If I were writing the story of my life this chapter would be called Stripped. Because it feels like that's what has been happening, a slow, systematic and unrelenting peeling away of my former self. Maybe other people who have gone through similar life altering experiences can relate. All of the fluff that used to take up so much of my brain space has blown away. Not only because I don't have time for it anymore, but I don't want it anymore.

I used to spend a good portion of our income on buying clothes and home decor and things. And now we can't afford any of that, but I'm seeing how silly and transparent and unnecessary it all is. With all of the driving and sitting in class and clinic my butt has morphed from grapefruits to pancakes. It still makes me feel depressed now and again but it seems to always come down to either working out or taking an hour to study my scriptures and pray, and I know that having buns of steel can't compensate for feeling spiritually empty. All of my shallow friendships have dried up and the deep ones have grown even deeper. 

I wake up every day surrender. It sounds so cliche, but really. I roll off of my back and onto my knees and say, please help me to give up whatever you are ready to free me of. And please help me to focus on my blessings instead of what I feel like I'm missing. 

I know that this journey I'm on is being led by an omnipotent, loving God. And while the stripping away feels uncomfortable, I know that what I'm shedding is exactly what is holding me back from becoming who I was designed to be. And that realization turns any resentment into instant gratitude. 

These are photos from a trip to Missouri last month. We celebrated a wedding in Nathan's family and spent some time on the Schmoe homestead where he grew up. 

 Down by the creek with Papa Schmoe. Learning how to skip rocks and catch turtles and dig with oyster shells.

Down by the creek with Papa Schmoe. Learning how to skip rocks and catch turtles and dig with oyster shells.

This entry is part of an "11 on 11" series I'm participating in with some photographers whose work inspires me: Sara Kaleho (MN)Sanna Lee (MN)Marie Sant (UT)Kelly Sweda (CA), and Brandi Tejeda (CO. We all post 11 photos on the 11th of each month, just for fun. 

We link to each other to create a blog circle. You can follow along by checking out Sanna's post.