hello 2017, from a tender, but expectant heart

we were hunkering down in our cozy jammies & new christmas blankets, watching the local forecast-the one promising 1-4 inches of, rarely-seen-in-georgia, snow that was gonna head our way as we slept. i was doing my usual peek at instagram and wanted to look back at a few posts i had recently put up from a newborn session. i noticed one was missing. that’s strange? the more i looked, the more i discovered were gone as well. i post frequently, usually a couple per day, so trying to recall what & when i posted was baffling to me. i sat down and tried to think back & i began to remember….a long post about madison’s lyme disease & treatment…& god’s faithfulness to her during this time, a long post about savannah’s surprise engagement last year, a post about god’s presence, subtly yet powerfully seen after a neighbor’s home burned to the ground, a cute post about duke, a favorite image of my two oldest daughters exchanging a gift on christmas morning, a picture of emi dressed up for christmas even when she was four, a cute post about dan & trevor, watercolor art gifted from a sweet reader..several of my home at christmas. dozens & dozens of them missing. random ones,  out of order-& yes there are still a gazillion posts on my account, but dozens are gone.

gone.

i almost always duo-link to Facebook so i thought…yes!! yes…i’ll go to Facebook and copy and paste my words….my thoughts…from those posts & put them back into a document. surely they’re there.

gone.

the entire instagram album of images on my Facebook account, with the exception of a few random from december, gone. as if they never existed. i have over 3 thousand instagram posts. while i’ve never paid attention to the actual number of them in that album, i knew good & well many, hundreds actually, should be there.

gone.

tears began to drop onto my keyboard as i typed in a new password on my account. tears dropped onto my phone as i deleted my insta account & reloaded it. it’s not a big deal paige. it’s not. some of them are there. it’s just images…and words…and thoughts…they’re all still in your head…they’re not gone forever. get a grip. this is not a big deal. right?

like many bloggers, i’ve sorta used instagram as my micro-blog on occasion. while it’s frowned upon by the younger generations, i figure what the heck,i got things to say. but still. finding out that dozens of ( to me anyways) profound, sentimental posts were gone left me heartbroken.

i’m an external processor. i’m an open book. heck, i’m probably a little too much for most people. but all that to say, i think out loud. often times i even pray out loud. something about actually hearing my thoughts helps give me clarity. i’d much rather bounce thoughts off a girlfriend or one of my daughters than mull over things in quiet & solitude. & while this may be a stretch, it’s community in it’s finest form to me…the art of hearing & sharing our stories. it always has been.

being an external processor means that when things are going on that need to stay private, for various reasons, i can feel isolated and alone…and vulnerable. usually those things only stay private for a short period but it can feel like an eternity in the midst. it’s in those times, usually ever so gently, i feel the lord nudge me and say…

“it’s you & ME on this one.

just us.

come to ME with your burdens,

lay ’em down at MY feet, unload your heart & your fears,

I AM

big enough to carry it all…

all of it.

it’s just you & ME,

I got you covered.

under MY wing of protection,

close to ME,

I have you covered”

there are some heavy things going on with some of my people. medical tests, doctors appointments, scary words being tossed around as possible diagnoses. it’s a lot. it really is.

i’m processing the fact that two of my favorite people in the world are far away from me. there’s no “hey wanna meet for pizza”…there’s not even a date set & a ticket purchased for the next visit. & that’s a tender reality of my everyday. some of my dearest friends are walking through new chapters in their lives…chapters that include newly diagnosed cancer and alzheimers and depression. one of my mentors now tucks her hubby of 50 years in at night at a memory loss home….it breaks my heart. i’m 50 now and there’s seemingly a lot more tender things out there at this age. and while some of that is private, some of that is just not what people wanna hear all the time, because….boo hiss on being a debbie downer. but real life isn’t always fun new shoes (darn it) and great new kale salad recipes. sometimes it’s heartbreaking & it’s feeling alone. sometimes it’s having friends clinking champs glasses together, together in it with you…and sometimes it’s just in the quiet with HIM.

we woke this morning to not a single snow flake outside our windows. not a one. even our street is bone dry & not covered in ice. which is both a disappointment and a relief, right? i woke this morning to not a single restored missing instagram image.  they may come back up one day and they may not. special memories & thoughts of mine, virtual diary journals if you will, gone.  it could be a fluke -it could be a mean person that hacked into my account. who knows? i’m not done researching the situation by the way.  i woke up thinking of the friends & family that i know that are in the waiting, in the new, in the fragile. & whether we share our hearts with each other or whether the longings of our heart fill the pages of journals none will ever read… i pray that HE becomes more real to us than our breath on a frosted window, more real to us than the pen in our hands as we write our hearts desires, more real to us in 2017 than ever before.

happy new year my friends…i’m maybe a little tender & bittersweet today but ever expectant & hopeful for 2017!!

{images of my madison from our winter trip to seaside last year}

January 8, 2017 - 12:27 am

Cathy Penton - Beautifully written as always my friend. So beyond wish you lived closer as I think you and I are going through some very similar things and we are nearly twins {66 girls are the best} xx Love to you sweet one xx

January 8, 2017 - 1:20 pm

Jane Carver - Paige, Thank you for sharing. I appreciate your honesty and now I know what I am; an “external processor.” Good reminder that sometimes the Lord says it’s just between the two of us…

I feel your pain on lost images and hope they show up! Several years ago my husband spent months rewriting his fiction book and when his company upgraded his computer everything vanished. SO painful.
Wishing you a Happy 2017 and visits with you girls!

January 8, 2017 - 1:23 pm

Paige - oh gosh, i can’t imagine loosing writings from a book…gosh. so painful i’m sure. thank you for your sweet comment xo

January 8, 2017 - 4:53 pm

Pat - Hi Paige, I don’t comment very often but this post especially touched my heart. There are many things going on in my world too as well as dear friends and family. I so appreciate your words and yes, He is always available for us and guides us even when we don’t realize it.

I’m so very sorry about the lost posts & images. I hope it’s an internet issue and not a hacker. Hopefully, all or part will surface again!

xo
Pat

January 8, 2017 - 10:13 pm

Donna - So sorry to hear about this. You always have the most wonderful pictures and words . I recently had my Facebook and Twitter hacked. I don’t share wonderful writings like you and my picture are not expert photography by any means . Just snapshots from my phone. What’s wrong with people? Again so sorry to hear someone did that to you.

January 8, 2017 - 10:49 pm

Heidi Ferguson - I feel sooooo bad for you Paige! It’s really hard for those that don’t appreciate photography (not a character flaw BTW) to appreciate how devistating it can be. I too consider Instagram a dairy of daily life of sorts. Your thoughts, your inner thoughts written out were on there. It a way to connect, to share to provide an outlet (yes, just saying it can bring relief). I vow to pray for this person that hacked your account (if it’s so). That they will be convicted in a way they’ve never been and restore your photos. God wants us to be specific and to bring our cares to him and this truly dissapointing event in your life is one that hurts me if it hurts you. 🙏🏻 ***Im sure that everyone has offered advice…but do you have Carbonite on your desktop? Maybe they have a backup of your IG since it can be on your desktop too??

January 9, 2017 - 9:18 am

Paige - thank you sweet friend for those tender words. i do have carbonite…i’ll check that!

January 9, 2017 - 5:58 pm

Rebecca - I know this is a heartbreaking loss for you, Paige. You’re so creative, and so open, and your writing is sweet and meaningful. I just can’t imagine how disappointed you feel….. do you think someone hacked your account? Or do you think it was something happening with insta? I do think something weird was going on with insta on Friday night and Saturday because my FB link would not work on insta. I could not post to FB from insta, although by Sunday, it was working just fine. God is good, and he will restore…I know it…in one way or another.

I’ve never heard of carbonite. I may need to check it out.

HOPE from heaven~

originally posted 12.30.2011

(& apologies for the text layout that i can’t seem to edit to a more easy-to-read format)

before i begin i want you to know,
i humbly & respectfully took these images of a gorgeous new home around the corner from my own home.
i contacted a family member related to the home owner &
asked if i could have permission to write this post.
the images & the poignancy of this site.
these images break my heart.
however what i really see in these images is HOPE
& that is exactly what He wants you to see too…
this was obviously going to be someone’s dream home.
i envision plans & details layed out on a kitchen table for quite sometime
as this gorgeous home came to fruition.
it was stacked stone & gorgeous
a circular drive
a large pool in the back
i had never gone inside but knew it was to be on the tour of homes
for the highschool my girls attend.
then just before thanksgiving, it burned to the ground.
all those dreams, all the newness
gone.
it’s truly a horrific site to see the remains of a fire.
it’s frightening and dark.
it hurts your heart whether you knew the home owners or not.
years of personal belongings & dreams
gone.
a few weeks after the fire
dan asked if i had noticed the manger scene.
i was quite certain it had not been up prior to the fire.
sure enough, the manger scene was built after the home burned down.
the sides of the manger structure….they were the sides of the home owner’s grandchildren’s bed…after the fire.
the christmas tree was decorated outside the home after the fire.
the thought that a nativity scene was built
after the fire.
after the horrific incident.
out of the mess,
out of the seemingly hopeless situation,
there sits the manger.
right in the middle of all the mess
sits the manger.
i pondered on how symbolic that scene was.
how powerful.
what a true picture of how He came.
He left Heaven’s throne
where angels sing Holy Holy Holy to Him
-never ceasing praise.
He left that
to come into our world,
your world.
our world of messy situations. of broken homes & broken lives. our world with angry, discontent, disobedient people.
us. He came to us. in our messy broken world.
if you have ever thought your sin was too big
or your past was too dark
your heart was too far gone
or the things you’ve done are too messy for Him.
it’s not.
they’re not.
NOTHING
is too far gone for Him.
she was an unwed pregnant teenager
he was a simple carpenter.
he figured he’d honor her & go ahead and marry her
with plans to divorce her (quietly) later.
she claimed she was a virgin
& that the Holy Spirit came upon her.
 that she would deliver the savior.
the one the people had waited long waited for
to free her people.
no one believed her.
of course no one believed her.
how absolutely scandalous.
they thought their savior was to be a mighty warrior
that he would arrive in the golden power city Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was the holy city where the temple was located.
 they sure weren’t expecting a baby…
in Bethlehem.
nothing good came from Bethlehem.
mary & joseph were traveling & realized she was soon to give birth.
it actually didn’t happen in a barn
it was a hollowed out indention in the side of a mountain
where animals could hide for shelter.
there was yuck there, messy smelly animal yuck there.
it was not clean
nor was it quiet.
it was dark and messy.
an angel shows up to shepherds.
shepherds were smelly & dirty & poor.
the shepherds were tending to the sheep
that incidentally were being raised and would be taken to Jerusalem
for sacrifice for people’s sin.
are you following this?
how amazing is that detail.
the first people that found out that their savior
promised about 400 years earlier
had been born
were the shepherds tending to the sheep
that were the sacrifice for sins.
yet HE was to be THE final sacrifice for sins.
i love that detail!!
the shepherds weren’t even allowed in the temple
yet
HE came to them.
not in a fancy church with perfect pews & a steeple
but
to them.
out in their filth & dirt.
on a dark night.
THE light came to them.
majesty in the mess.
that’s how He came.
if you have ever felt you couldn’t make it to God
please know that Jesus came to YOU
& that my friends
is the HOPE of glory.
the HOPE that all will be made right one day.
the HOPE that you were never alone.
as i drove around the back of this home that dark dreary rainy day
it took my breath away—
to see the cross from the church across the street
through the burned down ruins of this home.
the cross, the scene of his death, on one view.
the manger, the scene of his birth on the other view.
the cross
the reminder that HE came
oh He came alright,
not to who “they” thought
or to where “they” thought
but He came
& then He gave His life.
no more slaughtered sheep
no more blood of any clean animals.
He was the perfect sinless one.
He gave His life for us.
freedom
hope
peace
& love
all right there
to view
through the dark charred mess
He was there all along.
majesty in the mess
hope in the midst of a storm
or a fire
or cancer
or divorce
or unemployment
or famine
or fear
Emmanuel
God with us.
do you see Him?
He is Emmanuel
He is here with you…
& to the homeowners
my prayers are with you
as you rebuild your home & your hearts
~~~

my prayer is that my life, my words & actions, my home
glorifies the Lord.
that whatever glimpse you get into my life
through reading these simple thoughts i have
while some days it’s a silly thought
some days it’s heartfelt
that He is glorified.

~~

isaiah 61.3
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”

romans8.38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

update…this glorious home has since been rebuilt & is indeed a gorgeous dream home!

these images were taken years ago as i was just learning how to use my humble camera. but in all the years of blogging, i must tell you this is my personal favorite post i’ve ever written. i love to share my heart as we raise our daughters. and of course i love to share & decorate our home…but the heart of my blog is to encourage you and share jesus with you!

wishing for each of you that you find HOPE today as well as each day ahead for us in 2017

happy new year my friends

 

December 30, 2016 - 6:45 pm

Lori H - Happy New Year, sweet Paige! I loved this post before and it was so uplifting to read it again – thanks!