Skin Care, with FOOD!

This stuff makes me happy, happy, happy.

I have funny skin. Funny as in it just doesn’t want to pick one skin type! Dry around the mouth, black heads & oil in the ‘T-zone’. For years I’ve tried product after product without success; if it targets oily skin it dries the rest of my face out, if it targets dry skin I’ll break out, if it’s for combination skin it will do nothing for me. Anything any friend suggested I’d give a try & every time I would be disappointed! Meanwhile I was still trying to remove chemical ridden products from the rest of my life, examining ingredients lists & ruling out even most “natural” or “organic” items due to long lists of things I couldn’t pronounce or chemical preservatives & “fragrances”. The biggest exception in this lifestyle change was my face. When I found a face wash & a lotion that both “kind of” worked, I just stuck with them, purposely ignoring the label. I didn’t know what else to do & was tired of wasting money on products that didn’t work.

Fortunately, something magical happened to my life when I met Pinterest, it was like we were made for each other. Pinterest just gets me! Ok I’m done…..but really….Pinterest is wonderful. Anyway I started to see all of these pins about using everyday items found in your kitchen on your face & what sort of modern hippie would I be if I didn’t leap for joy at the chance to rub banana peels on my chin for 5 minutes at a time, three times a day??? **Actually I really found the banana peel thing to be massively tedious & couldn’t bring myself to do it enough to see any results. If this has worked for you, let me know. Maaaaybe I’ll give it another shot.** After trying a number of other ridiculous things….I have found a simple 3 step skin care routine that 1) WORKS for me & 2) I like enough to ACTUALLY do every night. Those are two big points people. I take no credit for this regime, so I will happily give links to the different pages where I found the info along with credit where it’s due.

At this point I feel like you can only still be reading because you’re either super excited to rub Honey on your skin or your morbid curiosity is forcing you forward so that you can gain information to mock me with later. Either way, here’s the list with links!

  • 2 Ingredient Makeup Remover (I only use on my eyes): Jojoba & Vitamin E! Prior to this I used Coconut Oil which worked but had issues. It never seemed to go away, so I’d take off my mascara at night, wash my face, get up the next day & reapply make up. But I felt like my waterproof mascara would “bleed” throughout the day. I’d glance in the mirror & there would be a little bit of black under my eye, like the Oil was still at work. Jojoba oil doesn’t do that.
  • Honey Face Wash – Oh yes. Pure, raw, organic unfiltered, unheated, sticky goodness. Oh yes, it does sound gross & yes, I am serious. The good news is, it’s really not gross! In the link above ‘Bohemian Kate’ explains that you do first, wet your face as usual, & then apply the honey.
    • I don’t use any more than about 3/4 a tsp on my whole face, & once it touches my wet skin it really does kind of dissolve. I rub it around real good just like a normal face wash, & then I rinse it off with coldish water. *Insert face wash ad with girl flinging tons of sparkling water on her face, somehow that’s what my counter always looks like when I’m done*
    • I have found it helpful to wear a head band (like the thick sporty cloth ones) when washing my face, it keeps my hair out of the honey & the honey out of my hair! The head band can get a little sticky but if so, I just wash it in the sink, hang it up & let it dry to use again.
    • It’s really important that you’re using raw honey, not the stuff that comes in the cheap honey bear at your local super market. ‘Bohemian Kate’ has a link in her article to another post detailing the glories & benefits of raw honey
    • No my face is NOT sticky when I’m done! It’s actually quite soft!
  • 2 Ingredient MoisturizerCoconut oil and Tea Tree Oil! As stated before, I have probs with CO messing with my eye makeup so I keep this away from my eyes, also because I can’t imagine the burn of Tea Tree in the eye *shudders in fear*. I used to moisturize with JUST CO but found that too greasy. I also have used Tea Tree in the past as a toner/astringent & it was way too drying, but a little bit of both works together wonderfully – they are antiseptic & antibacterial, will reduce redness & can dry out pimples while moisturizing! I scoop a little bit of CO into my palm with one finger(less than a tsp), add 1, single drop of Tea tree to it, then swish it around with my finger till it’s all melted & mixed. Usually that is enough for my face, neck & chest. Be mindful to not put too much on your face though, as again, that can leave your skin feeling greasy.

Ta-Da! That’s it! I’ve been using this routine for over a month & I’m noticing real improvement in my skin. I mentioned it to my hair dresser and yes, like you, she also thought it a little strange that I’m washing with honey. BUT! Skeptical as she was she did say that she had noticed my skin condition was improving before I had mentioned it to her. That is a good thing to hear from someone who has to be all up close & personal with your details.

A couple of tips

  • When you get Ketchup or jelly or honey at some restaurants or hotels they come in tiny glass jars. Keep those. Because they’re really small & cute, but ALSO because you can wash them out & reuse them! I use these to hold my eye make up remover & CO in, thus saving space in my bathroom cabinet.
  • I am currently using Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil, which is a total game changer if you ask me. It’s cray expensive, but you can save money by buying in bulk. I signed up for their newsletter & wait until they have sale prices for bulk orders, then I get people to jump in & split a 5 gallon bucket with me. It’s glorious. I may have a blog post coming up with all the ways I use CO.
  • All of my Essential Oils come from DoTerra. I do not recommend using EO’s unless you know they are pure (sorry Whole Foods, HyVee and Trader Joes!). If you do not have a local EO representative who can explain the need & benefit of pure oils, or a way to purchase them, please feel free to contact Katrina Bocanegra through her DoTerra page. She’s awesome and would love to help you

Soul Mates & Snow Storms

I read a blog post today that was written by an old friend from high school. (Wait – did I just say that? “An old friend from high school?” am I old enough to make those statements??) In it she spoke of the HEART behind those who move to Southern California. She recalls the way that the sand and the ocean and the sky over both steal you away and ended with,

California, you’re my soul mate.

I read it and thought, woah, me too.

I love it, I love the food and the people, I love the perpetual sun sun sun, that’s like joy and peace resting on your skin. You close your eyes and it washes over your face – warmth and HOPE. I love all of the people who ARE Southern California to me and how they represent the essence of being received, being brought into a people and a place that are not your own and for no reason, made a part of it, brought in and given what you have not earned. I love the sand. Love the food, OH the food! The fresh fruits and avocados and Froyo and sushi and tacos just everywhere. 

The Ocean. Sand that sparkles like glitter and bare feet pressing in, leaving momentary impressions that warm you from the toes up. The sound of the unstoppable waves, the birds and the far off dolphins. There is nothing like that endless, eternal sound of the water slapping the sparkling shore, washing away the prints of the vagabonds walking in it’s currents, leaving blank canvases again and again and again.

What else can I say? California completes me. 

But then…….there is the glory of the Midwest blizzard. Here’s the thing, I adore the snow. The excitement of the impending storm and the brooding clouds hanging lower and lower until they burst forth with pure, unexplainable magic. Each droplet frozen into unique, exquisite, breathtaking flakes of the purest crystal white, taking the dark, dead landscape and covering it; transforming it. The sun rises and everything you see is new; crisp, clean, unadulterated and shining. It’s magic. Cold, frozen, sparkly magic. As a child I loved to throw myself into a giant mound of it and have to dig my way out, pausing when tired and FEELING the immense stillness, that quiet that comes with the snow, it’s like quiet down into your soul.

I love snow ice cream, making snow angels, building snowmen, staging snow ball wars, going sledding. I’m not afraid to drive in the snow and I don’t even really mind shoveling the snow. Ok, I don’t mind the IDEA of shoveling the snow, but that probably begins my problem because here’s the thing, I hate to be cold.

I’m small! There’s nothing I can do about that, and it’s like no matter how many pairs of long johns and smartwool socks I stack on, I’m just going to be cold from October to March. And the shoveling, I attack it with layered zeal, but like everything else in life, lose my steam long before the project is over. Again, I’m small! ………but have a big heart?

Yeah, that doesn’t really help. My idealism and raw excitement before each snowstorm doesn’t even compare to the deep, deep groan in my soul that comes mid-way through shoveling the driveway. And so I ask myself on a regular basis why the heck I have not moved to SoCal yet. The only answer I can really lay hold of is how much I love the 4 seasons, but with each passing year that answer is losing it’s grip. If I’m going to survive by filling up my heart with all too brief, summer San Diego visits….well, I may need to buy a snow blower.

 

Tiny Green Thread

I find myself on Sunday evenings with a few teenager girls in my living room talking. We discuss things like how to make time to be with the Lord every day, boys, honoring parents/authority & I am realizing that though the life I lived at 16 is light years different than the life that they live,  some of the battles they face are the exact same ones I fight day to day. Relevance, Spirituality, Humility, Gratefulness, Peace, Honor & Dreams. We wage the same wars. This last week we read together out of John 3 about the pain that John the Baptist fought to express to his disciples as Jesus came to John’s side of the river, taking His rightful place…..right out of the hands of His friend.

“He must increase, and I must decrease”. And anyone who’s experienced the reality of those words knows how painful & how confusing they are. When that is the only thing that you can say as a dream dies, as something you planned for goes terribly different, when all you can do is open your hands & let Him take what you so want to fight to keep. When looking up from the broken pieces of misunderstanding & having no clue what comes next….. you can choose to let His voice be your joy. 

The Friend of the Bridegroom rejoices when he hears His voice, knowing that his task is now complete. We can rejoice in His voice when we don’t know where He leads. We can rejoice in His voice when He steps in & takes all we’ve worked for. We can rejoice …….. or we can not. It’s basically that simple. We can choose to trust God when God looks the most untrustworthy, or we can not. As I spoke I watched sadness, sobriety & even fear play upon the faces of these girls who I love & I know their confusion & I know their fear. I know their hope that God would never allow their plans to go any other route than the one they are carefully dreaming. But I know my story. It’s a mess, a chaotic mess, but I believe that God still makes beauty from ashes. If there is anything I have to offer young people it is the lessons I’m slowly learning as I walk through this crazy, beautiful, ashy mess about how to put my trust in Jesus, how to believe He is good in the taking, in the breaking of dreams, in the “killing of churches” as Randy Bohlender put it (Seriously, do yourself a favor and read his book ‘Jesus killed my Church‘).

So I shared with them this story:

Last week was what looks to be, the last week of hot weather that Kansas City will be seeing in 2013. I’ve been trying to dress the girls in their cutest summer clothes knowing that the warmth was running out & that they won’t fit in these close when it’s warm again. Friday I put them in these outrageously girly white dresses, complete with layers of ruffled, sequined green detail with on giant green, sparkly flower on the shoulder. As I pulled the outfits from the closet I considered that I may spend the entire day trying to keep the sequins out of their mouths, but it’s the most impractical baby clothes that are too cute to resist.

Hours later after a day of fusses, fits, multiple time outs & a refused nap I tiredly paced the living room with Baby 2 in my aching arms. She hits a point of frustration that only quiets if you hold her & responds with LOUD outrage when put down, which at that point, I did. I too was tired, frustrated & cranky. Out of desperation I collapsed on the couch, setting her at my feet to which she responded with heartfelt wailing. 

I buried my face in my hands, prepping for some minutes of loud protesting which began & instantly stopped. I quickly looked up to make sure she wasn’t hurt. She sat peering intently at the layers of ruffle & sequin piled around her. For some time she sat still,  until slowly with one finger she reached down towards the bottom of her dress. Somewhere among the multiple layers of cloth, on one single hemline, almost completely hidden by a bajillion sparkles there was one tiny piece of thread poking off the dress.

By tiny I mean less than a quarter of an inch. It was the exact same color as the rest green on the dress. It was IMPOSSIBLE for the baby to have seen it, but she did. With wonder she lightly touched it over & over with the tip of one finger. I released my pent up emotions in a long sigh and said “Baby, you pay such attention to detail.”

And in my spirit I heard the Lord say “I pay attention to the details.”

It’s funny how quickly you can find yourself in tears. Ok maybe not you, and maybe it’s not even funny because everyone knows I’m a deeply emotional little creature, but it was just like that. From frustrated & hard to Instantly tender heart, instantly teary eyes, instant affirmation that I am SEEN & KNOWN & so cared for. For the next few days I heard it like a gentle echo inside ” I pay attention to the details”, as the moments of my day slipped by. Moments that I didn’t think mattered, choices that I didn’t think matter, responses that I didn’t think mattered just suddenly did. You’re much more aware when you know that you are seen. 

The problems aren’t solved, the questions aren’t necessarily answered but there is real comfort in trusting God enough to let go and give Him what matters when you know that He see’s. 

Surrender

Mid Summer: Stretching

Late Summer: Painful

This Fall: Crazy

Katrina & I are helping with one of her past co-workers weddings this upcoming Saturday. Of all the weddings I have participated in or helped with, this one has proven to be the most challenging in the details. Unimaginable, absolutely ludicrous hurdles have presented themselves time & time again. As frustrating as that has been I feel that I have a decent grasp on things should we ever co-ordinate another KC wedding. For real, I could write angry blog posts about 4 different rental companies as well as a bakery and…..I’m going to leave it alone.

Adding to the crazy has been a month or two of growing trouble with the twins who I Nanny for. 1) I adore these little girls 2) This job & my employers are a constant, wonderful blessing in my life but 3) Teething x2 is just not for the faint of heart. Together, they alternately refuse to eat, refuse to sleep, or refuse to be comforted. Baby 1 does something naughty; I tell her ‘No’. Baby 2 responds by running to go do the exact same thing that Baby 1 was just chastised for. Baby 2 has taken up biting Baby 1 as a response to all frustration; when a toy is grabbed from her hand, when she is unintentionally knocked over, when I am holding Baby 1 & Baby 2 wants affection – biting. Just so much hair pulling & biting. When Baby 1 is having a hard day she tends to express it by following Baby 2 around the room, taking from her whatever toy or item she decides to play with, that is until she is bitten. And then there are just the days where both babies have diaper rash, teeth coming in & no matter what I do they are going to take turns crying or throwing tantrums every minute that they are not asleep.

Top it off with my recent decision to go to college & the flurry that has come with trying to get in late on the current semester. There are things I never wanted to learn about. Such as – how much college textbooks cost, how many THOUSANDS of scholarships there are to apply to, what the EFC actually means & just how many years of my life I’ll be require to work a night job to pay off tuition at the University I set my heart on. These are just a few of the items on the growing list of “Reasons I never wanted to get a degree”. At the same time, I’m beyond excited. It’s just been a bit of an overwhelming blur trying to figure out how to make this exciting thing actually happen.

Yesterday was the kind of whirlwind that sums up my current flavor of crazy. I woke feeling yucky; congestion, cough, sore throat, back ache, head ache, puffy eyes – you name it. I stumbled to the bathroom thankful for a full nights sleep, but was hurried out by a roommate who had to leave soon. Oh the beauty of communal living! We learn to serve by prioritizing needs & schedules. After a brief break I finished my morning routine & was quickly out the door to watch the twin boys who claim my Wednesdays. Walking in the door of the house I promptly spilled almost my entire cup of coffee. On the carpet. Coffee that I REALLY wanted to drink. Insert twin BOY drama, nap refusal complete with blood curdling screams which woke the other meaning one baby down one tired baby awake & no break for the nanny. Tired baby fusses, a nanny spilling, dropping & knocking over everything possible…all…day…long.

An hour before leaving I get a message that the friend whose child I’m watching in the evening needs me to come early, as in, as soon as I leave the twins. Getting off I drove home pushing the speed limit to grab food & jump straight back into the car. The night went smoothly, as smooth as it could with my continued dropping everything, leaving doors open & making generally every mistake I could. Insert text message – the parents event didn’t go as expected meaning they will return an hour later than planned.

Yes, this fits with the day.

I came home really, really tired. Walking in the door I tried to objectively go over the list of things I had hoped to do throughout the day that hadn’t been accomplished due to baby crazy while looking to no avail for my blasted goldfish food. HOW DO YOU LOSE GOLDFISH FOOD WHEN YOU USE IT EVERYDAY??????

And that is when I stopped, with a tired sigh I just sat down & stopped. My devo yesterday talked about the dangers of complaining & the freedom from burdens that comes when we take all of our thoughts to our Heavenly Father.

Whenever you are tempted to grumble, come to Me and talk it out. As you open up to Me, I will put my thoughts in your mind and My song in your heart. – Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

So I pulled out some mixing bowls & talked it all out of myself while baking a mess of crunchy chocolate goodness. By the time I pushed the pan into the oven the flow of cares & burdens had stopped, but rolling over gently in my mind sang a simply melodious line from a song called “Surrender” from my friend John Scott Young‘s debut album. It just says “I surrender all to You”.

Again. Again. Again. Again. We just have to hear what we already know, what we truly believe, how we want to live, we have to hear it again, we have to say it again. Over & over & over because follow through is SO HARD. Last night I did it, I laid all the burdens down, baking & praying instead of “doing” anything. Jesus loves us so much, even when we don’t do anything.

Smooth Paths

July of 2012 I was coming to a close of the season of living alone in The Southern Lady’s house, looking for new housing, new employment to provide for my continuing in the House of Prayer in Fredericksburg & in general, desperate for some MAJOR encouragement from the Lord.

The week of my birthday has ALWAYS been hard, and that year was no exception. The day before I found myself alone, siting outside a local coffee shop sipping a latte & reading Isaiah. For some years now I’ve followed the example of some wise teachers & starting birthday week will for a year pray the chapter in Isaiah & the Psalms that corresponds with that years birthday.

As I came to chapter 26, my heart leapt to grab onto hope that God would come through for me in all of my needs.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts you. Trust in the Lord forever for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.

I closed my eyes & breathed it. Read again, whispered it, held the words inside till tears sprang to my eyes & I gave them back with a desperate plea of “be my Rock”.
Read on,

The path of the righteous is level; O Upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth….

Lord, you establish peace for us

Stop, read again. Sit. Open to Psalm 26,

I have trusted in the Lord without wavering

My feet stand on level ground

These two chapters, whispered in desperation as prayer back to the Lord, to be what He says, to make level paths for my feet. As I stood up to leave I noticed a sign in the window of the vintage boutique next door, stating that they would only be open upon appointment due to the owners busy schedule. I had always loved the store. Without second thought & I whispered another “Lord, make my path smooth” & dialed the number leaving a message asking the owner if she would hire me to run her store.

This began a series of funny phone calls & my brief, yet wonderful employment for Joni Ulman Lewis at Visual Treats. She loved my tiny dog and let me bring her to the shop with me when I worked. Joni would come in and Honey would run to greet her at the door, then happily follow her upstairs to joyfully receive scraps from Joni’s lunch. I will always look back at that tiny store with its unfaithful heater, squeaky wooden stairs & musty smell with a deep sense of gratitude. It was my down payment, a continual undeniable sign that the Lord was going before me, smoothing out the road, preparing my steps, resolving the problems.

Looking back over the past two years I can’t deny it. Even with the whirlwind of events, 26 was a year of seeing the path being smoothed, coming into greater levels of heart healing, walking into deeper places of knowing peace & being still. It’s funny how the Lord will answer the prayers we pray faithfully, forever marking them in our hearts.  Smooth paths, O Lord, place smooth paths beneath our feet. Places where our feet may land firmly and without doubt as we follow You. Places we can’t forget, like stones of remembrances set up as stories to tell those who come after us so that all may declare Your faithfulness.

To see like You

The Summer of 2006. I had finished 2 tracks of the Fire In the Night internship at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City and made the decision to move there and go on staff with the ministry. However, my parents were in need of help around their property that summer, so I headed back to the Omaha area to work a summer job and to be with my family. 

During those few short months I sought to serve the church that they were attending, and the greatest need that they had over the summer was for someone to lead the Wednesday night Children’s program. Insert 19 year old, vivacious, passionate me and about 10 children ranging in age from 6 -12. It was an interesting program.

We played games, had snacks, and in the simplest way that I could communicate, we talked about prayer, lifestyles based in the bible, radical devotion to Christ, and had a prayer and worship time every week. All that I can say about the short time that I spent with those children is that every single one of us was on a fast-track to collide with God that summer. He had all of us set up to meet Him, together. All that they needed was for someone to tell them that He wanted to speak to them for them to utterly believe it, and all that I needed was to see it happen in the lives of children, for me to believe it.

And we all did. They began to have powerful dreams where the Lord revealed His word in prophetic images that only an 8 year old would understand. They began to really fellowship with the Holy Spirit and learn to be His friend, and to let Him be their friend. They began to truly receive burdens from the Lord in the place of prayer, in ways that I never could have imparted to them, or convinced them to care and feel about. It changed my life in the most powerful way. 

Among that group of children were 3 siblings whose family had recently moved back to the area after spending some time in the South where their father was a part of the massive clean up project left from Hurricane Katrina. During that time the family had regularly attending the Ramp and the parents were being very impacted by the ministry, as well as the children. They arrived in my Wednesday night group, Hungry to meet with God and were SUCH an encouragement to my heart!

Over the years I tried to stay in touch with the family, visiting them when I was in town and giving time in phone calls every few months. My heart was knit together with the parents and just in love with the 3 children. Since then the family has relocated to KC and now, they are no longer children. The oldest recently enlisted with the Navy, the youngest is taller than me and can drive, and I can’t fathom how that’s even possible. 

This week I took the mom and daughter, Lucy and Emily, to one of my favorite local joints – an all natural snow cone place called Little Freshie. It was my first real connect with them in over 3 years and we all soaked up the time. At one point, Lucy looked at me with tears in her eyes and began to tell me how that summer had affected their family. It’s amazing to me when I look back and see myself, so weak, so young, and with so little knowledge of things that I was saying, and see how God used me and my weak messages. He is so faithful to us! All three of us cried and I listened in wonder. When she was done Emily looked at me and said,

Nobody saw us the way that you did. Nobody believed in us like you. And that meant so much, it changed us. Thank you for believing in us.

Those words have rung in my ears all week. The unfortunate truth is that I’ve been in youth ministry long enough to learn how to peg teens early on, label them in my mind, treat them through that label, and at times, write them off. Not all the time, and not dramatically. I love teens and I love youth ministry, but it happens internally and I have felt it at times, and felt the effect of it in the way that I minister. Honestly, it hinders the love of God flowing through me. I’ve been so moved this week considering that statement, repenting to the Lord for the times that I can remember where I chose not to see a teenager or young adult the way that God does, I chose not to hope all things for them, not to believe all things, not to believe IN them. 

I want to be a woman who loves like the Father, a friend who loves like the Father, a youth minister who loves like the Father. And this week I’ve been praying this over my heart, over the youth ministries in KC and in America, and over the Pastors of the church of America.  I’ve been praying that the Lord would raise up Shepherds who would look at the flock the way that Jesus does, to see the people as the Bride of Christ. To see the youth who are floundering in this nation, and to be moved with compassion. To believe in them. 

“Nobody saw us the way that you did.” I am thankful for that powerful testimony from my teens, but I want to always see like Jesus.

Missing Miah, Round Two

Pre-East Coast move I probably talked to him a couple times a month. Post move, every couple of months. Since his sudden passing, I wish I could talk to him on average several times a week.

We’re so like sheep. Just walking out our daily routine: food, water, sleep. Never thinking that the routine, all that is daily & hourly taken for granted would every change. Never thinking that the people in our lives, the people that make up our lives, would ever be gone.

I’ve come to believe that who we are as individuals is largely composed of the effect of the people whom we love and the people who love us. Like it or not, like them or not, the people in our lives mold us.

I was so broken at the idea of how the lack of him in my life could change me. I was afraid that the effect that he had made in me would slowly fade away, afraid that as the years passed I would forget him. But I haven’t. So much of KC reminds me of him.

And it’s not just Miah, it’s all of “those that have gone before”. I feel the pain of the missing, the ache of the longing for the ones I love that I can’t see, touch or talk to. In the stillness of remembering I find myself regularly composing letters to them in my mind.

As I fill the bird feeders around my house I think of my grandpa and unintentionally it starts,

Dear Grandpa, my bird feeder collection is starting to rival yours. Does it make you glad to see me feeding the birds….

A Friday night will roll around and I have no plans, and I remember when Jeremy left and I so needed a brother. On those sad Friday nights I’d call Miah and he’d take me to coffee or dinner. Once, after telling him a story of a weird encounter with a man in an airport he grabbed my phone, took a picture of himself flexing and said, “There, when you travel make that picture the background on your phone and tell all the creeps that you have a boyfriend!” That picture brought so much laughter every time I stumbled across it. Driving home from work I whisper,

Dear Miah, thank you for loving me so well…..

The lawn mower breaks down…. again… And with a deep sigh I look to the heavens and it begins,

Dear Bob, when you were alive I always had a working lawn mower…..

Changes are coming. My little weary squeezes at the changes that I know about that are around the corner, and fears the things I have yet to know. I take deep breaths and thank the Lord for the years, the time in KC where so many of the friends and people whom I love live less than 5 minutes away, and I grieve them as they leave. With each move, each friend that suddenly becomes distant the view of my life just as suddenly changes and I wonder how long the old normal that has become normal again, will stay.

I wonder how long I will stay. How long will I live on my parents property, in the house my Daddy fixed for me? How long will I live with my sister and BIL? I’ve been working and working the property to make it beautiful again and each day I wonder, am I doing this for myself or will someone else be one to enjoy it?

The questions, the pain in the missing, it would utterly overwhelm but for the anchor in my soul. The hope, of life that never dies, of love that never ends. The hope in know that each day brings me closer to the City, the New Jerusalem, the home that never changes, the life where there is no missing. Can you imagine? Just stop for a second! Take a deep breathe, push the crowding thoughts away, and for a moment just allow yourself to image. Life. Lived to the fullest. No goodbyes, no missing.

And those letters I write turn to Him. Wondering at the real life that is being lived with the Lord, the unimaginable joy from those I love who are WITH Him.

And that’s the only resolution. To live “from the end” as Bonhoeffer wrote, to live each day with the end as our hope and our prize and our goal. And to fight to love better those whom are still with us.

Do not take them for granted, those family members, those friends. I meant to call him the week before the run, but I didn’t. That conversation will come, but I will wait long for it.

Don’t wait long.

Express yourself, verbalize the things you think, the things that you love about them, the things that you’re grateful for. The things you would wish a thousand times that you’d said if they were suddenly gone from your life. Be transparent, be real, be grateful.

Lewis said that “the fact that our hearts yearn for something Earth can’t supply is proof enough that heaven must be our home.” My heart yearns more by the day. I want your kingdom Jesus.