It's Not Too Late to Start Over

We are always one thought away from a big idea. 

I scribbled those words down as quickly as I could and clung to them like a security blanket.

It had been a frustrating 48 hours. I'd ended the Friday before with bad news followed by discouraging news for The Letter Project. I went into the weekend feeling like the week had been a waste, which is the tricky thing about getting this kind of news on a Friday. It can leave you feeling like the entire week was a failure, instead of just a few things went wrong. Bad news on a Tuesday? You've got three days to regroup and begin again. But bad news on a Friday? I worried all weekend. I felt like I hadn't earned my Saturday relaxation (a lie.). I entered Monday hesitant and a little uneasy. 

I read blogs that morning, which is never the right way to start my week. I didn't just read them, though. I used them as evidence: See! I told myself. You'll never be this good or successful. I was spiraling. 

I felt frustrated with myself. I felt frustrated with God. I felt like He'd led me one direction - turning corners, taking leaps and crossing bridges. And then, just when I wasn't sure where we were anymore, I felt like I'd been left alone in the wilderness. I thought this was where we were going and now I don't know how to get back to where I was before! I perseverated as I tried to figure out what the heck I was supposed to do now. 

And then, just as quickly as the darkness had overcome me and I'd felt lost and uncertain, I had an idea. An idea that seemed like it might work. A little bit of hope. I felt that familiar new-idea energy buzz through me and, as I started working on it, I realized: 

We are always one step away from a new beginning. 

Whenever I coach women who are in painful relationships, the question that always arises is: How did I get here? How did I end up in this place? This isn't me, they tell me. I was never this girl.

They tell me this between tears and in moments of frustration. They say it after their boyfriend has been mean to them. Or after a eye-opening experience made them realize - oh my gosh, I thought I loved him and I don't anymore. And, whenever they ask that question, I can hear them wondering, quietly:

Is it too late to begin again? Am I in too deep? 

For any of you out there who are in the thick of it - who are wondering if it's too late to get out of a bad relationship, change career directions, move cities or begin again, I just want to tell you: it's not too late. It's never too late to begin again. 

You have so much life ahead of you. Fight for the life you want. Fight for the relationship you want. Don't settle because you feel old (you're not) or because it feels like it's too late (it's not). 

The dark parts - when it's like a maze and you're hurting and confused - that's when the grit has to kick in. It's OK to be mad, yes. It's OK to feel frustrated and sad, too. But, remember, you're always one step away from something new.

Keep going. Keep breathing. Keep trusting. Just take one step at a time.

Thoughts & Feelings from Kenya!

Hi, friends! We're still in Kenya but have a bit of computer access today. I thought I'd check in and say hello. So, hello :)

Also! I tried many times to add photos to this post, but the wifi isn't strong enough to support it. So forgive me for the lack of photos. Feel free to check out our insta feed for a visual!

The truth - the kind of truth that doesn't come through when you're posting cute babies and delicious mangos - is that this trip has been hard. Harder that we expected, for sure. The highs and lows have been extreme and have come like waves in the ocean - one after another, so close together that we've struggled to get our footing. We've had moments of abundant joy, when we never want to leave and feel like our hearts could explode. And we've had moments of absolute heartbreak, when we've seen things we can never unsee. Things that will continue to break our hearts long after we're gone.

We knew it would be hard to be in the thick of rural poverty, but I don't think we expected just how painful it would feel, since both of us have been to similar places before. We've both had nights where we've been haunted by the question: but why, why, why does this happen? As we replayed the cries of a sick baby in our minds and envisioned her hollow, sad eyes, praying, praying that she'd make it through the night.  

I guess I'm telling you all of this just to say thank you. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes. We've needed them every day. Your prayers have carried us and we couldn't have done it without you. You've helped us take it one day at a time, embracing the highs and breathing deeply into the lows. Thank you.

And, of course, the trip hasn't just been hard. As I've said, we've experienced some of the highest highs here, too. I've never felt so close to Chris and find myself yearning to stay in this moment in our marriage. I'm basically feeling totally obsessed with him :) It's amazing what happens when you really need each other. Not need like normal Atlanta day-to-day need, but need like: I cannot do this without you. Remind me to breathe, OK?

We've met amazing, generous people. And have rocked babies until they were snoring and sweating in our arms. We have learned so much about gardening. Have seen the most beautiful stars and sunsets and foliage. We've learned to ration peanut butter and oats, stretching one day's supply into three. We've learned the joy of a fresh mango. And, at the same time, we've learned the value of food for survival, not just pleasure.  

We've gotten to be so much lower maintenance, which happens naturally when the toilet is a hole in the ground and the shower is a bucket of water. I haven't worn makeup once, which, at first when I'd see photos of myself, I'd think dannng I look tired. But now when I see them I think Oh that's my face! Nice.

We have horrific Teva and t-shirt tan lines. We are sweating constantly - whether we're gardening or sitting in a hot office need not matter. We smell like sunscreen and bug spray. We've learned that attraction is so much less about how you look and more about how connected you feel and how open you are with one another.

We leave today for our safari, which, of course, is bittersweet in every sense of the word. We're sad to be leaving our village, but beyond excited for the vacation. We're also feeling guilty about going to an indulgent resort after what we've seen during the last two weeks. But, we knew that would be part of the transition.

We'll be on the safari in Masai Mara from Monday to Thursday, then we'll fly to Nairobi for one night. From there, we'll fly to Istanbul, then to Atlanta. We'll be back on Friday. I can hardly believe we're in our last week!

Thank you again for your prayers! Have the best week.