Hello old friend, 

A lot has happened in the last month with me, I'm sure with you as well. I moved, lost a loved one and had a birthday! All of these things in one month. Anytime any of these events occur, I find myself having significant moments of introspection and reflection so, I thought I would share some of those things with you. Please, let me know if you can relate to any of the following. 

Moving: I counted and I have moved houses fourteen times in twenty-eight years and that's not counting college dorms. At this point, all I need is a salary and you could call me a professional nomad. As much as I hate the actual process of moving, the days leading up to it put me in a place of reflection, thinking about all the lessons learned in the places I called home. My first time living off campus, I learned that party houses are not the place to live in the room with the swinging door. Living with all my best friends taught me that our relationships were built to stand the test of time and parking tickets are a special gift from hell. Taking time off from school and moving back home allowed me to watch my siblings grow up and get to know them in a way I wouldn't have been able to before. I feel strongly that in recent years the Lord has strategically placed me in homes that will breed deep Spiritual growth, development, and learning. My most recent roommates challenged my thought processes and my way of life, living with them tested my theological perspectives almost immediately. I'm not even thirty days in with my new roommates and I already feel a sense of purpose in my presence and my heart is postured to receive the things I will learn from them while I'm here. 

Death: I am no stranger to people that I care about moving on to the next life. The death of my grandfather is one of my earliest memories. Even at a young age, something within me understood the weight of his passing. I went on to lose several other family members in my adolescence and my early twenties. It has been years since I lost someone I loved and this time hit me differently than those in the past. My dear Great Aunt Lee passed away peacefully in her sleep and initially, I was happy about it. Aside from health challenges the past five years, she lived over ninety years and had a good, long life.  "This is how it's supposed to be," I thought to myself. "We should rejoice in how much time we got to spend with her." I went to Zara, picked something I knew she would like, she was into her clothes, honey. The day of the funeral came and as soon as I stepped through the church doors, I couldn't hold it together. Thirty minutes into the service, I couldn't choke back the tears anymore and I surrendered to a continuous stream down my face. Even going into the week, I just felt off and cloudy. I realized that I had known her longer than anyone else who had passed thus far, for nearly thirty years she had been apart of my life. The weight set in of how one day her children would no longer be here, one day my parents would no longer be here, one day I would no longer be here.

What are our lives except a vapor that appears for a little while and vanishes and passes away? James 4:14
                                                                                                                                                  My beautiful Aunt, Mayme Lee Euell. 

                                                                                                                                                  My beautiful Aunt, Mayme Lee Euell. 

Despite a somber week and the tears that I am even holding back right now, I left church reminded of how powerful the vapor of Lee's life was and how her legacy lives on. From her life, I learned what it means to always make people feel welcome and accepted and what it's like to have a peace over your home. From her, I learned the value of a fur coat! She was impactful in her sphere of influence, something I am so passionate about and something I didn't even realize we had in common until she was gone. I was reminded of how God uses even death to inspire, motivate and challenge us to live and live life in abundance.

Birth: Birthdays have never been a huge fuss in my family. At one point, there were eight people living my house so it seemed like we were having a birthday every month...because we almost were. My mother always made a point to arrange a dinner with just us, some years we did have parties but always cake, always candles. My favorite tradition we have is, during dinner, everyone goes around the table and tells the birthday person their favorite thing about them. The beauty in that is that it changes every year and for me, that is always a reflection of how true love evolves and endures growth. One thing I've found is that the older I get, the younger I feel. Each year, the expectations attached to biological clocks and career moves are less important and learned lessons, authentic growth and increasing love are what I crave, what I concern myself with. 

What are you craving out of life this year? What are you waiting in expectation for?