Making this Fall Last

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Think of a rollercoaster.

I, for one, am terrified of rollercoasters, so I can totally relate if you feel a little apprehensive about thinking of such a thrilling ride, but for the sake of my metaphor I need you imagine it.

You are slowly moving forward, unsure of where you are going, yet you know that the glacial pace is moving you higher and higher.

You want to go faster, but you are not in control of it. You are along for the ride. Taking it in. Knowing that you are building up to something.

You reach the top and there’s a moment where you feel like you know everything. You have just experienced the build-up and now you can see clear ahead. Well, it’s a little blurry because the time it took you to get up there, your eyes aged a bit, but you can still see what is ahead of you.

And then it happens.

The drop. The feeling of being thrown into something you can’t control. You are now in it. The momentum is so strong that you can’t slow it down, and you kind of wish it was slow like before, but then you’re also kind of feeling like, well, this is terrifying, maybe I am glad it’s going really fast. And you can’t really see what’s ahead of you anymore, so maybe it’s best you close your eyes. You’re just reacting now — sometimes screaming — but you are completely available to the moment. You are completely along for the ride.

And then are you done.

And you realize the build-up in comparison to the fall was minuscule.  And you kind of feel robbed. Like, if you knew how quickly it would’ve gone by you would’ve have enjoyed it more! You would have taken in every second of the rising and falling and made it last as long as it could.

And folks, that’s what life is like.

When I was younger time felt so long. I was always waiting; looking forward to what was ahead. I was excited for the thrill of adulthood, and yet childhood went by slowly — days felt like years.

And then I hit my 20’s and I felt like I knew everything. I was on top of the rollercoaster, looking out. Telling God my plans.

And now, I am in my 30’s and everything is falling around me so fast. Each day feels like a second. I can’t catch up. I can’t stop the momentum. And yes, sometimes the fear of being an adult is real.

I am not sure what is ahead. Instead of looking at what is coming next, I am learning to look to God — the one who built the rollercoaster. I am learning to enjoy the rising and the falling, and more importantly,  I am learning to make this fall last.

Monday Night of Beans

74925-334x500-Jelly_bean_jarMonday Night is Leadership Night, also known as, Elder Board Meeting, Leadership Team, or The Fellowship of RC (okay, I just made the last one up and I am sure nobody on the team is going to agree with me on that name). We meet weekly and we discuss the happenings of the church, our ministry, where God is leading us, if we are in alignment where God is leading, prayer, logistical questions, like “how many cables and snakes do we need for Easter?” and then we also do team building exercises.

Melissa, who is Admin Queen, runs Monday nights and it’s been an honor to see her grow in her God-given talents and how that helps us to grow as a team and as a church.

The Jelly Bean Challenge

This Monday we did the Jelly Bean Challenge (hence the picture).

There are four phases to this challenge:

  • Individually guess how many jelly beans there are in the jar
  • Connect with a partner and guess
  • Connect with a larger group (so four other people) and guess
  • And then the entire leadership team had to guess

It’s a great exercise because it shows how our leadership team works. It encourages us to compromise and to make decisions together. The good and the bad. Some of us are competitive and some of us check out when conflict arises. Some of us do not listen to the rules and create our own rules and some of us will not bend and will only follow the rules. It was a joy to see it all go down.

Beans = Trust Fall?

What surprised me most that night is how much my capacity to trust has grown over the past year.  I was partnered up with Pastor Rocky and he’s a contractor and he works with volume all day long and I DO NOT. So, I told him I trust him and let him guess on, and whenever we moved into a larger group, I would just say, “I trust Rocky.” And I do. I trust him and I trust this leadership team. It’s strange because I’ve had trust issues in the past but I see now how much God has healed those wounds and strengthened me in that area. Now it just needs to spread into other areas.

In the end, our leadership team did not get the number right but we were still able to enjoy the jelly beans. (Okay, I know Rocky would want me to state that his individual number, without any of that “compromising stuff” would have won.)

And one more quick note, my favorite part of the night was when we got the Jelly Beans and it was Mimosa flavor (champagne and orange) and Rocky gave me his champagne beans and I gave him my orange beans. It felt like we were kids on the playground sharing our treats. I don’t know why, but it made me laugh and still makes me smile.


If you have noticed an uptake of blog posts here, let me tell you that you are not crazy. I am posting more on the blog in April as it’s Camp NaNoWriMo and writing on the blog is kind of like a warm-up to my creative writing. Cheers!

Captain’s Log: Day 2

Captain’s Log: Day two of living alone. The dishes are stacked high. I am not wearing pants. I’ve watched an entire season of Parks and Recreation. And the tub has dried pieces of flowers from the previous night’s bath. 

Yup.

It’s been years since I have lived alone. Well, since August 2014! Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long.

The past two days have felt odd, mainly because it feels like nothing has changed. Sure, some things are missing in the house now that my roommate moved out, but it’s nearly the same. It wasn’t until last night whilst reading in the bath thinking, “Oh, I should hurry before Jemma gets home. She may need to use the toilet,” that I realized she isn’t coming home. Nobody is coming home. I CAN STAY IN THE BATH ALL NIGHT LONG IF I WANT. And all night I did! Well, an extra hour.

Although this is just a temporary predicament as by May I should have a roommate, I am enjoying this hiccup in my life.

I just hope I don’t pick up annoying habits by the time my new roommate moves in. 😛

*Goes and does dishes*

Saturday Night with a Hunchback

It’s Saturday night and I am in a laundromat with three other people, men who are curiously in suits and incredibly high, and the worker.

On my way here I passed by one of the newest and hippest bars in my neighborhood, and since it’s warm, everybody is out.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the contrast of myself and my peers. I am in a 10-year-old shirt and sweatpants with a large Ikea bag on my back, which gives me the silhouette of a hunchback.

And then there’s the rest of my generation dressed up, spending money, drinking, eating, trying way too hard, flirting, desiring to meet the one or for the one right now, with no hunchbacks. Well, I am not sure on that as I didn’t actually see everyone.

What makes me laugh at this entire scenario is that I am not longingly looking at them wanting to be in their shoes — I am fine in my knock-off Toms briskly walking down Fullerton. No, it’s my independence, my introversion, the bliss I feel in being alone, observing the world from the outside.

I have this pressure whether it’s from friends and family to be more like my generation. Some have used the argument that I will never marry. Some have said it makes me a bad evangelist.

Yet, here’s what I have to say about that. I am confident in the fact that God has made all types of people to reach all types of people. He made me this way and He is forming me more into the woman He created me to be. He doesn’t want to replace me; He wants to set me free from the sin that is in my life. So maybe me being on the outside is for the people who are also on the outside? They will know they are not alone because I am right there with them.

Okay, I believe my wash is done.

Cheers!

Changing Up My Living Space

Earlier this month I was sitting in my living area and I felt suffocated by all of the things, all of the clutter, all of the color, all of the darkness, and all of the items that just didn’t have a place to be. So, I decided to do make some changes.

Let me preface, I am not an interior designer. Most of the items I have are due to the generosity of friends from church and strangers who left their items in my alley. They all have precious memories associated with them, but I felt it was time to purchase some more of my own furniture and make some new memories (yes, by spending hours putting them together and wanting to yell and throw things whilst doing so).

So, here’s a before picture.

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It’s not bad, but I wanted something different.

And after

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Most of my purchases are from Wayfair and Target.

So what did I change?

I finally bought some proper bookcases that actually holds all of my books! Instead of having crates filled with them and just books stacked on top of one another that inevitably would fall over, they are now sitting in shelves — organized.

I added light colors to the room! I got rid of the dark colored rug that had a lot of earth tones and instead went for a white and gray rug. I also added white and gray curtains. Basically, the colors are white, gray, and yellow. While I cannot completely get away from earth tones in this space, a little addition of contemporary pale colors couldn’t hurt.

And yes, there’s a yellow endtable. Yellow is just a happy color, isn’t it?

Soon I will have a gray reading chair next to the window and the endtable will hold some of my books. I miss having a reading chair. My previous chair had to be left at my last place as it was basically on it’s last leg and wouldn’t make the move. So in a week or two I will be sitting pretty on a pretty gray Wingback.

So what did I learn?

  • It takes me a year to decide on the type of bookcase I want.
  • It takes me a collective 5 hours to assemble two bookcases.
  • It takes me 2.5 hours to assemble an endtable.
  • Okay, I am just bad at making things with my hands. I am more of a mind person.
  • It will take three different people and their respective screwdrivers to find the right one.
  • I cannot carry bookcases up a flight of stairs and will call a man to help me.
  • My roomie cannot help carry a bookcase up the stairs — it will fall on her and she will pathetically, yet gracefully, fall under pressure.
  • FedEx is not reliable.
  • Area rugs not only catch dust, but keeps the cool air from coming through the floor. They are necessary little buggers.
  • Wayfair has great customer service.
  • And more importantly, I am incredibly grateful for the funds and freedom to change my living area. God has seriously blessed me and I do not take it lightly.

A Realization of a Single Woman

You know how there are just moments that you find yourself in and you think, I need to listen. I need to pay attention. This is important. I was placed here for a reason to observe and learn. 

They are these teachable moments that are going to shape you and possibly change the path you’re on or maybe actually get you back onto the path you were supposed to be walking.

Tonight after the women’s gathering, I stood with three women as we processed through some marital issues. And as I stood there listening to one woman who spent three decades as a single woman and who is now married for two share her heart, and then another woman who has been married for 11 years, and another for 17 years, sharing their advice and wisdom, I found myself in that moment. LISTEN, TAWNY. Take this all in. Be a sponge. Soak it all up.

One day, God willing, I will be married and I will need to remind myself of this wisdom. I will need to remember that I am not alone. That I will have support and other women who have gone before or are going through it too — going through the suck, the struggle, the real reality of sanctification.

The biggest takeaway I had was the realization that if I were to marry my relationship with God will change. That how God communicates with me may change. It won’t be just me and God, but it will be me and this other man and God. We are going to become one flesh. And how I connect to God may change. Also, I will have to trust another sinful human too. My sin will not be the only thing God and I will have to deal with but someone else’s sin will be in the mix.

I am thankful that I haven’t wasted my singleness. I have been very grateful to be single. But having this realization tonight brought in a whole new layer of gratitude. I love my God. I love spending time with Him. I love our conversations and how He loves me. I protect our relationship too. And knowing that it could change, to be honest, scares me. Obviously if God tells me to marry a man, I will. I will certainly obey, but I am going in with clearer eyes now — knowing what I will give up.

I have never been one to settle (some would say that’s the reason why I am a spinster) and maybe that is partially true but I am okay with that. I will not settle for anything less than what God wants. I will not give up my precious relationship with God for someone who does not value God or their relationship with Him. I want a man who loves God just as much as I do or even more so and who is willing to submit to God and be sanctified together.

Yet until then, God will continue to be my husband and I will love the time we have together. It’s precious and it’s worth the lonely nights because really, I am not alone. He’s with me.

Tea Time With Tawny Becomes a Thing

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So, I created a website for my podcast, Tea Time With Tawny!!

I suppose that means it’s a thing now.

It’s been a year of trying out podcasting, so I figured for my anniversary I would make a website for it. It’s a still an experiment in story telling. Still don’t want it to be too polished. It’s a fun hobby that I like sharing with others. I hope you like it too.

I have a new episode too. It’s on Simon Sinek’s recent interview on The Millennial Question. You can listen to it here – I even have shownotes!

So, yes, please go to it, follow it, share it, listen to the podcast, etc. I would highly appreciate it. Or not. That’s okay, either way.

Reflecting on my Vacation and Other Thoughts

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I feel like I have lived many lives these past two weeks. As I sit in my room reflecting on my vacation in California, I am trying to place words to what I am feeling.

*Warning: this blog entry is mainly an unfocused rambling of a woman trying to understand her head and heart. Good luck.*


It was a strange vacation in the sense that most things did not go as planned. After Christmas I fell ill with the flu and bronchitis, and then on New Year’s Eve I came down with a severe earache, which has persisted, along with the lovely bronchitis that just won’t quit me.

Much of my time was spent with a fever in my mother’s bed. I barely slept as I would cough myself awake and enter into this shallow dream/sleep state where reality and the dreamworld co-mingled leaving me to question what was real.

I also spent a lot of this vacation reading and watching television and movies because I was dying (dramatic much?). For example, I read the last book in the Firebird series by Claudia Gray on the way out to California and then read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah on the way to Chicago. I also saw La La Land and Moana, along with, ALL THE HALLMARK MOVIES. I am shocked by the amount of Christmas romance plot lines that exist. I mean, really?

Spending time in my hometown also digs up past memories too. Driving past the physical places of my childhood transports me back to that time and I can’t help but feel all those feelings, whether they were good or bad. Being around family who either were trying to understand me now as a 31-year-old or treat me as though I was a 20-something young girl is also strange and left me in this weird state of being surprised at how much I changed and have grown, but also frustrated with how hard it is to tell someone that — some things can only be experienced.

I even had random conversations with two people on Twitter that I never thought I would talk to, which also factored into just the strangeness of my vacation. How did that even happen?

I suppose it’s the mix of this rich drama of books and movies and memories and family, along with the lack of consistent Tawny-life (i.e., work, church, etc.) that has put me out of sorts. It’s like I have all of these feelings and thoughts that are not my own, though some are, and I am wondering, do I hold onto them? Do I let them stay in California? Do I bring them along with me as I live my life in Chicago?

I am not sure.

How Do Introverts Stay Sane Whilst Being Home for the Holidays?

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As an introvert, I need time to be alone,  recharge, set my mind and heart right, ponder, pray, and just stop reacting to the stimulus around me. My family and I do not have the same temperament so when I say, “I need to be alone” I receive strange, heartbroken looks.

I knew when I made plans to visit family for the holidays it was going to be a test of my endurance, but I also know how blessed I am to have a family, and also, an employer that gives me paid leave. So, I packed my bags and headed across country for nearly a two-week stay.

The first day at my family’s house was fine. I was awake at 4 am (time change problems) and I had two hours to myself before there was a sound in the house. It was wonderful. Then after a full day of festivities, I awoke this morning completely exhausted.  Some family members were already awake, so there was no place to hide. (I am sharing a room, so it’s not like I can hide in a room.)

So, I decided to just leave. Take a walk to the local Starbucks and spend time alone (which is what I am doing right now as I type this). My mom asked, “How could you be alone with other people around?”

“I live in the city. You learn to be alone with millions of people around you.”

And it’s true. Strangers do not bother me. I can find my happy place in the middle of a crowd. There’s no expectations set on me from others. They do not need anything from me. I am most likely invisible, except for the few who I make uncomfortable eye contact with when I look up from my computer (yes, sorry guy with the glasses. You’re just right there.)

So, why am I writing this blog? I wanted to give some advice on how I stay sane during the holidays.

I follow two principles: 

Take Your Time.

Like literally, take the time that you have and use it. Don’t let it pass you by. Don’t let other people tell you how to use it. I have learned how God has made me and how best I interact with the world, so I will take the time and use it to slow down, process, and pray. Basically, do the things that fill up your soul. I know I need time with God, so even when I vacation, I continue my daily disciplines because it’s what brings my heart the most joy and energy.

Build and Stand Behind Boundaries.

Not everyone will understand you and that’s okay. Some people may accuse you of being selfish for wanting to be alone,  and really,  that’s okay. Don’t let guilt or shame force your hand. Let your loved ones say what they want, listen to them, and move on. Just because someone wants something doesn’t mean you are responsible for it. They may want to spend every second with you because they have missed you, which is a beautiful thing, but it doesn’t mean you have to actually spend every second with them. I am no good to someone when I feel defeated.

I am sure there are other strategies and I would love to hear them. Let me know in the comments below and let’s teach one another better ways of living in this world. 

Love and God Bless!

A Poem For Your Birthday

It’s been awhile since I wrote some poetry. I will not pretend that this is perfect. I studied literature at university and I know how a poem is supposed to be structured, but I say whatevs.

Yesterday was my brother’s birthday and it’s hard to love someone who has only abused and disappointed the ones who love him. Boundaries are key when loving an addict, so while it’s been a year since I last saw him, I wanted to wish him a happy birthday.

So, here’s a song, a hope, a wish, a prayer, a poem…

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Sandy blond hair and bright blue eyes
Running on cracked streets and chasing lies
A boy drifting in the spaces in between
An adult who never became a man

Some day, some day you will love rightly
Without demand, without design, without fear
Some day, some day you will be a brother, a son, a father
Without regret, without guilt, without shame

The depth of pain seems to swell at this time of year
When I am reminded of yet another year without you near
I go to my Savior King and I beg on your behalf
To melt away your heart of stone and break his grasp

The fallout of choices, the path you chose to take
Has left you in despair, behind bars, with all your mistakes
It’s not too late my dear brother to turn and walk anew
But until then I sing this song to you