Lost in Drawers

Tag: essay

Three Years

Three years. When we started Lost In Drawers, it was with a long term goal in mind: our brand, our online presence for a vintage clothing store…whether it be on Etsy or otherwise. We had an idea and a blank canvas on which to write our life and build a future business. It was never about living just to blog, but just to live as best we could. This just became our little corner of the internet. At first, we were slow to add things, constantly asking what we thought Lost In Drawers was, and what it should be. Has the blog had a singular theme? No, because that would be a simplification of our life over the last three years.

Is it a fashion or style blog? Yes, in its way. Is it a lifestyle blog? Well, we do live in Fort Worth Texas and we do like to seek out adventures. So, yes it’s a blog about not one thing, but about anything and the excitement and frustration that goes along with possibility. And in trying to document an honest depiction of our life, we have tried to show that we are not perfect. Either of us have made mistakes, and together we have gone through a lot these last three years; some of it our fault, and other things came at us out the blue.

But even when it is Emory making messes about and leaving 400 toys throughout the house for us to pick up at 1 am, we love him, and at the end of the day we love each other. Because we are learning how to communicate, not just say what we think the other person wants to hear. Because we accept that we are 33 (Bo) and 27 (Heather) and we love Disney and probably too many sweet things and there is nothing wrong with that. And we have loved each other even when documenting fashion didn’t quite work, or when the writing was bad and the frustration about life seemed to get in the way.

We started the blog first and foremost because we wanted to open an online Etsy store as a tool for developing our business concept. And three years later, we are still working on the project. It is something we haven’t spoken a lot about, because we believe in taking our time and letting our actions speak for us in what we create that is up to our standards we have set for ourselves. We work, we hustle and we have been riding the three year roller coaster of trying to figure out how and were we want our life to develop and grow roots.

And in all of this, has been the challenge and joy of marriage. Like most young couples, the assumption is that love is all you need and things will magically come together and there will be this wonderful honeymoon phase. And life isn’t like that in the real world if one is honest about. It’d be easy to ignore the growing pains and try and project a perfect image of our life. But we have written at length about struggle and honesty and the search for kindness, both in ourselves and in other people. Creating a new family out of two lives is a challenge, and even more challenging is integrating this new life together with existing family relationships. And the struggle has affected us in that Heather’s school experience was a disaster, Bo’s ministry opportunities dissipated. We have documented it all, and in the hope that the struggle would birth something good both in life and in business.

And three year in, we are learning every day that finding true happiness in our life without constantly wanting something else, and not always looking for something else when our own is right in front of us is a lesson in itself. We’ve made it to three years, and yet in a way we are only getting started – Lost In Drawers is an idea, a hope and now we see it a little more clearly than we did way back in 2009.

C.S. Lewis might have said it best: “Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”

Comparison

It’s an easy thing to waste too much time wondering, worrying and comparing one’s life to those around you. I think we pretty much all do it from time to time, as there is plenty of status updates, tweets, blogs and check-ins that tell us that someone else is living a life that we are not. For every passing year of our house being the two of us and a puppy, there is another half dozen new parents with tumblrs full of photos taken with cameras that cost more than month’s rent. And with each year, Heather and I fret over developing our business entirely by ourselves while new ventures seem to pop all around us, both near and far. And friendships, relationships dissolve as they often do, but no one would know it by the status updates and blog posts about dinner parties that seem to feature food that typically only exists on TV cooking competitions.

There is real beauty in the world, and it can be seen, touched, smelled, lived and experienced – and yet we are robbed of it.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  Life is too brief and precious to spend staring at tiny screens and feeling inadequate because someone else has curated an image of life. That life is digital, where homes are perfectly clean and decorated, where children don’t wear stained clothing and look insane when having their picture taken, where husbands are productive at work and still have time to maintain a vegetable garden and a wood shop out back, where workouts are easy and bodies fit in impossibly small sizes and where life is built around being independent business owners and creative directors here or there and families are all smiles and balanced support systems.

We have to be honest. Our house is often a wreck, and sometimes Taco Bell is the best dinner option. Our garden is a mint plant and a tomato plant. We don’t have kids, and our business is year two and a half of development, and we are constantly re doing our budget to deal with the reality of life from week to week. It is not just about the blogs or social media. The world around us is lost in a social arms race to display our lives in a way that appears successful and/or glamorous. And what is the expense? Too many people (us included) spend all their mental, emotional and spiritual energy comparing themselves to others rather than living. And that is the moment when “comparison is the thief of joy.” Heather and I, and all of us, are meant for something better than life spent trying to one-up someone in life: we are meant to live, show kindness, give, be in a community and to find our creativity and passion and do our collective best to be good people.

We are people, with real lives and real challenges, sharing joys and pain, and messy families and hope for the future. The more honestly we try and live out our real and unfiltered life, the more beautiful our future becomes. We won’t stop adventuring , but our life will be our life even when its not a piece of the online world that is apart of all our lives. We will be giving and kind. And that idea frees us from the game of comparison.

And there is joy in that beyond words.

(We try to not be too preachy here on Lost in Drawers, but this is pretty great stuff! )

Philippians 4 (The Message)8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

photo

What Are We Doing?

image

Have you ever stopped for a minute and realized that life is often filled with a certain silence?  When we both look to the future, there are days that seem as if our future is filled with a blank silence that weighs heavy on our hearts and minds. We seem to be asking ourselves too often, what are we doing? It is not as if we don’t have dreams and passions or ambition, and yet we face this silence. Being followers of Jesus, we look to our faith and believe that God has created us for a defined purpose.  So, if we believe that to be true, what do we do when more days than not seem to be filled with this silence?

We want to be authentic, and that means asking the hard questions and not settling for the status quo. When life happens to neither say yes or no, but remains quiet about the future, we have to wonder why? It’s frustrating waiting for life to move, when we have tried to put in a lot of hard work into what we are passionate about. Heather reminds me from time to time that I have worked hard to earn two college degrees, and I have seen how she has done her best to follow her passion in learning at every turn from career and fashion school choices to working on learning and building our business on our own. We have been pushing to take our life from existing to truly living out our passions and what God has given to us.

So, if our generation is waiting for our lives to be more than repeated weeks and months on end, then how do we get beyond the silence and hear an answer, something beyond the silence?

And what is happiness, contentment, direction?

Is there a blueprint for that?

Our grandparents had the post-war boom, the pastel colored house, a few kids and a Chevrolet in the driveway. Our parents had the promise of new wealth and an early retirement. And our generation? Some do aspire to the house (we all need a place to call home), the kids (many of us want them) and the car (DFW is one example of no decent mass transit).

But Heather and I are a couple who have taken some strange alternate route. We are in our early 30’s and late 20’s, we don’t own a home, we haven’t experience the miracle of a child and we lost our newer car and had to get an older one. The old American Dream seems pretty foreign to us, as we were never sure we wanted a perfected curated life at the cost of our spirit anyway. There isn’t a formula that can magically end the silence we feel is our answer as of late. There is only a shimmer of a hope that comes by faith.

So, how do we handle the reality of these last couple of years of questioning and silence? The truth is that we keep looking for the faith that shimmers with hope. As Paul wrote in the scriptures, we run the race (not that sports metaphors are our favorite) with patience, looking to Jesus. In the silence, we have no other hope for the honest questions that come constantly day after day.

Shape Shifting: Thoughts for Preachers, Prophets and Travelers

Bo had a little article published on our mutual friend’s website The Whiskey Preacher.  Check it out!

Shape Shifting: Thoughts for Preachers, Prophets and Travelers

Thankful

The holidays always begin with a time of reflection and wonder about how we got from the first day of the year to this final push to another calendar year. Just how we survived and conquered all of the challenges and opportunities that 365 days bring is truly something to be amazed at, and definitely be thankful for.  This year has certainly been both beautiful and incredibly hard.  From a full calendar year of employment for myself (something I haven’t had in over three years) and the opportunity to take mine and Heather’s collective passion and begin the process of starting a business out of that dream, to the honest difficulty of navigating the rhythm of marriage and the struggle to maintain the ties of family…this year has been packed full of both wonderful and incredibly difficult moments.  But both are exactly what to be thankful for. That we have the opportunity as two people, both similar in tastes and extremely different in thought processes, to struggle and overcome the challenges of life is more than amazing. We are thankful for so many things. That we have our base needs taken care of, from shelter and food and clothing to gainful employment and free time together, well, we make it in this world even if by a fine thread at times by the grace of God.

We are thankful for family and all that implies, from excellent models of togetherness to the opportunity to change those things that are often barriers to depth in relationships. We are thankful for Emory, who over the course of the last 15 months has been a constant source of happiness, laughter and comfort…with only a little frustration!  We are thankful for the freedom we have as human beings to be honest with ourselves and the direction we feel our life should go in, from moving in place and focus in my ministry to how we spend our energy in both experience and documentation of our life on a daily basis through Heather’s lens and heart. We are thankful for a God that we believe in that is not forced into the boxes so often created and fought for by those who are religious and/or political.  As a husband, there is not much I can ask for that Heather doesn’t already give me.  I am personally thankful for how she loves me in spite of my own idiosyncrasies, how she often forgives me and challenges me to be a better man and is protective of who I am and what I want to become.  It is rare to have someone in your life who is so present to all these joys and challenges of life together, and who shows from her love and care of Emory to how she gives to everyone from the closest friends to homeless strangers how life can be lived well.

Together we are figuring out how to live in a way that shows those around us that love wins, that all are accepted by the God we believe in no matter what, that honesty is best in a world of thin veneers of false successes, that generosity is a lifestyle and that at the end of the day and the end of each year we are alive and we are together and we have enough within us to do all it all again for another year.  We hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving and we are happy to wish you all a very happy holidays!

-Bo Liles

P.S. These are some Thanksgiving 2011 family pictures that we wanted to share as we haven’t taken any of us all in a while and we wanted to share them. We want to thank you all ever so much for sharing in a little glimpse of our world with every day and every post. We live our life openly and this blog is merely a by-product of those moments lived out loud. We enjoy all of you and your consistent and wonderful kindness that comes our way. Simply thank you.  ~Heather

 

 

 

Second Wedding Anniversary

Our actual wedding anniversary is August 15, but we will be away enjoying some time alone without the distractions of doing the business of the internet.

Some thoughts.

There is something about time that is hard to put into words.  On Lost in Drawers, we have written at length about life with all its grand adventures and blunt challenges.  Less written is the concept of time, how it affects us in ways we cannot imagine – how it flows too quickly and then downshifts into seasons of moving slow like the sun across the arc of the sky.  We have been married now for two years and the time together has been like this, both fast and slow. Year one was much about physically movement in an effort to define space and direction. This seemed to really feel heavy and yet move like it was light.  It was fast, a sprint towards a decision (moving back to Fort Worth) and followed by months of static waiting (on Bo’s job situation) and soon year one was writing its conclusion and year two was knocking on our doorstep.

It would be easy to write a flowering description of the ways we love each other.  This is expected by our culture, whether you or Hallmark is doing the writing.  The fact is that we do love each other, more now than ever after two years of overcome hurdles we never expected.  This year has been one of changing perspectives, both relationally between us and towards those around us, to our understanding of God, religion and the walls in which we attempt to define such heady ideas and how a new life can teach you so much about what you value and how you see the world.  We bought some new reading material in conjunction with our anniversary and they are appropriately titled Crazy Love (Francis Chan) and A Million Miles In A Thousand Years (Donald Miller).  In Miller’s book, he talks at length (so far at least) about how to live a good story.  And to do this, we will find that “joy costs pain.”  For us, this year has been so rewarding (one example would be our puppy Emory) and at time, painful (as in the letting go of a home church to seek out what our hearts’ were tugging us in). It is hard to maintain the conscious thought of seeking joy when life is more focused on dealing pain your way.

We have left behind much, and gained some yet there are moments when we are human and the balance is neither readily felt nor achieved.  The people we have lost to busy lives or unknown reasons, the reexamination of roles in family dynamics, the addition of a very expressive puppy to our home and hearts and the hope for a brighter day have fundamentally changed us.  We are both more worldly wise, guarded of our three little selves, at times skeptical and driven by a passion to make a difference in both business and with love to others.  We are both ready for a new season in year three, where the struggle and growing pains of year two transform into a joy truly unspeakable and full of a better life. That is the heart song that is fueled by the love we share.  Here’s to a transformative hope and a bright new year of us and Lost in Drawers.

love,

Bo & Heather Liles

Postscript: Here is where we got married, two years ago under a very large oak tree at Bo’s parents house.  We returned last year to take our first anniversary pictures and we again came back to this place with Emory in tow as we feel this chapter, while rapidly winding up, has not quite closed.  It’s a beautiful place and a reminder of the day two became one.

Seed Planters

As I sit up late into the night/early morning, I find myself thinking about walking.  The pace of it that so reminds us all of the way life moves.  Movement that breaks into hurried strides and slows to aimless wanderings.  Life is varied to the point that we don’t see how emotionally we are frenetic in our pace.  And there is the direction, the intent, the destination.  Walking through one’s headspace one’s heart is in this culture…well, exhausting.  We are constantly walking in and out of situations, relationships, groups, beliefs and environments.  It is hard to define one’s own purpose with all this movement.

Lately, we have been in a running (or walking) conversation about our role in the world around us.  We have been forthcoming here on Lost In Drawers about the struggles of walking away from certain things and the difficulty that comes with (and after) that choice.  We seem to be seed planters, of the emotional and spiritual ilk.  We come from the vein of Israel’s David and John the Baptizer…preparing the way, but never seeing the fulfillment, the culmination.  We seems to inspire, to fight for creativity, to yearn for justice and honesty…and we plant these and other seeds, hoping to see a return.  But we haven’t seen anything but barren, thorny ground.  But maybe blooms in our life is not the point.

Maybe the world is merely waiting on us to accept the beauty in the chaos, the hope in the darkness.  And when we can do that, our seeds will pay us back in droves…or so I have been told.  So, despite the pain it will cause us now, we keep planting seeds of love and hope with kindness until the day our roots tie us to the place in the world we are to be.

We want to thank our readers for being able to share our lives with all of you-the amazing, the not so amazing, the ups and the downs. Thank you for allowing us to be honest and being a part of our life.

Ryan “Bo” Liles

Photography Image

Grechen Blogs- living, blogging, & surviving online

Bo and I have intrigued with Grechenblogs.com blog. I think we have read practically every article on her blog. She asks really good questions for bloggers for consideration for ways to make blogging in today’s culture…well, better. Blogging is something that has become so mainstream that the sheer amount of blogs out there is overwhelming.  A few are awe-inspiring, many are quite lovely, and most are quite good. So what make a blog good or at least relevant?  This was on my mind as I had a conversation with my mom about our blog, and what content we do put on our blog.  Bo and I do put pictures of ourselves and Emory, we do speak about our love of fashion and personal style, we do share our lives through this medium.  At times, it feels like any blog, ours included, could be perceived in such a way that those blogging are narcissistic or self-absorbed.  We hope that the world would see us differently.

We don’t have everything figured out, our daily life does not exist in a bubble of a perfect world, but our life is a progression of us trying to find pockets of sunshine and hope in an increasingly negative, cynical and selfish world.  The fact is that we really love our puppy, are constantly intrigued by our city and cant help but share.  We want to inspire, communicate and show kindness and hope in what this blog archives and presents to the wider world.

And besides, we really only think that our family read this blog.  Then we realize we have our fingers crossed so that more of you lovely readers will make your way here daily, weekly, or whenever you’d like.  We hope you see the honesty in us, and in turn we can all share a little more of what is good and great and true about life as we know it.

We thank Grechen for asking these questions and keeping the Q&A going through her blog! Go check it out!

Heather & Bo

image

Hope is Rising

No one said it would be easy.  We are born into this world naked – unburdened by layer upon layer of influence, circumstance and memory.  At birth, we are momentarily free as we may ever be.  Our life lays before us as an entirely open possibility.  If we could speak at that moment, our first word might be “dream.”  We are a species of dreamers, of people who instinctively are seeking for answers, advancement, of meaning…we want more.  We know in the very core of our being that we are meant for more.  This is the seed of our dreams.  And yet, so often we let life run past us as we stand still.  We are the dreamers but we have forgotten the power of being the doers.  There is more to life than fantasies and daydreams.

As a couple, we are seeking out our dreams.  It is not enough to merely exist.  Dreams rectify the past, inform the present and inspire the future.  We want to be inspired, and to evoke inspiration in others.  Life will teach you that in every difficult experience, there is a dream waiting to be born out of the struggle and discomfort.  For a while now, we have been talking. plotting and planning out our future – from business opportunities, to a myriad of creative outlets, to family & friends, to our future…where to go, who to know, etc.  And it has been like childbirth.  Beautiful, exciting, uncomfortable, full of tears and sweat and without a doubt…difficult in every way.  From the waiting, to the roadblocks, to the spiritual timing and the necessary birthing process – our dreams are waiting to be born.

The truth is that it hard for you, I, us to be patient.  We want to see the fulfillment now.  We want what we want.  But life isn’t lived in a vacuum.  When your passion is driving a dream in your heart and head, you are carrying something sacred.  It is fundamentally a spiritual process.  And it is not without pain.  The things you desire the most will often cause the most discomfort.  You will want to quit.  Every setback, detour and misstep might make you second guess your purpose.  It sure did each of these things and much much more to us as we go through life.  But there is hope.

Your purpose is ordained by the one who created you.  Your purpose cannot be falsified, faked or counterfeited.  It is a precious gift, these dreams being central to who you are as a human being.  so, when it hurts the most – we are all closest to seeing those dreams come true.  Never quit, no matter what.  Our hope is just our dreams about to come full term.  And that is a joy that comes in the morning.

Bo

image

How do you celebrate?

 We are a culture who can plan a party to celebrate an event…a birthday, an engagement, a retirement, a holiday.  But how do we celebrate people?  We are not as adept at celebrating people…who they are, what they are in life.  Our culture is centered around gathering, or the idea that you are only as successful as the thing you gather around you.  Material possessions become a secular religion for this rat race of wealth, convenience, speed and technological prowess.  It’s about one-uping the competition, about pulling the pop cultural rug from underneath those around you, it’s about “winning” yet in reality we are losing.  Losing ourselves, losing our sense of community and losing out on the great design for our world.  And something inside us is waving a red flag as to what is wrong…we can’t get out of our own way and celebrate someone else for the mere sake of it.

Heather and I have been talking about this lately, admitting to the past times were we have settled into the common behaviors and reactions of our culture.   We all do it.  We are victims of our own selfishness as people.  We condemn and we ignore, we copy and assimilate, we speak with a veneer of kindness and we secretly bad-mouth, we simply cannot seem to look at others and say – I celebrate who you are.

And the thing is, now more than ever we need to celebrate each other.  To declare that we value each other for no other reason than kindness and appreciation.  Our world was created for harmony, and yet our culture stands in stark opposition to our nature.  We need to understand that love wins out over hate and we are meant to lay down our emotional notebooks of judgement and begin to see each other as we really are: complex, messy, often screwed but often beautiful and infinitely full of potential to give and receive love.

I know we want to be seen in this way, to be celebrated, and to celebrate with hearts and head of purity with everyone we know and meet.  If we choose that way, I think we will see our own world change from black and white and gray to a full spectrum of color.

And the thought of that is something to truly celebrate.

~Bo

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 280 other followers