WELCOME APRIL (AND APRIL SHOWERS). This past month was good to us and let us finally get out and start traveling again. Brandon has been dealing with detoxing from Klonopin which has been rough but overall it was a good month. Our trip to Pittsburgh was a lot of fun and we have a few other trips we’re trying to plan now that should take us through the summer, possibly into early fall. If things keep going the way they’ve been going I expect a great April.
Brandon and I chose “Cherish” as our word of the year for 2018; at the beginning of each month I’m sharing a check-in to update you on how we’re living our word of the year. Our goal is to stay focused on taking time to appreciate where we are in life and being content with our day-to-day.
We took our first big trip of the year in March when we headed off to Pittsburgh with the dogs for a pet-friendly weekend in the city. We stayed downtown and the dogs did so well even with the city noise, traffic, and people. We fell in love with Pittsburgh and are already working to plan a return trip. I’m glad we live close enough to visit regularly because there is so much to do we couldn’t possibly fit it all into a single weekend.
Brandon is through the worst of the Klonopin withdrawals but he’s still struggling with a gastritis flare-up. They can be crippling when they hit and this one has been particularly bad. I think we may have identified the culprits (sugar + caffeine) so we’re working our way through an elimination diet right now and focusing on low-histamine foods to try to settle everything down. Elimination diets are the worst but we’re hoping to get a solid list of trigger foods so we can avoid these flares in the future. We had to cancel a trip to Cincinnati due to this attack and we have a lot of travel goals for 2018.
March was about healing and easing our way back into traveling as Brandon feels up to taking road trips and the dogs get over their travel anxiety. It was a great month and a wonderful way for us to kickoff spring here in West Virginia. Now, we feel rest and recharged, ready to take on spring and make some life changes we’ve been considering.
April – Looking Ahead
Over the last few months, Brandon and I have done a lot of soul-searching about our goals and the direction our lives are heading. We’ve been trapped between wanting to downsize and simplify our lives and feeling pressure to keep up with trends. We simultaneously want to embrace the world while rejecting everything. It’s an odd feeling. The other day I mentioned I often feel the pursuit of more (money, belongings, experiences, knowledge, everything) is one of the greatest sins of man. From the moment Eve bit the forbidden fruit we haven’t been content; nothing is ever enough.
He and I have spoken about it a lot, wondering, “Is this really how God intended us to live?” I have spent the last month or so studying the story of creation and the lives of Adam and Eve. How telling that God created them to live in a garden, care for animals, and live off the land. That’s how I picture Heaven – a garden wilderness full of animals. I imagine a natural paradise far removed from technology, social media, 24/7 news, and the pursuit of more.
It’s weighed heavily on me and I find myself disinterested in things I enjoyed – social media, Netflix, dining out, etc. Instead, I’ve developed new interests in knitting, and DIY while finding joy in music and reading. I feel called toward simplicity – slowing down and enjoying the world He created rather than the world man created. God’s telling me to spend more time in the world and less time of the world. One verse that has stood out to me during my study has been 2 Corinthians 1:22 which says, “For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.”
Later in 2 Corinthians 10:12, it says, “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”
I know the Lord knows my heart and my struggles; He sees my anxieties and fears and self-doubts. He’s telling me to let go and step back to focus on living in the world He created rather than submitting to pressure to chase more in order to feel adequate. I am reminded, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
I’m in a place right now where I feel called to do as Micah said – to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God. I need to remove the pursuit of more to avoid feeling like less and discover life as God intended. That’s my goal for April and I’m looking forward to embracing spring and a soul renewal.
What are your goals for April?