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moving on out

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playing catch up due to lack of Internet at new house. back up & running now, thanks dad!

we spent the majority of the first weekend in May yard saling & moving. we made a surprisingly large amount of money selling things we don’t want anymore, & then gave a lot more to goodwill, plus filled the street with hefty bags. cleaning out is good.

we’re now nestled in our little house. or jenna & I are, anyway. it’s overflowing with boxes & we’re still working on clearing off floor space. but David & I are very thankful–for kind neighbors, parents who surprised us at the yard sale (!), the most flexible room mate in the world, friends who came to hang out, & a sister/a wilson who spent most of their weekend loving us very tangibly. life is good in fondren. even if it’s a bit cluttered right now.

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life after sandy hook

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I live in a neighborhood that a lot of people thought I shouldn’t move to. I don’t like to call it a ‘bad’ neighborhood–because really, what makes a neighborhood ‘bad’ or ‘good’? & even by that oh so nebulous standard it’s not a ‘bad’ neighborhood. it’s full of kids riding bikes, neighbors yelling “HEY SARAH” (even though my name is not sarah), & people walking dogs. I run outside, I eat breakfast on the porch, I stay all night by myself sometimes. life is good.

sometimes there are flashing lights, but they never really bothered me until my car got broken into. it’s kind of unsettling to know that someone was going through everything in your car (which in my case included silly string, a bunch of construction paper, and a toothbrush… score).  after that happened I got a little more nervous at night time. a couple of weeks after, david came over one day & we walked to the park at dusk to throw the frisbee. I normally never walk around alone in the neighborhood after dark, but with david, it felt ok & “safe.” we threw the frisbee (I’m really bad) & eventually walked home. it was nice to be so comfortable.

but as I thought more about it, I was reminded that, although I should be careful & wise, I shouldn’t be fearful (even without david). david is a good boyfriend who loves & protects me. god is an even better father. I love psalm 4 so much & have dwelt on verse 7 since I moved into our house: “in peace I will both lie down & sleep, for you alone, yahweh, make me dwell in safety.” that’s what I whisper at night when I hear creepy noises, when I’m nervous to go grab something out of my car. & then, after frisbee in the park & my car break in, I tacked those words (pictured above) from a prayer book on my wall.

I’ve been reminded of all of that this month as the nation deals with what happened in connecticut.  as a human being, it was gut-wrenching. as an elementary school teacher, it’s been absolutely terrifying. all day on that friday I wanted to hug every single one of my babies so tight. I was so so thankful that they were ok.  but there’s all kind of guilt & fear mixed in– why the kids in connecticut and not our kids? & what if our kids are next?  this kind of evil is awful & the questions it raises are real. they shouldn’t be folded up quickly & quietly, tucked into the drawer of easy answers. the monday after we went back I could hardly think of anything else. all day was spent fighting hard to keep my mind on anything other than what if what if what if?

but that’s the thing about fear… if we allow it to gain a foothold, it will get deep in our souls & steal our joy. whether it’s being afraid to go to work every monday or being scared to go grab something out of my trunk after dinner, fear cripples & robs us of life. & that’s not good. that’s not what God intended. so I’m trying to spend more time playing at kindergarten recess & less time crying at my desk.

draw us into your love, Christ Jesus. & deliver us from fear. please.

p.s. here are some links I found interesting & helpful regarding sandy hook…
rachel held evans, ‘God can’t be kept out
obama’s statement gets me every time
challenging statistics about violence in chicago

on booze & being kind

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Jenna & I live close to an AA/NA house. they run dozens of meetings a week, so the street is usually jammed with cars on both sides. I pass it all the time– on the way to pick up that ingredient I forgot, as I’m headed to meet hannah for dinner, coming home from tutoring. lots of times I manage to walk run bike drive by as a meeting is ending & people are trickling from the doorway to their cars.

I love watching the people go in & out: people who look homeless, people in scrubs, people with fancy cars, people with no teeth, people who look like my parents & siblings. the smiley old man walking to his meeting & smoking his cigarette, the lady with careful blonde highlights & nervous eyes getting out of her clean white car. it’s strange because they don’t know me at all. & I don’t know them, but I know a tiny part of their story because I live in this neighborhood & I know what the big white house is for.

living here has taught me that addiction doesn’t always look like you might think. it makes me want to hug complete strangers, to hang up a big sign that says, “it’s going to be ok. keep on keeping on.” on any given day, it’s easy to stay in my head, to think mostly just about my life. it’s easy to think I have others figured out. but living by the AA house reminds me to be kind, to smile, to suspend judgement, to say “how are you doing?” & “thank you so much”… not just on my street, but in the world at large. because every single day–in the line at the post office, within the walls of my school–I’m blessed to hold tiny bits of the stories of people who are fighting hard battles & carrying heavy burdens. even when I never would have guessed.