Engagement Portrait by Charlie DeBus, Spring 2007

Part of an Instagram Art Show

Every January since we’ve lived in South Carolina, Joshua and I take a weekend to go on a Vision Quest. I got the idea from our small group leaders back in Dallas, and from the Comanche nation I learned about while working at the Trinity Trust Foundation. It’s a time to go away together, to seek God for the year, to plan, to dream. Last year we didn’t go at all, because Joshua started a new business, and I was pregnant with our second child. We didn’t know what life would hold.

Our goal in 2017 was to pay our bills and have another baby. Check! We did those things, thank you Jesus. Vision Quest 2016 transformed into a staycation that got truncated and forgotten because Etta was one year-old. Vision Quest 2015 didn’t happen because we were in the NICU with a 34-week preemie. This year we’ve decided to spread out Vision Quest over the whole month of January. Kids, y’all. I am currently sitting in my bedroom, rocking Moses in my lap, furiously typing on a phone, because his nap is over, but I want to finish this task.

We have broad headings for Vision Quest that slowly take shape over dinner and drinks and dessert. Sometimes over diaper changes or dish washing. Life is much more casual and messy and interrupted than I would sometimes like.

God. Marriage. Family. Health. Vacation. Community. Work. Debt. House. Bed. These are this year’s headings, in order of importance.

God first because who am I or we without Him?

Marriage because this thing takes planned and spontaneous work. We want to be in it for the long haul.

Family because we are one. As much as I prayed and believed we would have children, I’m daily surprised that we do, that they have been given to us. I want to know them. To plan for them. For them to know they are loved and respected. And for the structure we implement in a moment of lucidity to help carry us to the next moment, and so on.

Health because wow, it’s reeeeally important. This includes exercise, cooking, and sleep. Make time for it.

Vacation is important for our mental health. A change of scenery, local or far, helps renew the spirit.
Community because we need friends.

Work because Joshua and I both need it, like it, and want to be good at it. I make art and and a home. Hubs has a design business.

Debt is no fun, but we have lots of it, between doctors bills and my student loans. We’ve debt-snowballed a la Dave Ramsey many times before, and here we are again. Kill it.

House. We own a house. A tiny, torn-down-to-the-beadboard-studs-and-coal-ash mill house I can see from my apartment window. We want to live there. We need to renovate it. The bank is ostensibly ready to give us the loan after four years and several moved goal posts. Please God.

Bed. We’ve slept in a double-size bed our whole marriage. I would like a queen-size one. And a fancy natural foam rubber mattress. They’re expensive.

When I was a kid, my mom told me we don’t have family secrets. We didn’t have a perfect family, far from it. It was a tumultuous home with lots of arguments and love and thrown furniture and family dinners. I’ve always been grateful she gave me permission to process however I needed to, to talk to whomever would help me make sense of things, to help me move forward. Joshua and I have the same philosophy, and I’m so glad