During my freshman year of college I was given an assignment in my Expository Writing class. We were to write a descriptive essay—I had lost my father to a car accident just one year prior and had been coping by writing poems and journal entries…so this time I chose to write specifically regarding the car accident.
I would describe the accident in detail. I felt like I needed to, in order to process the reality and maybe to help push through the flashbacks. I needed the whole thing to just make sense in my mind.
I completed the assignment, handed it in, and went on to receive an ‘A’. I felt very connected to that writing, but eventually it was physically misplaced. Throughout the years, the absence of that paper has caused me some distress.
Now ever since I was a teen I’ve been storing collectibles, pictures, and memorabilia in a cedar chest my parents bought me for my sixteenth birthday.
Last year I rummaged through that large wooden box as I have many other times, only this time I came across a folder that hadn’t been opened for years. I peered inside and much to my surprise I came across writings—journal entries from that college Expository Writing class.
Cuddled up on the couch with my two youngest children on each side of me, and a blanket draped across our laps, we finally finished a novel we had slowly been reading through.
Empty containers once filled with popcorn and half drank cups of hot chocolate with shrunken marshmallows sat on the worn wooden table before us, alongside the thick-paged children’s novel.
Moments before my boy and girl urged me, “read on mommy, keep going.” …And now here we were another book done, the last words fresh in our minds, but discontent spread across each of their young faces.
They both agreed they didn’t like how the story had ended. They didn’t think it was fair that over the many times this book had excitedly left them in suspense as we’d finish a chapter and wait a day or two to start the next—the ending had now done the same, but this time left them unsettled instead of satisfied.
I recently finished teaching my little home-schooled boy a lesson in his history book regarding the Revolutionary War (1775-1781). Many battles took place during those years as our country fought the British in effort to gain independence from them.
It wasn’t until 1781 that victory came to the American people with the help of the French soldiers at Yorktown, Virginia when the British were trapped, and their General, Charles Cornwallis, agreed to surrender.
Imagine the excitement the Americans must have felt at that moment. The Declaration of Independence had been signed years prior and now the long and no doubt tiresome war would finally cease.
I think my son (if he would have lived during those years) would have humbly and nobly signed a 57th signature to that very important document. He’s also mentioned he would have fought right beside those brave Colonists, which comes as no surprise since he can often be spotted mimicking a combination of victory and defeat while acting out a war scene between an assortment of Lego action figures.
As we studied this chapter on early American history my little “historian” thoroughly soaked it all in, which prompted me to take the discussion a bit further by challenging him on the topic of ‘surrender.’
While exploring the broad areas of surrender my boy voluntarily commented how a combination of Legos and electronics consumes much of his free-time and how he may need to consider “surrendering” some of that to something of more value and worthwhile.
God is faithful in the good times and bad, sometimes we just can’t see the mountains of beauty surrounding a rocky marriage or trial until we submit and allow Him to intervene.
I’m sitting at a round wooden table in a cozy loft-condo as I write these words and the view— it doesn’t get much better in my opinion. From the glass doors leading out to the balcony, the scenery is not only inviting, but breathtaking as well. Situated four stories below and cascading outward are attractive rustic shops and welcoming lodges to accommodate the many visitors, which surely outnumber the locals. This little rural town is encircled by a display of boundless mountains. Evergreens thickly cover the slopes and golden shades of Aspen trees experience the effects of Autumn. At the summit of the taller mountains, last year’s remaining snow can still be seen and heavy gray-colored clouds graze the tops in a steady manner while the sun occasionally makes an appearance.
Our family makes it a point to take in God’s impressive craftsmanship by venturing to the Rocky mountains in the heart of Colorado annually. Only this time the kids are back home entertaining grandparents which leaves just my husband and I. We took a trip to Mount Rushmore this past summer which we enjoyed as a family (so no worries the kids aren’t feeling too left out) plus I’m sure they’ve considered the fact that we’ll come back with a surprise of some sort for each of them. This year, and even more definitively- this week, marks thirteen years of marriage for my sweetie and I. And as an effort to celebrate we decided it’d be just the two of us on this adventure. It’s the first time we’ve been on a get-a-way without children or another couple, so to say we were a “little giddy” months before this retreat arrived would be an understatement.
I could carry on about the desire of coming to this remarkable place for a number of reasons…the cool crisp air, the Aspens that I’d love to scoop up and transplant to my backyard if it were that easy, to the comfortable warm fireplace just feet away from where I’m sitting, but the most appealing piece of this moment is seated directly across from me, my husband, with his Bible laying open on the table as he reads and studies God’s word. It’s something I witness often and it never grows old. It’s something I prayed over for months with our children- to see their father come to faith. Tears well up in my eyes as I consider God’s answer to prayer and His loving faithfulness. To see our family grow in the Lord humbles me and leaves me wanting more of Him.
I’m in braces…again…for the second time in my life. The last time was eighteen years ago when I was a teenager and having braces was considered sort of “cool” at that age.
There’s a reason you don’t see many adults parading around with braces on their teeth. Advanced technology has allowed individuals the option to replace a mouthful of wires, brackets, and a rainbow of colorful bands with Invisalign, which corrects your teeth using clear aligners that fit tightly and gradually shift your teeth into the right position and provide little to no evidence of visibility. Also I’m pretty confident someone out there considered the fact that most adults aren’t going to want to wear a mouthful of metal while verbally training their young children. Plus I’m not sure about all thirty-something year olds but I feel like once I hit thirty my body showed a few signs of aging and apparently my mouth must be drooping somewhat these days because I now have deep cuts on the inside of my lip…caused by…braces.
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. John 1:14
allowing the world’s words to speak louder than God’s Word only brings hurt…my story of learning the hard way…
It’s amazing how the simplicity of a word can cause such a bold effect. Words have the potential to separate a satisfactory writing from an accomplished writer. Combining the right words holds the possibility of creating a beautiful story, but what about single words? Words on their own, words that describe:
These are words that not only describe, for better or worse, but can define and in some cases they define one’s character.
At age fourteen, just an insecure new teenager trying to overcome sexual abuse I’d experienced as a young girl, I remember being referred to by a certain intimidating boy as prude. Having not a clue what this word meant at the time and feeling verbally threatened I quietly, but quickly searched out the meaning.
prude (adj.)- one who is too concerned with being proper or modest; a derogatory label affixed most often to girls or women who are not forth coming romantically
As I studied my peer’s behavior it was considerably prominent they were not a description of the term, prude. In fact they were quite the opposite. And in my vulnerable submissive mind this became a problem—for me. In a matter of months I turned someone else’s accurate representation of myself in a complete one-eighty due to fear of acceptance. Continue reading “The Effect of Words”
the moment when you finally realize life is so much sweeter with Jesus involved makes even candy seem bitter when compared—my story of redemption, grace, and hope…
Embarrassing, ashamed, regret, guilt…we all have felt those emotions at one point or another whether we care to admit it or not. Negative situations do not show favoritism to certain individuals, instead as a ramification of sin we’re all at risk of being held objective to negativity. It can come from poor self-made choices, an innocent accident, or even someone’s misconstrued idea of us.
I’ve been there, more than once, more times than I care to acknowledge. I’ve felt those negative moments of despair where I’ve felt so lost and broken that I’ve almost become numb to feeling anything at all. Sometimes recalling those shameful experiences means revisiting dark corners where deep memories hide.
Too often we vacate the idea of “speaking up” about a difficult encounter we’ve struggled with or currently struggle with. We cower to the idea of becoming vulnerable to someone else’s opinion of us if we would happen to open-up regarding a particular situation that seems less than favorable to ourselves and society.
One of my most disconcerting memories occurred when I was just a few years over the legal drinking age. Little did I know at the time it would serve as a humbling experience and a much-needed building block for my faith to grow a few years later…
As she lay in bed I knelt down by her feet and began rubbing them gently. She needed comfort and this was a relaxing form in which I could offer it.
I was serving at an annual week-long summer camp, but it isn’t just any ordinary summer kids’ camp, this special camp brims with emotion—some cheerful and some troubling. One of my responsibilities is to aide in putting little girls to bed in their cabin shortly after the sun settles. This often includes tucking them in, prayer, story-time, music, and occasional waitress duties when they request a sip of water to quench a dry throat. Continue reading “Loving Others Through Dirty Feet”
Originally written and posted on 9/4/17, reposting on 9/4/18
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. Psalm 127:3
“It was either a grasshopper or a mouse—just smacked me in the face and bounced off!”, I joked with my kids and they giggled and snickered behind me wildly.
We were on our annual camping trip, complete with four-wheelers, miles of sandy trails shaded within a thicket of pine trees, and of course marshmallows toasted over a camp fire in the evenings. My two youngest children rode securely behind me on our four-wheeler while my husband and oldest daughter trailed behind, each on their own ATV.
Just for the record, safety is a must…pony tails fly in the wind under tightly strapped riding helmets and boy hair shows sweaty evidence whenever the protective headgear is removed, chicken legs are always covered with blue jeans, and little toes are snug in a pair of boots or sneakers.
We’ve come to this particular state park a number of times now and it always proves to be a nice break from the routine of chores, work, and electronics back home. A wide array of colorful wildflowers dot the many hills of sand amongst thousands of acres of tall conifers; and Poison Ivy trail comes by its name naturally. In a playful manner sunsets seem magical, although I know it’s really God’s hand at a work of art. Finding time for relaxation, writing, and Bible reading always seems to occur effortlessly for me when visiting this home away from home.
Some of our most favorable memories as a family can be traced back to four-wheeler tracks left on a sandy, winding trail at this campground…
I recall one time when we pulled along side a sand-covered path to enjoy a picnic. While I made sandwiches the kids picked up large pieces of tree bark and began using them as shields as they pretended to play a game of what must have been ‘Knights in Shining Armor.’ My son chose what he thought would make the best shield of all, but upon examining it further we all laughed hysterically when we realized he was actually holding a hardened “cow-pie”.
…Fast-forward a few years to the bittersweet outting I’m referring to as I write (Labor Day weekend 2017)— I felt a strong urgency to make every endeavor of having a good time, hence the reason for my silly comment to my bubbly passengers.
To be honest, at times I get stuck in discouragement realizing that my kids are growing up and this was one of those instances where I was struggling with those depressing thoughts. The problem is I focus too much on time quickly passing by, rather than soaking-in the moments of precious memories with these kids. Inevitably though, the years of camping and four-wheeler riding in the sand hills along with every day fun spent together as a family will cease as they mature and go out to experience life on their own and frankly this thought doesn’t settle well with me!
Realistically speaking, when I find myself tormented by these feelings I realize it’s Satan trying to swoop in and steal the joy I experience with the family God has blessed me with. To counteract this false logic Satan longs to impress on me, I have to remind myself that God’s desire for me is to find peace through Him (Romans 15:13).
These years on earth are temporary and pass quickly; I want to do everything possible to live in a way where I bring glory to God by what I say, do, and think (1 Corinthians 10:31). True lasting joy comes when I place my faith in the Lord daily and seek Him wholeheartedly. If I allow Satan to intervene without considering God’s truth I’m left standing at the risk of not enjoying the life God has graciously given me.
Even though my kids are growing up at a rapid rate I need to appreciate every minute I have with them without allowing Satan to interrupt. Life experiences and mine and my husband’s Godly influence will help mold these children. Through prayer, God’s word, and His grace-filled love I am reminded that He has chosen us as their parents.
Maintaining a positive perspective and watching my son and daughters grow in the Lord and love Him on their own will make every moment I spend with them worth it as I focus my attention to them rather than a swirling clock-hand. And if it includes shouting silly comments from the seat of a four-wheeler to keep this optimistic attitude then I’m in. I want my children, and my husband and I to be able to reflect back on these years we’ve spent together as welcoming ‘hill climbs’ in our growing faith.
**UPDATE..Below are some pictures from our most recent camping experience, Labor Day weekend 2018… amazing how God works, I was able to fully enjoy my time this particular outting without dwelling on how quickly the time passes;)