this second weekend of 2015 has been one of the loveliest ever.
on Friday, after work, i drove down the coast to get dinner with Yesenia, one of my best, sweetest friends. we had dinner at BJ's, where we drank dark, rich beer over pepperoni pizza, then picked up a couple lattes for dessert before spending the next two hours walking alongside the dark Laguna Beach coastline. we talked about love and family and writing and hardships and dreams, all while looking at the waves and the houses lit up on the coastal hills. the evening was magical and full of life, and even though i was sad to hug her goodbye, i couldn't help but thank God that i'm lucky enough to have one of the most amazing friends. i took the long way home that evening - country love songs blasting, the music high up in the sky, and my heart feeling full. the evening ended with a hot bath, coupled with a good book and a beer. :)
the rest of the weekend has been equally lovely. i woke up to rain, and lived in boots and leggings all day. Ethan and i tried a new breakfast place yesterday, where we got THE MOST AMAZING chorizo omelettes coupled with french toast + coconut syrup, and spent the rest of the day cleaning, purging, donating, meal-planning, and running errands. in the evening, we drank beer + mimosas, made chicken and potatoes for dinner, and watched movies until midnight.
but this morning has been one of my favorites so far. i got up early and took a long hot shower, cleaned the bathroom, started laundry, and woke Ethan up with a cup of hot coffee. the rain was still going strong, so we opened up my back door, lit some candles and a fire in the fireplace, while we sipped on coffee, watched the hummingbirds flitter around my feeder despite the downpour, and listened to the rain and the sound of each other's voices. the best part was the talking talking talking. about family history, about music, about politics, about the power of a good story. we laughed a lot, held hands, snuck in kisses. it was a precious set of hours...felt like time had stopped, like our soul connection was surrounding us, pulling us closer, deeper.
and now, i'm writing this. my belly is full of yesterday's leftover omelette, the candles are gently flickering in their mason jars, and the rain is still pattering steadily against the roof. today's agenda is mostly empty, save for more coffee drinking, bird-watching, and maybe a little painting. there is room for rest today, and that feels amazing.
the new year, in all its fullness, has also been teaching me so much already. i am taking with me hard and good things, like listening to the Spirit. right as the new year came, i stood in one Target aisle, surrounded by handfuls of planners. i had found the perfect one - clean and white, with pretty gold polka dots. i picked it up to hug it to my chest, and at that moment, i felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to put it down. "no plans" is what i heard, as clear as if someone were standing right next to me. i felt a continued prompting, as i stood there, debating whether or not to listen - prompting to live in the moment, to be present, to be content. all very cliche things often thrown around by people who don't know your place in the story. which is why i don't think i am ever able to relate to those kinds of terms until i feel them being made clear to me in MY spirit, and in the right timing. i left the planner - and the idea of plans - right there in that aisle. and i feel like i am continually being led in that direction. when i try and look forward to possible dreams or ideas for the future, i literally feel as if i am left blind, like the Spirit is putting some sort of mental block there. normally, i have scads and scads of travel plans, hobby plans, whatever plans, but i know God is pushing me back from that. "no plans." it is reassuring me that there are always seasons for everything, and i have had heavy dreaming and planning seasons, but that is not where i am right now, and that's okay. and while it's so weird and foreign, it also feels amazing, this living in the moment. i am ALIVE right now, and there is so much contentment, beauty, joy in that.
i also feel this prompting toward making peace with being uncomfortable. i realized this shortly before the new year came. i had been drinking more and more on the weekends until i made myself sick, and i mentally kicked my own a**, asking myself, "why do i do this?" the answer came almost immediately, as i realized the drinking was to alleviate being uncomfortable. we all have our own vices. mine usually look like compulsive shopping or comfort eating. i have never struggled with drinking. i've never drank alone or heavily or regularly. but the past couple months, i have started to slip on the weekends. i have wanted to numb my discomfort, to be happy and carefree, more wild, fun-loving, whatever...until i looked in the mirror one day and realized that i was not MORE any of those things, but more angry, more uncomfortable, more unhappy, and less of who i am and who i truly want to be. and i just happened to remember a quote from comedian Tom Papa, who put it so plainly and perfectly: "That's it; it's uncomfortable being a human being." i have thought about that quote every single day since then, and i have been trying to remember the concept of "bittersweet", as Shauna Niequist describes it - that the uncomfortable, the difficult, the painful things are truly what make us human beings. if everything was good, joyous, beautiful all the time, life would be boring and surface-level, lacking depth and complexity and triumph. so, i am embracing the idea that being uncomfortable isn't something to hide from or fight against, but something to embrace as part of this being ALIVE. i am reminded, particularly, of the Crucifixion and the Tomb in this. that was more than discomfort; it was pain, despair, hopelessness. but in those things, it was where God was preparing the most glorious things.
lastly, i am learning to say no - what that means and that it is okay, and even good. i don't know if the word "no" is easy for anyone to say, but i know it is certainly not easy for me. i have had a couple recent examples, but my most difficult one was in dealing with a roommate. i have a roommate who is graceless and controlling, and has not been nice to me. she wanted all of us roommates to get together for a dinner to discuss housekeeping, and i decided from the beginning that i was going to say no, i will not meet with you under any circumstances. i have been bullied and talked down to by her more than once, and i won't subject myself to that ever again. and i surprisingly followed through on this promise to myself. i had to say "no" to her once in a text message, and again, in person. both times were hard, and left me feeling shaky and doubtful. and then i read this perfectly timed quote by Emma Bleker that said, "you should not have to rip yourself into pieces to keep others whole." i am not sure what the balance is...the balance of being selfless and giving, while also making sure YOU are taken care of. i have known enough selfish people in my life to make me paranoid about becoming anything like those people. but i have also been talked down to, been a doormat, and i am done with that. so, as a Christian, how do i love the unlovable while also keeping myself whole? Jesus gave of Himself, but i don't think He did so to the detriment of His identity. so, to follow in His footsteps, that will be the lifelong challenge. and as i said before, everything is a season. and i think this will be a season of learning to say no.
and on a final note...here is my current, lovely Sunday morning scene. i am a little bit in love with my post-Christmas mantel. :)
happy Sunday, everyone<3 hope your weekend has been full of rest, love, and laughter.