{Site currently under construction. Grace for my mess?}

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Year of No


I'm a striver.

You know, a climb-the-ladder, always reaching, trying, working, moving, going, onwards-and-upwards sort of girl.

{This is, I'm sorry to admit, mostly motivated by guilt or a feeling of not-good-enough-ness.)

It's always gotta be more.  Not to have more but to be more, to be better, nicer, prettier, sweeter, more attentive and organized and disciplined and perfect.

And in my traipses around blog-land, I see that many of you have deemed 2012 a year of yes.  A year to grow… to "feel the fear and do it anyway"… a year to take the reins and face your life headlong as you lean into the wind.  This is beautiful.  And for a minute, I nodded in agreement.  Yes, yes!  I want a year of yes!  I want to embrace my fears and get ahead.  I want to be better, be more, be everything to everyone all the time!  YES!  

And therein lies the problem.

I am yes.  All the time.  I am always embracing and accepting and reaching out to take the next rung in the ladder, convinced my efforts should be stepped up, just a little… bit… more.

And so.

I'm declaring a year of no.

A year of learning to be instead of to go.  Of sitting down and watching the fog roll in just to marvel at the beauty, just to live right where I am for awhile.  To experience my year of home for all the precious moments I usually miss.  Because it isn't turning out to be what I thought -- this home thing.  I figured I could ride the theme for all its decorating glory, an excuse to fluff and primp and hang and paint… a satisfaction for what my home could become.

Instead, I am finding the joy in mediocre.  I am finding that sometimes, just okay is enough.  And that when friends fly far and long to visit and I lament that my house isn't done, they couldn't care less because they came to see me and they see me in what I've managed to get on my walls, and they see me in the creative touches I've made around my home.  And while I thought I wanted a home whose corners were posted around the Internet, I've learned that I only want a home whose corners are piled with the makings of a life that is all and only gift, a place where we are us and life is love and the messy and the graceful and the ugly and the beautiful all blend together to resemble a life that fits.

I've lived here a month now and I only just discovered that there is a creek at the foot of our property.  It's a creek you cannot see, but only when I get silent, when I sit on the back deck and listen, I hear the waters rushing through the hills and valleys of this land.  I've discovered, by slowing down and paying attention, that there is a dirt trail on a hillside in the distance, and people ride horses up and down this road on a regular basis.  There's an osprey nest in the tallest tree and a white speckled horse that runs circles on the ranch-land below.  We have a miniature waterfall, only 6 inches high, a fairy ravine made of rocks and sticks in the side yard, and the deer sneak in our gate at night to graze.  There is so much quiet beauty here, and I wonder what else I've been too busy to miss.

Numberless still, I count with Ann, the gifts:

- A birthday surprise, friends from afar.
- Loads of familiar, long-missed laughter that feels like a different kind of home.
- My children forming bonds with people that matter to me.
- Snowmobiling on Sunday, a different kind of worship in a different kind of sanctuary.
- A confirmation of my calling as a mom and wife -- a realization that I am exactly where I should be in this big wide life.
- Time, and how it slows deliberate.
- Patterned paper, in high supply and versatility.
- Lunch with mom yesterday.
- Grace to change our minds.
- Surprise toddler kisses.
- A heart stirring, a question on my mind - our family incomplete?
- Quiet love, reaching out in the night with tangled arms and hearts.
- Water… clean and drinkable and so easily taken for granted.
- Mail delivery.
- Soft pillows; deep sleep.
- Strawberries in January -- summer sweetness in the dead of winter. 


  1. I love this post. I am with you 100 percent. From another "all the time yes" gal.

  2. A fairy ravine? Seriously. Cool. Soak it all in.

  3. This met me right here and slowed me right down today, Cara. Thank you, yet again, friend.

  4. Cara, this is just the soul-soother I needed today.  To *be instead of *do, to sit in silence and wonder at God's goodness.  Thank you for the prompt to slow down and just be.  

    Blessings, sister,

  5. me, too---YES to the 'no'!!! all the way, yes! 

    This touched me deeply:
    "I've learned that I only want a home whose corners are piled with the makings of a life that is all and only gift, a place where we are us and life is love and the messy and the graceful and the ugly and the beautiful all blend together to resemble a life that fits."

    About that tea and visit...I so long for that now. even more. ;-) 

  6. Thank you, Jana.  Sometimes, it takes more effort to stop than to go, I find. 

  7. I heart you, Annie.  Thanks for coming by. 

  8. Mmmm, that's the idea.  Breathe it in, soak it up.  :)

  9. Thanks Paula.  It's hard to slow those yesses, isn't it?  I find that I measure myself (falsely) by the amount that I'm juggling at any given moment, but am content with very little involvement.  I lose substance when I strive so hard that I miss the truly important.  Thanks for reading!

  10. Yes, yes! I'm signing with that creek down the hill, the one you didn't know was there! yes. A year of no. I'm all about it.

  11. ...and when I say signing, you know I mean singing, right? (that's what being a sign language interpreter gets you - you can never spell sing again)

  12. Hah.  I knew you were a sign language interpreter, so I wondered, at first, what exactly you were 'signing' with that creek down the hill.  :) 

    Know what I did with my "no" time tonight?  I let the dishes linger awhile and kicked up my feet and read a few chapters in 'Grace for the Good Girl'.  Your words blessed me today all over the place, Emily.  Thanks for stopping by. 

  13. Yes! (I mean, no? :) Get a "B" in life, girl. Those kids were always the happiest when we were students anyway, right??  Nice to find you through Chatting at the Sky. Enjoy living fully in the mediocre moments. I'm right there with you!

  14. Sneaking into this fun place from BibleDude and having a great time exploring. This looks like a fab place, Cara. Thanks for your wonderful words. And you have BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN. Signing on for inbox delivery, that's how much I like this...

  15. i've declared this as "no year" too.. but with each crazy nut-filled day my resolve weakens! needed to hear this shout out of encouragement, across the computer screen of all things, from another sister on the same journey! :)

    thanks and blessing to you~


Your comments are such an encouragement. Thank you for sharing your valuable words.