Monday, January 31, 2011

Finn's on the way!

Here's the thing, I can't WAIT to meet my new nephew! Later when he's grown, I'm sure he'll never quite understand what a big deal his arrival was. I can't believe that he is nearly here. It seems like yesterday that Becky and I were perusing Ikea wondering whether he would be a boy or a girl. She was fairly confident he was a boy, while I took my brother's lead and insisted he would be a she. The warm day in Lafayette, sharing lunch with my mom and sister, when we received the text that he was a he doesn't feel that far off either. And yet it's felt like a long time.

I've talked to several aunts about becoming an aunt. (Yes, I'm already an aunt, and I love my Ashley, Nicole, and Jake very much, but I didn't get to be there for any of their arrivals.) I've been told that it's different from the love you have for your own children but a fierce one nonetheless. I believe it. Since we found about this little one, he is often on my mind, and I know he will be one of my greatest joys.

Finn Harper Hoyle, know that you are loved. Since the moment we knew of you, we have loved you, and we always will. Welcome to the family, little one.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Friendship-God's Handiwork

This past weekend I got to spend some quality time with some of my favorite people. Friday was dinner with some new friends from Bible study followed by an impromptu shopping excursion with my dear friend and mentor, Sarah. Saturday began with omelets and conversation with Chrisanne and Beth, friends I've had for nearly six years. Saturday evening,  Michael and I ended the evening celebrating the 28th birthday of one of my best friends, Leslie. Sunday was spent with my best friends in the world, Michael and our dogs, Bentley and Bruce. Yesterday I came home to the sweetest card from my best friend, Page, that had me laughing and crying with only a few short sentences. And finally, last night I got to hang out with Sarah again and Jenn--my friend for...FIFTEEN YEARS--during our business meeting. The quality time stuffed into the past several days has got me thinking about these people I call friends.

To say that I've been blessed with friends in a gross understatement. As I look back on the past 28 years, I am constantly amazed at God's craftsmanship when it comes to my life, particularly my relationships. Seemingly insignificant interactions have yielded significant relationships. I vividly remember being introduced to Becky in the MHS fieldhouse.

At fourteen, I had no way of knowing that she would grow to be one of my best friends, meet and fall in love with my brother, become my sister, give birth to my precious nephew, Finn,  and help challenge me to become the woman I want to be. 

So many of my relationships have similar stories.

Jenn started as the only person I knew at youth group and quickly became one of my life-long friends.

Leslie was a girl from church volleyball and Freshman Orientation at Anderson University who ended up living on my floor and helped pick up the pieces of my heart when it was broken that first year away from home.

I was confident that I would never be cool enough to be friends with Page, but a love for Ed lead us to a friendship that keeps me accountable and allows me to be authentic.

Chrisanne was a guidance counselor who I offered a ride to in a thunderstorm who ended up being my beloved roommate for nearly three years.

Beth began as a spunky special education teacher who became my inspiration to run a half-marathon.

Rachel was another English teacher down the hall who ultimately pushed me outside of my comfort zone in so many ways.

Sarah started out as the only soul I knew at a new job and became one of the two people in this world who are always straight with me.

My husband, the love of my life, was masquerading as an acquaintance of my high school boyfriend.

My point? You never know when the next seemingly unimportant introduction will serve up one of the most important people in your life. God's crafty that way. He's been known to take the ordinary and make it divine. I'm grateful He saw fit to do in my life, and can't wait to see what--or who--else He has in store!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Talk less. Say more.

Recently I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what I say, why I say what I say, and how I say it. As an English teacher, I have deep respect for the beauty and power of words. An author's ability to string nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs together often provoke strong emotions from me. Tears, laughter, action. Words have power. Words have impact.

My career is built on the belief that words have power, that they matter, and yet, I often run my mouth without considering the power behind the words falling out. Yes, falling out. Rarely is there true intention behind the language I use. In fact, in the past week, I can count on one hand the number of times I truly thought before I spoke. This is a problem.

The root of this problem could be a variety of things. As I've reflected on my mouth, though, I've come to the conclusion that a large part of it is from self-confidence/esteem issues. Most of my life I've been good with words, thus when others did things to hurt me, I said things to hurt them. I'm not proud of it. In fact, there are several specific instances in the past few years that cause me to cringe. 

I'm not the only one who believes in the power of words. The Bible says that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue," Proverbs 18:21. With this in mind, I'm working to be more mindful of my words. I'm not even close to good at it right now, let alone perfect, but I pray that one day I'll have true control over my mouth so that it is used to bless and not to curse. 

As I press on toward one day finally harnessing my words, I pray that it helps me become the woman I truly want to be. One who is kind and encouraging, patient and compassionate, and one who gives life through her words.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A brief word from Lois Lane...

When we ran into my former youth-group pastor and our current lead pastor at church on Sunday, I said, "Greg, have you met my husband, Mike?" His response? "I feel like I have from your status updates!" Then, yesterday, my friend Carrie made a few good-humored pokes at how often I talk about my "amazing" husband.

If there are those of you out there who get exasperated with my frequent praises of my husband, hide me in your profile because it's not going to end I'm sorry. You see, it's just difficult to keep quiet about someone who is so important, loving, and good to me.

Some of you were around for the relationship before Michael. Let's refer to those times as the "dark years" or the DY.  I'm sure that the angst of being in my early twenties didn't help this time either. Not all parts of that three year period were horrible; I spent much of the last two years becoming best friends with Chrisanne, Beth, and Rachel, and the last year reconnecting with (my now sister-in-law) Becky. Good things came out of that time, but that relationship turned me into someone unrecognizeable to my family and the close friends I had before the DY.

I was drinking...a lot. Although I had always struggled with body image, for the first time in my life I was seriously considering plastic surgery.  My life was consumed with making long distance work, while his was spent getting high and frequenting strip clubs. I abused and abandoned relationships that had been so important to me. I stopped going to church. In fact, I very vividly remember telling God, "You haven't given me someone to marry, so I'll do this on my own." I was depressed and spent a large portion of those years on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds. I look back and wonder how I became so blind to what was happening, or rather, what I was DOING.

At the end of August 2007,  the three year rollercoaster came to a slamming hault. One week later Michael and I had our first date. Three dates later, I knew I was with my future husband. I quickly returned to the person I had been years before. Life was good.

Fortunately, life has only gotten better with Michael by my side. In so many ways, he saved me. (I really believe that God saved me, but he definitely used Michael!) The past three and a half years have been the happiest of my life, and I am confident that the years to follow will continue in the same manner. I can't say enough wonderful things about the blessing that is my husband. I'm thankful for him, our marriage, and our faith every day. 

Now, if you're ever the one wondering why it is I think my husband is so great, you'll know.  Just like Lois Lane, I'm one lucky girl...I got to marry my Superman.