Life in a snow globe

No I didn’t move to the Arctic. I’m still in Florida where I belong.

I had snow globes when I was a kid and they were absolutely fascinating. Shake them up and watch it all float back down.

Not all of it floated of course. Just the snow. Or confetti or glitter or whatever it was. The bulk of things stayed securely fastened at the bottom. Where it was supposed to stay.

It may have been this exact one!

Unless of course your snow globe was some cheap-ass souvenir you got from your Aunt Carolyn when she went to the Ozarks – or wherever she went – and then it was a different story. If your snow globe was like that, it could not withstand the shaking. The fixtures were not so fixed, and soon the unglued scenery floated around with the snow.

Of course we thought this was hilarious which only prompted more violent shaking from us, the masters of the snow globe. It looked like the aftermath of a tornado when everything settled.

Eventually, everything settles.

This is what it feels like, doesn’t it? It feels like the world is being shaken up and everything is confusing and out of sorts and a lot of things we once thought as permanent are now floating around.

It’s sad when you look at the things that were once solid. Like spring semester of your senior year of high school. Sports. Prom. Graduation. These milestones that were once fixtures are now up in the air for so many, including my beautiful niece Macy.

Macy, class of 2020. Photo credit Andra Travis Photography.

My world is affected on a much less heartbreaking scale. Even so, I know it’s important to acknowledge and to name those things that I’m grieving, no matter how petty and frivolous. Here’s a short list:
-Not working at the office with all of my coworkers.
-Delaying my orthodontic treatments as planned.
-Not finishing my pottery class which is totally cancelled.
-Not eating in restaurants.
-Not taking a hot yoga class (but thank you Adriene!).
-Cancelling the trip to Paris scheduled for the summer.
-Seeing the hundreds of faces that belong to my church family.
-And the thing that aches most is NOT visiting the cutest baby ever.

If he gets a tooth or starts crawling before I see him again… I’ll just sob.

All of these are now hidden behind the swirling snow (and social distancing directives). I just really want everything to land where it belongs, and don’t we all?

Perhaps, while things are still swirling, we can take a look around and assess what REALLY matters.

Like what? Everything is still swirling! And this exactly why I need to also name the things for which I am grateful right here and now. Some of these could come unglued too, as no one is immune or exempt.

Remembering my faith in God and returning to a regular prayer time. Checking in with my family and friends regularly (thank you FaceTime and Zoom). Having time and space to spend with a new special man. Time and energy to be back in my studio painting. And also access to a private beach during the best weather of the year.

What are the takeaways from this post? Other than the obvious admiration of Baby Ellix and jealousy of the private beach?

Recognize we are in a snow globe right now. Take inventory and name your grief and your gratitude, no matter how big or small. Reach out to your people and let them know you hope they are still there when it all stops swirling. And see what they need in the meantime.

Hang in there everyone. It’s all gonna be okay.

Thanks for reading, until next time,

PS. If you are really struggling right now, there is help. Check out this message from Dr. Henry Cloud and this message from Dr. Brene Brown.

When the waves are crashing…

If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE the beach. I love everything about the shoreline, and I’m fortunate enough to live near one of the best ones on the planet.

There is something holy and restorative spending time there. It’s a cumulative experience of the senses. Before I’ve barely left the car, the smell of the salt air hits me. Then as I walk to the path, past the native sea grapes and sea oats, I always stop for a moment when I hit the edge of the sand. It’s a respectful pause, a big breath in as I look left to right. It is a sight that is never taken for granted by this Iowa-born girl. As I scope out the best location for my personal sabbatical, I notice the waves gently landing on the shoreline. Sometimes I’ll hear the seagulls squawking it out and children laughing (or crying because they don’t realize how happy they should be in this place).

Once I camp myself in a suitable spot, and my toes happily dig into the white quartz sand (the sand texture is a critical factor in my spot selection), I’m home. It’s in this place, with all of these sensations, that I feel God’s presence more than any other place.

Please hear me, I know God is really everywhere all the time (so don’t get all jealous because you can’t be at my beach – I hope you have a special place where you can sit in the presence of your Creator). I’m kind of surprised Jesus didn’t come straight here when he walked on this earth. A few weeks ago I did get to see one of his favorite shorelines, along the Sea of Galilee.DSCN0058

This is not a white sandy beach, but I had the exact same sensations (minus the toes/texture/sand thing). I smelled the smell of the water and sand and shells, and could hear birds making all their little bird noises. I felt the crunch of the shells and rocks underfoot, and I sensed the presence of God right in that very place. The shore where Jesus hung out with his buddies, the shore where he took a shortcut one night and freaked them all out by walking across instead of around.

I closed my eyes and it was like being transported in time. It was calm and peaceful, just the way I like it. Funny, I enjoy life when it’s that very same way, calm and peaceful. If only it were like that all the time.

But it is not.

This past week has been one of the hardest I can recall in recent years. It didn’t look calm and peaceful AT ALL. My emotions and thoughts resembled a hurricane more than a peaceful beach scene. From all sides, in more conversations than I could count, my beliefs and heart were questioned and even somewhat attacked. People all around are in turmoil and confusion, It’s hard to defend and explain what I am still absorbing and sorting through myself.

So I return to what I know. God is still God, and he is well able to take care of everyone’s stuff. I don’t have to solve anything for anyone. We can agree to disagree, we can display humility, grace and respect, and still love each other. As soon as my emotions settled a bit and I remembered these things, the waves calmed immediately.

And this week when I’m on staycation (the term we locals have for hitting the beach instead of going to work because we can), I plan to spend lots of time sitting in his presence. I know he will be right there waiting for me, saying “Hey girl, it’s so good to have you here. Thanks for coming to chill with me.”

Thanks for reading, until next time,