gratefulness, unselfishness, letting God, Uncategorized

A green velvet couch

All week I had been waiting for the weekend. No work, no school, we got our tax returns back and could finally buy a couch! I had it all planned out. I woke up that morning with a joy and excitement that I hadn’t had all week. I sat down on the our old broken down, “free” couch and began to write, sipping coffee, taking my sweet time, and basking in the slow morning where I would probably make a huge breakfast and enjoy it while listening to a podcast by Yoga Girl, versus my usual rush out the door with a piece of peanut butter toast and throwing together a dinner in the crockpot. Suddenly I get a call from my co-worker. She pulled her back out while working and needed me to cover for her today. I sat on the couch annoyed to the point of tears. It had been a week full of exams, work days full of trudging in the mud because it hadn’t stopped raining all week, and coming home slightly pissed off and dissatisfied. “Why did she have to pick today to pull her back out?” I asked myself reveling in my selfish annoyance. I slapped some toast together, got ready and headed to the farm to work. As I was driving I felt God say to me, “Are you grateful?” Those words hit like a knife sliding down my gut and getting caught in the tough places. I thought about it for a moment and then I begrudgingly texted my coworker saying, “let me work all weekend for you. A pulled muscle takes a long time to heal and I know you need rest.”

I didn’t want to send that text. But I did it. And immediately my heart calmed. It was pouring rain at work and I was knee deep in mud and manure but I felt happy as heck. My heart was light and I thought to myself, “Is this what it feels like to let go of my control and just let things be?”

After work my mom and I were on the hunt for a couch. I had been telling her that it was hard moving to a new place and not having a place where my husband and I could both just sit and be together. It somehow didn’t feel like home yet. It’s hard in general moving somewhere new and I just wanted a little bit of consistency and the idea that this was in fact my home. We went to four different used furniture places. I loved all the high end, expensive couches and Perrin had to keep reminding me that our budget was incredibly low and we couldn’t spend our entire tax return on a couch. I again, dug my heels in and pouted and decided that if I couldn’t get a nice couch that would last a long time, then I wasn’t going to find a couch today. It was pouring rain and I was just frustrated with the entire day and how it hadn’t gone according to my plans. But my mom had one more idea. Lot 25:40. A salvage building that collects donations of furniture and other nicknacks and all the proceeds go to homeless. I walked in and saw a bunch of couches that were in decent shape and had amazing prices, but they all had been sold and were on hold. Mom and I walked around and then I reached an antique little vendor in the building and there was a cute and funky looking Victorian/70’s couch. I loved it. It was not the high end I was looking for, it was not the generic couch I had imagined, but I was in love with it. I looked at the price and it was within our tiny budget. I asked the man if I could put it on hold so my husband could come by and see it. He walked over to the couch flipped the price tag and said, “ma’am you do realize it’s 40% off of the original price, right? You might want to make a decision today.”

As he said those words I noticed writing on the floor directly in front of the couch and it read: “And my God will meet all your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:19

I felt like someone had slapped me across the face. This life wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about my schedule or my agenda or what I thought was right. It was about God. It was about messiness and disorder and maybe things aren’t going to pan out the way we had hoped. Maybe instead of the neutral average couch, I’ll find a green velvet one. Maybe instead of staying home and not working all weekend, I’ll work and I’ll do it with joy. Maybe life is about giving. About others. About living each day as if it’s the weekend. Waking up with an excitement and a joy and an anticipation that this life is really the best ever. We don’t only live once, we live everyday. And I can promise you it feels so much better when you wake up with hands opened from their tight fist, teeth unclenched and eyes wide open. Accepting everything as it comes and everyone exactly as they come. It’s uncomfortable and it’s very unnerving because it means they’re is no more control. But I can honestly tell you…it is beautiful. So this week, live like it’s your day off. Wake up with anticipation for whatever God is going to give you and say thank you. You might find what you were looking for.

Cheers to today!

Blogpost by Nan Ketchum nanbystillwaters.wordpress.com

Family Life, love, new year goal

Small Beginnings

I met an old farmer today who told me my eyes looked like his wife’s who had passed away. His had a grey sort of lostness in them. He was a hay farmer and when he spoke he weaved his big, worn hands in and out of each other, as if he had more to say, but couldn’t quite put it into words. “Those were the happiest years of my life,”
he told me.
He told me it was because they had loved each other so deeply. He told me that they had had nothing. No education, no fancy house or cabin…they just had the little bit of land his father had owned. And that’s how they made ends meet. He told me that he felt redeemed by not having everything the world has, but that it felt freeing being able to love each other in such quiet and simple places, as two flawed human beings. He said that his wife would often say, “I don’t want anything else. Just you.” And he told me that’s all he needed to hear everyday, to be a happy man. 

I left the conversation shaken. I am someone that had chased adventure my entire life. I have rock climbed craggy mountains and I have cliff jumped into lakes and oceans. I’ve ridden on motorcycles with hands in the air through the middle of the night on a lighted city street and I partied too hard. I lived for the moments of feeling alive, like when I laid in a hammock in Colorado and stared at the night sky littered with billions of stars, the hammock swaying, the wind whispering through the trees and the world quiet with the wild. I travelled when I felt ripped apart and lost; I would run to the next high I could get and from the next adrenaline pumping event. I am someone that put emphasis on a career path, on a graduation cap and I am definitely someone that cared deeply about how I appeared to others. 
But he was right. If you have the ultimate love, if you have a quiet place, that one person that loves the dusty corners of your soul, that one person you know would go to the ends of the earth for you…you need nothing else…and frankly…you want nothing else. 

Isn’t that beautiful? How many people have travelled the world, climbed the mountain, written the book, looked the best, had the most?  And how many people had a love that made you forget about every single one of those things? 
I’m not saying to not do those things, to not love adventure…I am only saying that love is something more. Love is something of far more worth. Love is something you can take with you when you leave this earth. Love is something you can count on. Love is something you should hold onto. Maybe love will go with you on adventures….or maybe love will be your adventure.
But I think he was right, the farmer with worn hands, I think he had something there. As I thought about it, I felt a peace sink in and a smile crack through my lips. 
And maybe that’s what the new year is all about. Coming into deep rooted love. Perhaps with your significant other, perhaps with yourself, perhaps with God himself.
This new year I want to take the steps to become deeper in love with my husband. And to me, that means welcoming the days of small beginnings. Being ok with just living with little, experiencing small things and knowing each other deeply. 

This new year many need to know themselves deeply. Many need to not run from their hurts, but simply live with them and realize that the things that hurt us, are the things that also healed us. They are what made us who we are. They need to let themselves truly reside alone and look inward and learn themselves in ways they never could before. Learning to love themselves and live in peace with themselves. 
Many need to learn God, without legalities, without barriers and without their brain getting in the way of their heart. Many need to open themselves up fully to his grace and drown in the impact of his love. 
New Years to me, never meant what diet I was going to try or what event I was going to pursue…it was always inward. 
So this new year I want to look inward. And I want to live in love, with my husband, with myself, and with God. And bask in the days of small beginnings. 

…Nan

You can check out Nan’s blog at

https://nanbystillwaters.wordpress.com/