vast majority of social gatherings silently pleaded with everyone I met not to say, “Well, it could be worse!” Because life in the Tromp house always seemed to become worse.
But somewhere in the tears, exhaustion, and bracing myself for what would come next, I began to redefine a few things. Big things.
Like the words, “I’m blessed.”
Are there any two words more misused than “I’m blessed”?
I want to feel myself part of things, of the great drift and swirl: not cut off, missing things, like being sent to bed early as a child, the blinds being drawn while the sun and cheerful voices came through the chink from the garden. ~Sylvia Plath
This weekend my daughter and I went exploring. Not in the woods as we normally would, but dumpster diving in a car repair shop, my mom’s wood shop, and my clock repair man’s trash bin.
We were on a mission, looking for things that are one thing, but look like another—funky car parts that look like elkhorn coral, cogs that look like eyes, injector pieces that look like the mouth of a butterfly fish. She’s working on an art piece for a competition where “weird wins.”
And going out to play and discover felt oh so good.
There’s a reason this blog is called Beautiful. Ugly. Me. The last few months have been undeniably difficult, but here’s the thing. They’ve been beautiful, too…and I missed it.
I was flipping back through some of the photos from the last few weeks and am in awe of what I found. I’m overwhelmed by the fact that the inanimate lens of my iPhone picked up what I failed to see.
So I’m taking a moment to step back and remind myself, and hopefully you, that goodness is available for those with eyes to see. That if I’m patient, I’ll stop sabotaging myself and find what I’ve been looking for all along.
I have a confession to make. I adore a good superhero story.
Spiderman? Love it.
Dr. Strange? Down with it.
Frodo? Absolutely, completely in love.
And I can’t stop at story characters.
There’s something about real-life heroes like Florence Nightingale, Mother Theresa, C.S. Lewis, Rosa Parks, the former Marine I chatted with the other day, and a little girl I know who’s confined to a wheelchair who raised money to help the refugees in my town.
While all these heroes seem totally different from each other (and different from me and you), we ALL have one thing in common:
Hi all! I’m hanging out over at my friend Julie Dibble’s blog today. She’s an amazing woman of God…and we met on Twitter. True story. Anyway, Julie’s on vacation and needed a blog break. So I pulled an old blog post for her where my past self was preaching to my current self. Isn’t it amazing how often we need the SAME message. I trust you’ll enjoy the message again as well…
We’re coming up to the end of August, and my kids will soon be joining the ranks of bleary-eyed students returning to school. Summer is ending, and I’m not sure how I feel.
I don’t like endings.
I can’t quite see what’s coming next.
And my self-preservation kicks in screaming, “Run the other way, idiot!”
But as time ticks steadily down, it’s quite impossible to for us mere mortals sprint back up the time continuum.
I am, at my core, a storyteller. So it shouldn’t be surprising that I think we all have a story. We all have a family of origin. We all have some blend of disappointments and accomplishments, loves and hates, comforts and discomforts.
It explains why I still sometimes cringe away from someone moving a quick hand and love the smell of orange-spiced tea. It might explain why the sound of moving water comforts or frightens you. Why the smell of cherry pipe smoke makes you smile or spikes your heart rate.
A little over a year ago, I was walking through one of my favorite places—a local craft store—and picked up a book on Zentangles for my daughter. My girl has a distinct artistic bent, and I thought she’d have fun with these doodles.
Well, it wasn’t long until she was begging me to sit with her and try them.
“Babe,” I said. “I canNOT do those.” Big emphasis on the not.
But she persisted, batting her little girl eyelashes. So I sat my “haven’t had an art class since I was 12” self down to spend time with my girl. It was a decision based on the knowledge that it wouldn’t be long before I was too uncool to hang with the girls.