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finding a love story

Do you ever have moments so perfectly timed that they resonate into your soul in a way that can only be from God? For as much as I can’t comprehend the frustrations of the unknown, there is is small voice that cuts through just in the knick of time and reminds me that it is OK. It’s OK to question. It’s OK to not understand what was not meant to be understood in the first place.

This is mine.

Some weeks ago, a friend made a comment  at our Church’s ladies night and I’ve played it over in my head. She said “why does it always seem easiest for us to talk about our problems after we’ve already come through them?” We aren’t usually inclined to spill our ugly while we are in the midst of it. There is still the uncertainty that we may not come out on the winning side. We want to share our victories, as nasty as the process might have been, we have a happy ending to tell. But what if we shared during the pain? What if we told others just how weak we feel in the moment? Could there be healing through vulnerability? I believe so.

I’ve been dealing with depression for a little while now. It took me months to say that word; even to my husband. Why does it feel wrong to admit that? The joy in simple things seemed to be harder and harder to reach until I finally found no pleasure in my days at all. I lost all gratitude. My walk with the Lord faded and I became bitter and… stubborn. I pushed my relationships away and cut myself off from social activities. Simple interactions became overwhelming and I began to loose myself. Sheer exhaustion filled my every hour and I found myself missing who I once was. Wondering if she was even still in there somewhere buried beneath my sadness. Sadness that I was well aware wasn’t warranted… but non-the-less so real that I was overcome to the point of tears daily.

I use passed tense because I have seen her. She is currently fighting to come out.

After admitting that I was not OK to my husband and best friend, I decided to seek help. The week I made that decision changed everything. Along with the encouraging conversations I had with these two, I received multiple emails from long distance friends who were just checking in. Multiple… as in more than one friend… in the same week. God intervening? One dear friend was just reaching out to simply tell me the things that she loves about me… she had no idea the power behind her words. She spoke of the girl that I miss and that I long to be again, but there was a specific line that hit me the hardest and brought me to the kind of tears that cleanse a wounded heart. The months of questions and fears became undeniably clear.  She said,

  ” You go to God with an open fist, ready for the next challenge, wrestle with it, and then find a way to make it a love story with His name on it.”

I hit my knees in desperate prayer. Between our struggle with infertility and needing to feel joy again, this season may be the biggest wrestling match of my life. But it is just that, the wrestle. The love story hasn’t been written yet, but it is there… waiting to be discovered. I know that now. I have to let Faith take over and refresh the parts of me that have grown stagnant. The steady decline that had been occurring for months is now starting to feel a little less heavy and I have far more good days than bad. I am sharing this here, in my corner of the internet, in hopes that someone may read it and feel a little less alone. I truly believe in the healing powers of conversation. I’ve been blessed with incredible people in my life, who have been so patient with me.

Gratitude is slipping back in. :)

 

 

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  • Jenny - December 8, 2014 - 9:11 pm

    i love you, friend! wish i could give you a big hug! i’m so grateful you’re in my life and i’m always here… xo!ReplyCancel

  • Lori - December 8, 2014 - 9:32 pm

    Oh my friend! I wish i could hug you.
    I too, deal with depression and seeking help is the beginning of more sunshine ahead. I found when I decided that the depression wasn’t me, changing, it was a bully, trying to ruin me, I was able to separate from it and fight it better.
    I sure do admire your open-ness.
    I love you!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Wagler - December 8, 2014 - 9:35 pm

    Oh Liss. I love this. And I adore you. You are such a treasure. And the Lord is using you. He’s doing great things. And His grace is sufficient, for ALL our needs. Thank you for sharing your heart.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - December 8, 2014 - 9:52 pm

    Alissa!!! I just love your honesty and heart. Your are such a treasure and I’m so lucky to know and be friends with you.

    2 Corinthians 12:9 He said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

    I love you, and will (continue) to pray for you! Sending you cyber hugs!ReplyCancel

  • Edel Johnson - December 8, 2014 - 11:49 pm

    Alissa – I love your heart & how you express that on paper. You have a gift the world needs to hear – write a book and let the healing flow through prayer. Bless you!ReplyCancel

  • Sara R - December 9, 2014 - 5:56 am

    Hey! So glad you wrote this. I thought of you the other day in a passing thought kinda way and then just stumbled across this. I also lose myself sometimes and for me it’s hard to break away from work and take some me time because truth be told I’m not sure what’s ‘me’ any more. The years of infertility, drugs and ops have taken it’s toll and you’re right, it’s often easier to talk about our struggles after the event. I hope you find the time this holiday season to take a break from it all and spend it with close family and friends. The more I do that, the more I get back to being me ;)

    Hugs from across the pond! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Katrina - December 9, 2014 - 8:05 am

    I happen to come across this and I know we have really never been friends but I have always admired you. I remember when you used to sing at church and your voice was so lovely!! I wanted you to know that I think you are an extremely talented person. I may not know you very well but what I have seen (your beautiful photos and words) and what I have heard (you beautiful voice)I know God has given you many gifts. May He restore you!!ReplyCancel

  • Tracy - December 9, 2014 - 10:45 am

    Alissa, you are a beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing. Let that light of the Lord within shine! Peace, my friend!ReplyCancel

hello 30

Thinking about this night still fills my heart and puts a huge smile on my face. I can’t get over the thought and energy that Dan and a few of my closest friends put into making my 30th birthday incredible!

Since Dan and I started rehabbing our tiny backyard, it has been a dream of mine to throw a garden party in it. We had, what seemed to be, a decent amount of work still to do before it would be ready, but little by little we’d been working on it and it was coming along.

That August morning I spent with my mom and a friend getting pampered and then had a delicious lunch at The Chocolate Covered Strawberry. Later in the afternoon they brought me back to my house where Dan was waiting for me in the driveway with his mischievous grin and a surprise. He led me to the backyard where a gang of familiar faces were waiting for me. Guys….I lost it. I didn’t get teary. I sobbed. Together these incredible friends and family transformed my backyard into the most magical garden party I could have ever imagined!!! Lights and pretty little bottles filled with wildflowers hung from the fence. Half of the yard was turned into a quilted snuggle heaven with pillows and more jars full of flowers and bunting decorating the chicken coop! The most delicious foods filled the kitchen and the little vintage tables that were lining the fence.  It was so much better that what I could have dreamed up on my own! But the best part was seeing each of their smiling faces! One by one, I took in each friend.  A wave of gratitude washed over me and I couldn’t help but feel that I was truly the luckiest.  This night was so special and will go down in my book as epic!

Oh, and my hubby and dad installed a slamming screen door :) seriously…best.birthday.ever!

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#30shadesofalissa
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  • jenny - December 3, 2014 - 10:46 am

    ahhhhhh! now i’m even more sad that i couldn’t make it out there! so, so beautiful! good work, daniel. a beautiful celebration of a beautiful soul. xo!ReplyCancel

  • Josh - December 3, 2014 - 11:02 am

    Yes yes yes!! Also, now I like you even more, because of the slamming wooden screen door! We want one so bad because it reminds me of my grandparents old farmhouse in MO, but our dogs like to rip apart screen doors :(ReplyCancel

  • amanda - December 4, 2014 - 8:30 am

    oh this party was so beautiful and meaningful! you are dearly loved. you reap what you sow, and you sow a lot of love. :)ReplyCancel

  • Mae - December 4, 2014 - 2:55 pm

    I so wish I could have been there!!!! When Dan told me what he had planned I was so excited for you!!! You are so lovely and sweet and deserve endless amounts of surprises and love like this!!! Miss you friend!!! Hugs!! XoxoReplyCancel

the best recipe

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This is the best recipe I think I’ve ever seen, and for so many reasons!! I love that it is my hubby’s great grandmother’s recipe for her famous drool-worthy cinnamon rolls. I never met her but I know that she was an amazing woman through the stories she left behind.

My father-in-law wrote out the recipe on notebook paper as Great Grandma Ross taught my mother-in-law how to make the rolls from scratch. I love his little doodle of her up in the corner! :) frazzled? My husband was only a baby then! I adore the little comments throughout the recipe of life happening behind the scenes and the butter and coffee stained paper. I imagine them all in her old farmhouse kitchen with flour and sugar strewn everywhere. The house filled with the scents of fresh brewed coffee and baking bread with a babe at their feet.

There are so many wonderful memories that have been shared with me, attached to her and that farmhouse kitchen where everyone gathered year after year. So you see… This is not just a recipe scratched out on a piece of paper, but a story of a woman with a teaching spirit and hands that made “the world’s best cinnamon roll.” I never met her but I get a glance into what she would be like through this messy scribble. I have a feeling she and I would have hit it off. :)

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  • Luke saylor - October 19, 2014 - 6:19 pm

    I am the father in law who wrote out the recipe all those years ago. Alissa is right on the mark in her description of the kitchen ,the coffee brewing and fresh baked smells everywhere. And she would have got along famously with my Grandmother who left a void in our lives that can never be filled when her time came to meet her God.I think these two ladies will meet one day and exchange recipes. Thank you,Alissa ,for putting this on your blog. you bring back memories for me as well and honor Lydia Ross in a special way!ReplyCancel

  • amanda - October 30, 2014 - 4:46 pm

    i adore this. my mother gave me a cookbook filled with old recipes from my grandmother, and with them, she gave me to copies of the recipes in her native German. one day, i hope to leave a legacy that makes people say such beautiful things about me. :)ReplyCancel

A summer day

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Dan and I are big time family people. Which is why our move from Michigan to Tennessee six years ago was a huge surprise for everyone! The urge to move and the actual move came on so fast that we had no idea what had happened once the dust settled and we found ourselves alone, newlywed, in a whole different world.  No family, no friends. The first year was really rough and then the following couple of years were spent figuring out who we were as individuals and as a couple.  We found a great church and started making friends.

Fast forward to now… (that was the quickest I’ve ever told that story BTW)

We have friends who have become our family when we desperately need that type of community. A community that is safe. We’ve felt deeper relationships than we ever thought possible. God has blessed us beyond comprehension throughout these last six years.  We both have our dream jobs and are surrounded by amazing people.  This is not to say that we don’t miss our families back home with all our beings. We do. But these family-like friends, this framily ;), help ease the sting.

That was all just a really long lead up into me telling you about our wicked fun memorial day shenanigans over at the Johnson’s last month. It was a good good day. One where the fun didn’t end till the sun was long gone… full of good food, kids squealing and screaming in the water, babies in the buff, awesome conversations, bonfire, and s’mores. It was an epic summer day. One that I will hold on to forever!

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  • Rebecca - June 29, 2014 - 12:20 pm

    I can relate to this so much… We don’t live close to our families either and our church family really has become family! These pictures are beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • amanda - June 30, 2014 - 10:01 am

    oh oh! this post makes me so weepy! (not only because we MISSED it, but because i love all of you so much! we can’t wait for you to get home. :)ReplyCancel

good morning, my darlin, to you!

I’m a morning girl for sure! Like wake-up-singing-and-dancing kind of morning girl. Every morning I head straight outside to water my [mini] garden and stare in wonder at how much bigger my veggie plants are from yesterday morning! Maybe it’s because my garden is still new and exciting, but I really love these mornings. They are special. The sunrise peeking up behind my coop lights my tiny yard to a golden haze and there is a dove… I haven’t seen her yet, but I hear her every morning. She makes my heart swell with her melody. She reminds me of my grandparents house when I was little. Of a time when I hadn’t a single care or worry in the world.

I remember laying poolside with my plastic inflatable floaties wrapped around each arm. Maybe they had butterflies on them? I think they were pink. I would sit, palms flat on the ground so that I could feel the heat of the sun baked bricks that surrounded the pool. I would close my eyes and think about nothing but how good that sun felt, and how the sounds of the breeze in the trees and the distant cicada made me happy. And there she was… that dove. Singing her song over and over. I would have sat there still, listening to her forever.

I miss being that young. There were zero responsibilities. Ever since Hope Spoken a couple months ago, Mathew 6:26 has been constant in my mind.

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

I have to work harder to find those places of quiet and peace now, but they are still here. Little reminders in my everyday pull me back to that childlike wonder. It’s not easy to comprehend, but it is true. We are more important to our heavenly Father than these things that are filled with His magnificence. MORE important. The way the birds and the rising sun make me overcome with joy… I bring a greater joy to my Father.

I wonder if he watches me the way I watch my growing garden in awe. :)

 

Here are a few pics from my backyard. And one of the ironing board in my kitchen. I have a thing for light. :)

morning light Alissa Saylor - Darling Louiebackyard Alissa Saylor - Darling Louie
backyard garden Alissa Saylor / Darling Louietomato plant Alissa Saylor - Darling Louie
sunflower seedlings Alissa Saylor - Darling Louiegreen bean vine Alissa Saylor - Darling Louie

 

 

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  • amanda - May 6, 2014 - 10:59 am

    oh how i needed to read this today. phew…..thank you for this. it’s like food for my soul.ReplyCancel