More with less

IMG_2979 There's been a common theme lately, a constant word and phrase hovering above my conversations. Sometimes the word is said loud and clear, other times it's merely a head nod or look; a shared, quiet language that says, "You’re feeing that way too?"

Less.

We want to commit less.

We want to say no more.

We want to make room for God to shake things up and open our eyes to the people we've been planted beside.

We want to lighten our loads and not feel an ounce of guilt for it.

I think that's the tug of war here, the constant fight in our hearts. Can I grant myself permission to say no even when someone or something wants me to say yes?

And I think there is power in listening to that fight within, the roar or grumble beneath. There is power in recognizing our own limits and boundaries and choosing to honor and celebrate them, rather than apologize for it.

We won't be it all dear one. We just can't. We won’t be the best wife or mother or friend or coworker, all the time.

We won’t always have the right words to say. I have to say this one on repeat.

And reminding ourselves of this, gently, is a good thing.

How freeing is it to let go perfection? To put our measuring stick away and trust that someone else's successes means good things could be coming our way too.

It just might not be today.

Today, your more might mean being faithful in the little.

It might be simple and quiet. It might be without any glamour or shine. But it’ll be good; it’ll be full of purpose and meaning.

And it's so hard to wait. It's so hard to unclench our fists and surrender control. I struggle with this one daily because we live in a world of more. We live in a time of excel, achieve, build your platform, work over time, wake up early.

Walk really fast.

And sometimes these things are good. There is a season for early mornings and late nights. There is a season to be challenged and stretched to new limits. It's energizing and empowering to dream big and wide, to constantly be looking for ways to be better, to love more fully, to extend more grace, to open our home.

But I think a really important question to ask is this: am I using "busy" as a crutch?

Do I surrender, bow down, lift up my hands to "busy"?

Put plainly, do I measure my own worth by how full my calendar is? Have I let "busy" become an idol?

If I am being honest dear one, if I really let you in to the deepest, insecure parts of my heart, I’d say yes, I do those things because busy is comfortable.

It's all I've known and seen.

It's more comfortable to fill every square inch with something, anything, rather than sit alone at a coffee shop with a journal and phone turned off.

But busy comes at a cost, right?

When we say yes - always, when we open our door - always, when we commit and volunteer and raise our hand first - always, we fail to give our body, mind, and spirit permission to practice mindfulness and intention.

And I know those words get tossed around a lot. They sound pretty and sweet but what do they even mean?

To me, they mean savoring the cup of coffee in my hands, feeling the warmth from the mug press into my palms, the softness of the rim as I take a slow, steady sip.

It means looking at another person, really looking at them, and honoring the space you are in - a coffee shop, waiting room, or grocery store checkout line and recognizing that this moment is big, it's huge, it isn't small and insignificant.

It means listening with all that I am so you know you’re story, all the bits and pieces matter. That it’s a story worth sharing.

It means doing less to leave room for creativity. The best ideas need space to breath and foster. They need long walks and evenings at home making soup and stories around a campfire.

I don't want to miss what could happen because I'm too busy planning what should.

What about you friend? Are you in a season of busy? How are you finding ways to practice intention and being present?

xoxo

a love for all seasons

"To every thing there is a season, and time to every purpose under heaven..."  [Ecclesiastes 3:1] I had this silly requirement before we got engaged: I needed to know you in all seasons.

I wanted to know the things that made your heartbeat, the things that made you tickled or anxious or worried. And I figured dating you through winter, spring, summer, and fall would be the best way to find out.

Because this restless, doubtful heart needed answers.

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We were married in the fall - September actually. And while I never really dreamt of my wedding day as a little girl, I always dreamt of fall. It seemed good things always happened.

It seemed things were possible and you had a chance to start over. A time for new beginnings, fresh starts, crisp apples and warm beverages with cinnamon.

And those leaves - my goodness the leaves. If they are exposing their brightest, boldest colors - surely I can too, right? 

So no, I never really dreamt of how that day would be but I suppose a little part of me always hoped, if it were too happen - I hoped it'd be during the fall.

And it seems fitting because the fall was when you first told me you loved me.

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We were sitting on your parents boat, out in the lake, cuddled all close. I was wearing your blue hoodie. I love the smell of that hoodie.

And the crease in your neck. I love that smell too.

I was so nervous. Could you tell?

Because I could feel your heart beating on my back as I pressed into you. And I wondered if you'd tell me the things you felt. Because deep down, I think I already knew.

I already knew you loved me.

So when I asked, "What did you say?" before you said any words - I think you knew too.

You knew that I knew.

winter

This winter was brutal. We were hit with snow over and over again. And while the darkness gets to me after a while and I crave to sweat and not shiver - there is something incredibly romantic about the snow.

There is something romantic about slowing down and drawing in. After all those new beginnings and fresh starts it's as if your body can just be still and breath again.

Snow days, as husband and wife, have been my favorite with you.

I liked pressing snooze and waking up when we were ready. I liked lingering in bed longer than we really should. I liked hearing you make breakfast and coming downstairs to sip coffee at our wooden table real slow, as if we were staying in a quaint B&B in some European town.

Snow days were sweet and plenty - like milk and honey.

Spring came slow and quick, all at the same time. I was ready and then I wasn't. I wanted warmth and lighter days but I wanted the slowness of being home with you - our street covered in white.

This season has been the hardest.

You said it around the fire to our closest friends. I closed my eyes when the smoke blew into my face and fidgeted in my seat and tried to listen real hard amidst the crackling of the wood. When she hurts, I hurt. 

I've wrestled with more restlessness and doubt than I'd like to admit.Though this time, not from us, not from choosing to commit but from me and my heart. 

I've clenched my fists and fought with Him. I've fought with His holy and good plan. I've fought with timing and purpose and calling. I've fought with seeking affirmation and approval in all the things of this world.

But this season I've gotten down on my knees with tears and palms open wide too. And you've listened to me husband, over and over again, as I process the same things again and again. And you've pulled it out of me, when I was quiet and couldn't find the right words to tell you how I was feeling.

So even though it's been hard, it's been sweet.

We've never had a married summer, love. What will it bring?

Will it be slow and still like the winter? Will we welcome new opportunities and promise like the fall?

Or at times, will it be rough and patchy and grace-filled like the spring?

Maybe it'll be all those things bundled up in one. I'm not sure sweet pea but come along with me and lets find out.

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