What would you change?

“What things would you like to change in your life and why?”

All of them.  Not because I don’t like my current life, but because I like change.  For now, at least.

I have yet to find a place I’m so attached to that I don’t want to move.  I have yet to find work I love so much that I would never leave.  Don’t get me wrong – I like where I’m living currently, and like what I do for work, but I’m a person who wants to experience lots of “what’s out there,” so if another opportunity comes my way, I listen to my heart and go with what it tells me.

I have this image in my head of where I’ll eventually be.  It’s a small cottage with a garden.  No lawn.  Just garden.  There’s a fence that comes up to my waist, with a gate.  I’m in the coutryside, but only a short walk to the small town of which I am an active member.  Seems to be like what I imagine the English countryside to look like, but it’s not the English countryside.  Because this place has sun most of the time.  When you walk in, you say to me, “Oh – this is so you!”  It’s cozy yet uncluttered.  It’s just the right amount of space for me.  I introduce you to the people in town.  I stop by the library to return my books.  Get chai from the local coffee shop.  Peruse the yarn shop.  I show you all the places I volunteer.  I pick up bread from the bakery, groceries from the only place in town that sells them.  I grow my own produce but complement it with the stuff I buy from the farmer that sells in town.  I can tomato sauce and all sorts of other stuff to get me through the short, mild winter.   I don’t own a car.  I don’t need one.  I can walk to all I need.  And if I do need to get somewhere farther away, my neighbors are more than happy to help get me to public transit.

If you know of this place, let me know:)  In the meantime, I’ll keep exploring until I find it:)

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The Story of our Lives

“If you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn’t cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers.  You wouldn’t tell your friends you saw  a beautiful movie or go home and put a record on to think about the story you’d seen.  The truth is, you wouldn’t remember that movie a week later, except you’d feel robbed and want your money back.  Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo.

But we spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to feel meaningful.  The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either.  Here’s what I mean by that:”

So starts Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, the book that took up a good portion of my Monday, and another example of God sending me messages.  My story is getting a little predictable and I don’t like it.  No, it doesn’t have to be movie quality.  But I love stories – reading them, writing them, living them.  I have been known to respond to the question of, “What did you like about (insert name of an ex-boyfriend)” with “We had such a good story of how we met.”

My new chapter is taking shape.  Simple Abundance today talked about writing the outline before the chapter – about how we do that with our lives as well.  But the outline might just be in our heads for a while.  That’s where my outline lives right now.  Here’s what I’ve got so far: living someplace else for a month this summer.  Quebec City, actually.  In a very simple apartment.

My vision for this apartment comes from one I house sat in Washington, D.C.  The woman was my boss at the time – though I hate using that word – doesn’t ‘boss’ sound so mean?  Probably because I relate it to the word ‘bossy’.  This woman was nothing like that.  She was the kind that, when you walked into her office, you felt like the only other person on her planet.  And when you walked out, you felt like you’d just had the best therapy session ever – even if you’d only spent two minutes in there.  She could see right into my heart, it seemed.  She would ask a question that would stop me in my tracks – make me see something in a way I’d never thought.

It also turns out she was a former nun.  And her husband a former brother or priest or something.  This is the second couple like this that I’ve met in my lifetime.  And I hear there are lots of them out there.  Anyway, I could see it in her – the calmness, the simplicity.  In fact, this is one of the things that prompted me to look into becoming a sister at one point – this lifestyle in which you are quite busy, but still in such a calming space; you’re grounded in something or someone that gives you this peace.

A large part of this feeling comes from how these women live.  I have come a long way since Catholic elementary school, when the nuns lived in a building in the back that none of us ever saw.  It was a great mystery to me – what did the house of a nun look like?  Well, I’ve been in the homes of many sisters since then.  They live in apartments and houses like everyone else – from the outside.  But when I walk in, they all give me that same sense of peace and stillness.  There is usually a simplicity in their decor: not crowded, but filled with just enough.  And each piece on the walls has a story – of one of the sisters former assignments, or a place she’s visited.  Never would the response to, “Wow – that’s beautiful – where did you get it?” be “TJ Maxx” in these womens homes.

I can’t say it’s easy to find a place to rent in Quebec City for a month.  There are a few ads on craigslist, but in the pictures they all seem too stuffed with furniture.  I want to be in a place that has space – space for me to think, literally and figuratively.  So then I thought about living in a convent or monastery for a month.  This is very common in Europe.  The sisters (and brothers and priests) rent out rooms and provide some food as well.  Imagine waking up to monks chanting…now there’s a story!  And of course, the rooms are simple.  This is what I love about going on retreats.  You get a room with a bed and a desk – because that’s all you need.  A couple hooks to hang some clothes.  Perhaps a sink and mirror.  And I love those rooms.

So if anyone has suggestions, let me know.  And I’ll surely keep you posted.

Time for a Change….

I’m ready for a change.  That feeling I get every so often of life getting a little too predictable has returned.  It comes on gradually, like something you hear so softly you’re not sure if you heard it at all.  You say to the person next to you, “Did you hear that?” and they say, “Hear what?”   You think maybe it was nothing, but then you hear it again.  And now you’re sure it’s there.  Even if no one else hears it.  Then, it becomes so noticeable you wonder how you ever doubted it was there to begin with.  I’m not at the point where it’s that noticeable yet.  But I definitely hear it.