I'm learning to not feel obliged, but still, that sneaking sense of compulsion comes in the front door and rests its haunches in whatever direction I happen to be mindlessly staring at any point throughout the day. And so, from a sense of obligation and her silent visitor to my home, I give you this:

Thought: Life here moves both exceedingly fast and exceedingly slow. I think the southern culture has its roots so deeply here that one cannot help but feel as if there is all the time in the world all the time. But at the same time, this area has grown so exponentially and so quickly that one cannot help but feel rushed through traffic, grocery lines, schedules, and everyone's life. I am learning to say to my soul that there is no need for rush or pressure, no need to go grocery shopping or vacuum my car, attend this function or that. I am learning that peace in our souls is derived from a constant source which says: this isn't about you, this is about a Kingdom larger than you, so sit down and shut up.

Art: I am attempting to make art everyday. Art, in this paragraph, is loosely defined as the act of writing/drawing/sewing/designing/creating, not necessarily the actually outcome. Which is a sad way of saying that I'm not sure that I'm succeeding and a glad way of saying I don't care. Someone has always told me that I am happiest when I am carving out space for creativity. If moods are my barometer and art is the pressure, then I would say that we are in a consistent state of happiness. Happiness doesn't pay the bills, I know this, but it is making up for a lot of years of paying bills and that's all.

Spirit: My spirit is learning and growing. Feeling in small ways. I think this morning that it has been so long since I have felt the Holy Spirit and I have just resigned myself to this; I have resigned myself to a season of theology and knowing God instead of feeling Him. But this makes me sad. Deeply sad. I want to know the Jesus that is real, the incarnate God, the God among us. I am learning the gospel with new eyes and ears, but I want to know it with a new heart too.

Home: I still cannot believe that I live in this small ranch house on Meadow Lane. I cannot believe that we have a fenced in backyard for her little one and french doors that we leave open in the still warm afternoons. I cannot believe that the sun streams in through the front windows as I eat my oatmeal in the morning and that there are enough trees in the backyard that it never occurs to us to close the shades. I have found such a haven here, in this home, that I don't think I have felt, well, maybe ever.

Community: I am so grateful to have moved to a place where I knew people already (the last time I moved across the country, I knew no one). Friends I know from New York have wandered down here in the past few years, two of the dearest roommates I could have asked for (though one has escaped to India for a month), new friends I am meeting who are welcoming me into their circles. Community works differently down here than I'm used to, which isn't a bad thing, but it's taking me a while to learn how it does work and to work myself into that. I'm okay with that. Honest.

Church: I am learning so much. Arguably it's not new stuff necessarily, but it's fresh to me. Partly, I said to him on the way to church this morning, because I don't feel the sense of presentness that I felt so much at home. That sense of obligation to people, to duties, to leadership, to myself, to God--it's a beast and I'm learning to pick up the part of me that had sunk to the floor under the weight of it. I am learning to just hear God and not the clamoring crowd. Any of it. The strange thing is, in some ways it's just as difficult to live this way. The only difference is that peace is the encompassing factor.