You get it.

I used to work in a popular coffee joint around town…the name of which will remain anonymous, but it was a fun place. There were always people coming and going, a lot of activity, good coffee, terrible hours. I wasn’t a bad barista either. I loved chatting with customers, I sling a mean cup of joe, and the hectic atmosphere of the place didn’t stress me out. Much.

Before I began work, I went in to sign papers and check out my schedule. On that particular day, I wore ridiculous shoes, flats with a slick sole, and walked behind the wet coffee counter and slipped flat on my bum. It was a pretty dramatic fall, arms flapping, butt hitting the floor with a hard thump, complete with a bruised ego. I’m actually cringing right now writing about it. I clammed up and was embarrassed, and I didn’t talk much until I left. From then on, my boss referred to me as “shy.”

When our mornings would get busy, he would say things to me like, “I know you’re shy, but don’t be so nervous of the customers,” and “This is a hard job for someone who’s really shy.” Huh? Granted, I’m not the world’s most gregarious girl, but I’ve never been called shy, unless it was around a boy in high school. There’s nothing at all wrong with being shy, but that’s just not me. I can chat up a stranger and feel fine about it, and I felt at home in the coffee shop. In fact if you’re familiar with this blog, you’re also familiar with my borderline unhealthy relationship with coffee. But he took that one interaction with me, and decided thats who I was.

So I would reply back to him, “No, I’m not shy. I’m really alright.” Or I would ask, “What makes you say that?” But he would simply continue to refer to me as his shy barista, and not in a cute and endearing way.  For the life of me, no matter how hard I tried; I couldn’t get him to hear what I was saying.

Eventually, I gave up.  Let him call me purple if he wants to, what I was saying wasn’t sinking in.  I didn’t work there for a terribly long time. It may have had more to do with the fact that I got a more applicable job for my grad program, that I was tired of getting up at dawn or missing evenings with Tony, but that lack of being understood and heard sure didn’t do anything to keep me behind the counter.

I heard an interview a few days ago about a guy who taught Charades Classes. He also fancied himself the best guesser in the game. Act out anything and he thought he could guess it. During the interview, he said that he was pretty sure most of his students fell in love with him. This might sound comical, but imagine it! You’re acting out a random scene from a silly movie, and all of a sudden someone yells out, “Annie Hall!” or “Revenge of the Nerds III!” And you think, yes! I can communicate, someone gets me when no one else does, and sure, you feel a little bond to the person who guessed correctly. So sure, I guess I get what he was saying. Which is also a reason I will probably never take a charades class.

So, if there’s a takeaway here, I think it would be this. Stephan Covey says that we need to first ‘seek to understand,’ then be understood. I don’t know about you, but I like people a lot more when I feel like they ‘get’ me. People don’t always get my jokes (and granted, they’re not always funny), but when someone does seem to really hear what I’m saying, it makes you feel good. When you leave time spent with someone, whether it be a dinner, drinks, or coffee, and you feel like they really cared about what you had to say, wanted to understand you, you can’t help but but feel warmly towards them. At least, I can’t help it. I try to really listen to people, but I still sometimes fall into the trap of listening to others autobiographically, filtering what people say through my own experiences instead of simply listening because I want to know them better. So thats my first step. Just listen to listen. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Content to Rent

Its hard not to feel totally caught when the lady who lives in the home you’re taking pictures of walks outside and asks, “Are you taking pictures of my house?” Um, yes? I then responded, “Oh yes, but I’m not creepy.” What Katie? For those of you know me well, you wouldn’t be surprised that I then proceeded to explain why I was taking the picture, and talked waayyy too much, and probably did come off creepy.

Big sigh.

Well, heres the house. (By the way, look closely at the garage in the photo. You can see the lady with her arms crossed, watching me take pictures of her house. I didn’t notice that until I put the picture on my computer)

So, this is where its all been coming from. I’ve been having an internal scuffle with myself lately, and an afternoon walk with my daughter gave me a lot of time to think about it. Some of you know the story of our living situation in the past year, its takes too much emotional energy to explain it all, so I’ll defer to The Nester. (She’s explaining her sentiments surrounding their rental journey).

…at times with discouragement and disdain and a sense of hopelessness. Every day of feeling like a second class citizen, like dorks, like kids because we rent has been worth it because of this space right here on the internet. I had no idea that those days of discontentment were my education on how to find contentment…{full post here }

Reading her post was therapeutic for me. I love blogs, mostly for transparency they offer. I always feel ministered to when someone opens up to me with their life, their story, where they’ve walked and how they’ve gotten to where they are. Sometimes it helps to normalize how I feel, and sometimes it just helps to hear what others have gone through. However, those conversations are rare. We’re all so private sometimes its exhausting. Ah, another post for another day.

My struggle lately has been this: I love the house we live in, but I deeply want to feel settled in a place. I look around sometimes when I’m home and its sad because I know that sooner or later, I will need to pack up this house and go to somewhere different. The memories Addie and Tony and I create here will need to be transferred somewhere else, and thats alright, but its rough sometimes. I’ve been wanting to expand our family lately….but I also want to feel settled in. I don’t think I can have both right now. We were at a house this weekend that felt so much a like a home…with each room having its own special touches, which is something that becomes added over timethose things take time. Those special touches and long stays in one place are something I want for my daughter.

So back to my intrusive google earthesque picture taking. I walked by this home on my walk and fell in love. My photo does not capture everything I could see, but I wanted to remember it, to keep it locked away. So I took a picture. And had a hard time explaining all of this to the woman in the garage watching me, who bolted so quickly towards me that I would have thought she was a bull and I was waving a red sheet. I looked at this house and the soft lights and people inside and felt homey, it looked warm. I thought about what I want for Tony and Addie and our (hopefully!) other kiddos by then.

And when I talk about looking in someones windows and photographing it, it actually does sound kind of weird.

I do know its not the physical structure that creates that warm feeling inside a house. I know its the people inside of it that make it feel like something you want to settle in and cozy up to. But I also know that its been difficult, to move in and be treated differently because you rent (it happens! believe you me it happens). I often want to tell our neighbors that we did own a place before, and then I realize that I don’t need to explain myself…but I still want to. Thats the hard part.

This struggle in contentment, its real. And its something I’m having a hard time with right now. Though I’m lucky enough to know that its not the situation that has to change, its me. I also know that usually I like to have a clean, wrapped up, cute ending to my blogs, showing you the conclusion I came to or delivering a punchline to a funny joke…but I think this one is scattered and messy, like me right now. Ah, its hard to be okay with that.






bavarian bliss

Tony and I were sitting on our couch this morning and we realized that we had  n o  plans today.

Nothing that had to get done, no errands that needed to be run…and thought, what better way to end a lovely weekend but with a drive to Leavenworth? Have you ever driven there in autumn? I can’t remember a more gorgeous strip of road. So with a fresh Starbucks Americano in hand, we set off this morning and started a new family tradition.

                                    This is my favorite time of year to go enjoy the village.

                         We went out to lunch with our daughter…blissfully diet free for the day

                    We walked down to along the river, enjoying the sunshine and crisp fall air.

We took off in the late afternoon after a day of a few shops, some good food, a fun walk, and some good family time. On our drive back we realized that so often we feel that we can’t just take off because theres so much to get done at home…but really, if a late night at the grocery store, letting go of caring about the messes in our house, and realizing that we’ll all be ok if I don’t get everything ready for the week until, hrm, tomorrow morning (?) is all I have to do to enjoy a day like this with my cute little family, then I would do it every weekend. It would be a lot of gas money, but it would be worth it.

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