Living in-between

I am an October girl – born and raised.  With a birthday two days before Halloween it’s no wonder the color orange makes me oh-so-happy.  I love all things autumn!  Raindrops.  The rustle of fallen leaves underfoot.  Crisp, cool weather.  Butternut squash soup.  Football games and hot chocolate.  The smell of wood burning in the fireplace (forgive me global warming).  Pumpkins.  Cozy sweaters and riding boots.

I’m waiting for these summer temperatures to take their leave.  #ohsoimpatiently

I’m lost somewhere between the fun times of summer and the cozy wonder of fall. I must admit this “in between” time makes me a little cranky.  I’m even envious of those of you who live in spaces that have crossed over into fall.  I’m sorry summer girls – I love my cool temps more than a dip in the pool.  I’ve done been ready to trade in my flip flops for my riding boots now for weeks.  I’m a bit pitiful – checking my weather app every morning. I was ecstatic to see 81 degrees for a high this coming Saturday.  What will I do with myself until I see 65 degree goodness?

One of my kindred spirits inquired yesterday, “How are you, Cindy? For real?”  My honest answer – autopilot.  Autopilot seems to be steering this ship.  Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing extraordinary.  I realized my soul is in a holding pattern.

I am waiting to find out if I get accepted to graduate school.  Will they let me know via email since it’s an online program?  Or do they send the tried and true letter in the mail?  Every afternoon – there is a rise in my level of anticipation.  #pleasemrpostman  We are eagerly waiting to schedule the date for IVF.  We thought that would happen in August.  We keep running into obstacles.  We are now looking at dates in late November or early December.  Will there be more hoops to jump through?  More obstacles to tear down?  It all seems so out of our control.  Some days I’m okay with that.  Others not so much.  I am putting finishing touches on my book to be published.  Yay, I think.  How long can finishing touches take?  It seems like years at this point.  Each week I make progress.  And finally, I’m trying to decide whether or not to change jobs while all of these other major life events are about to happen.  I’ve been offered a new full-time job but my heart would rather stay where the certainty of what is known feels safer right now.  Unfortunately, my current job is per diem – which means full-time is not guaranteed.  I’m working full time at the moment but in August I was put on-call more than I worked.  What to do, what to do?   So, that’s how I’m doing.  Caught in the in-betweens.  Feeling hopeful but not wanting to get my hopes to high – in case of disappointment.

What is a girl to do with all this in-between time?  In the last two days, I’ve had some candid conversations with trusted girlfriends.  They happen to living in-between, too.  One dear friend acknowledged that she feels all swirly and disoriented.  Another confessed that she’s relying heavily upon distractions.  They both asked what would be the Less Drama way???

Here’s what we have deciphered so far.  I’m sure there is more learning for us in these times but I thought I’d let you in on what we know so far:

Be gentle and kind with our self.  Take extra good care.  Eat right.  Get enough sleep.  Be active.  Be real.  We will feel swirly and disoriented at times – don’t allow these feelings to capture us.  Don’t candy coat our emotions.  Don’t dwell in the negative spaces – worrying about what might go wrong or what might not happen doesn’t get us where we want to be. Rest.  Deep breaths are our friend.  Lean on others for hope when ours wavers (Brad is my hope bearer).  Trust God.  Believe in future goodness.  Know that we have experience to weather storms.  We can call one foot forward and two steps back – the Cha Cha.  Know that we are not in control – be okay with that.  Distractions are okay as long as they don’t get out of hand.  Downtime helps.  Girlfriend time is essential.  Remember that the “in-between” has lessons for us, too.  Look forward but don’t wish away these moments – there is joy to be had here, too.  In-between is not forever.

We have choices!

That’s what we know.  That’s how we are going to proceed.  We look forward with hopeful anticipation.  We trust in our futures.  We believe in goodness.  Living life in the in-between.

Trusting this space,

They Never Left My Side

Originally written February 10, 2012

I am thanking God for girlfriends today!  One of my BFF’s, Michelle, sent me a picture with two little girls on the beach ^^^.

Michelle has been there through THICK and thin.  We are talking T.H.I.C.K. and oh-so-t.h.i.n.  I would not have made it through nursing school or this last year as a “beginner” without her.  Shoot, I wouldn’t be a beginner if she hadn’t got me my job. I cannot count the number of ledges she has gently persuaded me down. Oh my.  When one of us didn’t understand something, the other one explained.  When sticks and stones were thrown in close proximity, the other stood guard with a shield.  When one of us didn’t possess the capacity to go any further, the other just picked up the slack and got the job done. It didn’t matter who got the credit.  We prayed each other through the bumps in the road and we jumped from the rooftops in sync when success came our way.  We embody  “NEVER LEFT YOUR SIDE.”

As I pondered this image knowing I would use it for a contemplation, I thought about my dear friend, Ashley.  We’ve known each other since we were seven.  That’s only 39 years ago.  I didn’t just say that, did I?  Sorry, Ash.  We grew up in the same hood – if you could call Coral Reef Estates a “hood”.  Oh, the stories I could tell or better yet, the stories Ashley could tell.  Here I go – telling you about the time when we were in elementary school and Ashley bit me.  I made my mom call her mom to make her say she was sorry.  Let it be known that Ashley has never let me live that one down.  I remember my granddad taking us to cheerleading practice in the back of his pick up truck (that sounds like a country song in the making and no we weren’t breaking any laws). Then there’s the day we got scolded for walking five feet behind her mom at the mall (who could blame us – she was wearing a moo moo and we were in Jr. High).  I remember the crank calls we made all over Miami the night we found out the numbers to the phone booths were just a digit off from each other.  I recall the boating weekends in the Florida Keys with her family like they were yesterday and our “monumental” trip to Washington, DC.  I loved the night she surprised me by showing up at a fraternity party in Plymouth, NH circa 1988 (she went to school in Schenectady, NY).  And then there was the day we “bumped” into each other in an antique shop in Savannah, GA – we were both on vacation unbeknownst to each other – I lived in Tampa and she lived in DC.  Over the years, we have shared life together – we have shared our families, our faith, the ups and the downs, we have shared our fair share of tears, we have lent each other hope, shared yummy meals and slumber parties.  We have bickered like sisters sometimes do. We have let each other down and we have carried each other over the molehills that felt like mountains. We’ve known each other at our best and our worst.  She is my champion.  I am hers.  We have never left each other’s side.

My heart is all warm inside just pondering the power of girlfriends.  Do you have friends like this?  I sure do hope so.

Now that you have the “back story” I want to share this “power of girlfriends” moment with you.  I told you about Michelle sending me this email with the image attached.   It got me to thinking about those girls who have come alongside of me and specifically Ashley.  Last Wednesday night I was driving home from work and “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King came on the radio.  Guess who I think of when I hear that song? That’s right – Ashley.  I instantly thought, “I should call her and tell her how grateful I am for our friendship and how much I love that we get to journey alongside of each other in this life.”  My next thought was “it’s late” in Annapolis.  I’ll call her tomorrow.  But then that still small voice inside of me said, “NO – call her NOW!”  I decided to heed the urging – Ashley is always up late.  I called.  She answered.  “Wow, you answered.”  She’s not usually a johnny on the spot answer on the first ring kind of girl.  She replied, “I know, huh?  I saw your number and knew in my heart that God had sent you to call me.”  Wow!  She shared that she had been struggling.  She confessed that if I had called on any day prior she probably wouldn’t have answered.  But on this day, a spark of hope had ignited and she welcomed my call.  I marveled at how I got to be the dose of encouragement she needed at just that moment in time to see her through the HUGE decision she made earlier that day.  We both felt the blessing.

Can I please say WOW, again?  WOW.  I could have easily taken the road “Not Called.”  I know this because I sometimes do.  That’s why I’m writing today.  I want to inspire you to listen to the still small voice when it whispers.  I want you to pick up the phone and call that girlfriend.  I want you to stop by her house on the way home.  I want you to give her a hug in the hallway of our cubicles.  Often times, lots of times, we get caught up in the minutia.  We neglect to take those sacred moments that can mean so much to our friend on the receiving end.  Just ask Ashley.  From my vantage point, my heart still overflows just thinking about it.  That’s good stuff right there!

Basking in the sacred moments,