Stay Calm. Stay in Prayer. The Sky isn’t Falling.

 
  

    

I dreamed about the end-times again last night. My dream included a sky of funnel-like clouds that dipped into every inch of a dark sky. A dreadful dreamer, I was at college, unprepared for some big assignment I knew nothing about. 

– A cataclysmic storm and the old “un-prepared at college” dream? Gosh I’m a bummer. 

Our professor had given us a mid-class break so the class was outside. The funnel clouds produced war-like spaceships that quickly invaded the air above head. Everybody ran and took shelter. Aliens (I guess ?) proceeded to zap everybody in sight with some sort of gun that turned us into zombies.  
 
…..And I don’t even watch Sci-Fi. 
 
I’m assuming I dreamed this because of my remark just the other day that my reaction to undesired events is like that of Chicken Little. Bet I’m not the only one.  I act like the sky is falling. I overreact. I speak hopelessly and then hide (like I did in my dream). 

Another response to yucky stuff involves some sort of a rescue plan. I’ve got to fix the wrongs. 

Other times I get angry and sulk, or lash out. 


I usually wait until I become desperate before I throw my hands up to the one above my falling sky
; the one who has set the moon and stars in their place. 
 
The last two weeks has been full of undesired events thanks to the Supreme Court and the derision found in a litany of FB comments thereafter (Add the confederate flag debate and Facebook has been a war zone).  We’ve had a nine-year-old with multiple bacterial infections, including pneumonia, with symptoms ranging from daily fever and vomit, pain and lethargy to asthma attacks and hives. There have also been a couple of other personal sad occasions. 
 
I’ve given time the past few days to think not so much about my feelings regarding these events, but more to my actual response. I’m being reminded that my response says much (maybe more)about my faith than my stated beliefs no matter how many times I express what I believe. 

The way I act, especially following bad times, either confirms my faith or shows a lack of it. 
 
Scripture today has given me a firm path to set my feet back on. God has a good word for the anxiety and anger that so easily well up in this heart of mine AND the spirit I find crushed in tough times. 
 

The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
 
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken spirit and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:17
 
He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds Psalm 147:3

 
That makes me think we can expect (not welcome, but expect) that our hearts will be sick and burdened sometimes. These occasions God has said he will attend. 
 

Do not be anxious about anything. Philippians 4:6
 
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful,for building others up according to their needs, that may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:26
 

Trust in the Lord
….. Proverbs 3:5
 
….man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires…… James 1:20
 
An anxious heart weighs a man down…. Proverbs 11:25
 
Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32

 
It’s expected that we’ll be angry, but God tells us that our anger “does no good”. Likewise the only good outcome of worry is recognition that we are powerless without God. 

I’m finding the more passionately I feel about a matter the more my response ought to be measured carefully in prayer before responding outwardly even in cases where I’m sure I’m speaking on God’s behalf. 
 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxieties on him…. be self-controlled and alert… 1Peter 5:6-8

 
When your heart is broken,  God is near.  
 
Cast your cares, your troubles on the Lord. God is near. 
 
-Your anger too. He’d rather you give it to him than you use it, venting foolishly or thinking his cause is furthered in fury. 

God is near. 
 
I’m also reminded to give thanks. 
 

The LORD is my strength and shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy [even in times of grief,….maybe a little leap, but it leaps] and I will give thanks…. Psalm 28:7

Here are a few of the day’s thanks:
 
Rylie’s out of bed today feeling much better. 
     

   My cousin and his wife are expecting quadruplets in January. 

God is still on the throne. 

I’m not in college. 

It’s summer. 

The Supreme Court hasn’t made a ruling today.  

The sky isn’t falling.

 In fact, the sun has shone all day. 

 

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Project 1100- Seeking Beauty in the Journey

  
It’s eleven-hundred and something miles to South Fork, Colorado. Traveling that far is difficult. Add difficulty for each kid due to limited space, competition for talk time, bathroom stops and spills. Speaking of spills, vomit joined our journey about an hour out. And did I mention bathroom stops? Rylie has had a UTI requiring more bathroom stops than usual. 

My mom taught me to have snacks, paper towels and bags full of entertainment handy for long road trips. There’s no preparing for some things the journey brings. 

Jason has taught me to keep my eye on the prize. Like Dory, “Keep on swimming, swimming, swim-ming” (or driving in our case).  Behind the wheel he’s a man on a mission. But what do you do when your mission is thwarted with illness and car trouble?

You change your perspective on what the prize is. You chill out a little, ignore the lemon-scented Clorox smell that fills the air, and you distract yourself from the things that aren’t going the way you planned. 

Best of all, you seek beauty

About four-hundred miles into the trip I got smart. I challenged myself to take one picture every hundred miles of the eleven-hundred trip. I’d forgotten my camera (amongst other things) at home so I just used my iPhone. I would then post each photo on Instagram with the hashtag project 1100. 

I began looking out my window searching for something spectacular to snap a picture of, but the project started in North Texas. All I saw was red dirt………….except for a sign on the side of the road. I quickly pressed the button on my phone for my first #project1100 picture. 

  
Who would have thought I’d appreciate an old “Peaches” sign, but I did. The blues and greens seemed to cheer up the dry hard ground.  

I was hooked. I waited impatiently for the next hundred miles to come around hoping that when mile ninety-nine came, another happy subject would be in view.  

   

I snapped again wondering why in the years we’ve traveled this same road have I never thought to appreciate what’s outside my window. 

  
This is when I changed up the rules a little bit. Why only take a picture every hundred miles. The new rule? Take a picture AT LEAST every hundred miles, but take as many as you’d like. 

   
   

Almost all of the pictures were taken through the window because Jason is like the Energizer bunny (He keeps going……) 

I rolled the window down a time or two.  Other times I  pressed the phone to the window avoiding a glare. 

  
A couple of times I reached across the car to capture something on Jason’s side. 

It helped pass the time. But more than that, I noticed things I’ve missed in thirty summers of traveling these roads. I found beauty in places I’ve considered barren. These places were just a part of the journey to “get through” before.   

     We made it to our destination and did the things I’d looked forward to. I feasted on fried burritos and conversation, sitting in a circle behind our cabin. I heard the familiar ring of the bell from the reliable old train that carries kids  (that aren’t darting around on bikes) from a fish pond to the putt-putt-golf place. I handed out quarters for the arcade in exchange for a little kid-free time spent talking with family.  

  

Washing clothes is better with company
  
  
We even found us a food truck
  
 

Our R&R was short-lived. Rylie’s asthma decided to vacation with us. A day and a half in she was pretty much couch-bound.  

A rare moment between sisters

By the third morning we were at a doctor’s office in nearby South Fork. She was having a severa asthma attack in addition to the UTI that’s still sticking around. The doctor told us we needed to get to lower elevation immediately and listed nearby hospitals that were at lowering altitudes. 

We spent more of our days traveling than we did enjoying our destination (five days on the road, three days staying put). 

Isn’t that life for you? 

  

We journey.

  
We hurry to “get there” missing so much along the way.  Sometimes we don’t get to where we planned to go. And even when we do, it’s most often not like we planned. Maybe life would be more fulfilling should we remember what Emerson said. 

Life is a journey, not a destination. 

 
   

It’s a journey with long stretches of road, twists and turns and unimaginable beauty. It’s beauty is accompanied by wonder and longing…and sometimes disappointment. Each part begs us to recognize God; our greatest company in every mile and stay. 

My favorite poet says it best. 

Earth’s crammed with heaven, 
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries. 
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning 

So………

We’re home. 

But the journey continues. 

#project1100

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To my Husband; A Father’s Day Promise

I’ve been collecting my thoughts about you, you being the most important father (and person) in my life. You’re not MY father, you’re my main man. But I’m a star witness to you being Dad to the three runners up for most important people in my life. 
  
For Father’s Day this year I’m giving you something different. It’s not another sappy love post or one that boasts how proud I am of you. (Though I am proud). I’m giving you a gift that keeps on giving.

 I’m giving you a promise; one that I’ll likely fail at. But it’s a promise I’ll renew daily, just like commitments should be.

 It came tumbling over me, in my thinking, just how weighty your job as a father and as a man is.  

 You’re called to lead our flock. We look to you to financially and emotionally support us. I know how exhausting that job is. We expect you, after working long (often stressful) hours at work, to come home with energy to entertain us…or guide us…..or both. 

We want you to joke when we want you to joke and to be able to discern when your joking isn’t called for. We call on you to be the settler of disputes. I ask you to support me in my parenting, requesting clean up on aisle five after a mess has been made by my “moody momming”. 

We need you to be concerned about our day when concern for countless others takes up residence in your mind.  

 
  Somebody asked me once if I had keys to the church. I told them no. I joked that I’m glad not to have them because having extra keys means added responsibility. 

I lose my own keys enough without being accountable for another important set of keys. 

You have that responsibility though. You’ve got a big set of keys in this calling you’ve been given. 

I promise to remember that. 

You’re answerable to many, namely three (most of the time) darlings. 

Here’s what else I promise. 

I promise to reconsider the keys on my own keyring, ridding it of the ones that weigh it down. Because too often I ask you to carry those keys that we don’t even need.  I’ll learn better to say no to things leaving room for better things for us. 

I promise to guard the keys that I do have, protecting our time together at home and at the table. 

We expect unwavering strength in you. We need your unshakable love and commitment. 

I promise to pray that God would give the measure you need of each. 

I’ll remember to remain in prayer for you, calling out to the one who makes the rough places smooth, The Keeper of the Keys. 

For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13

Remind me when I forget. 

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My Father in law, the Legend

For my father in law

…but first, let me back up….

I’m a cradle robber.  Jason will gladly tell you that , though it’s not nearly as bad as he makes it sound. I was a junior in high school when he was a sophomore. He was the first guy I had serious feelings for and I was the first girl he was serious about. That had to have been an adjustment for his family. 

He would basically come straight to my house after football practice and then stay until twelve minutes before his curfew; just enough time to make it home on time, stirring up a massive cloud of dust on the dirt roads between my house and his. 

His dad accepted and included me immediately. I was invited over every week for breakfast before school started.

…….the scrambled eggs that man has fed me. 

He has always been ready to give a compliment and has always been good for exciting conversation. To top it off, he was a local legend always with a story to tell -on and off the mic. 

  

After Jason and I had both graduated from high school, the plan was to go to college, graduate, and then get married. Anxious to start our lives together, Jason and I decided on a different plan. Without having a lot of important ducks in a row, we decided to get married one year after high school, two years for me. 

 

Jason’s High School Graduation
 
 
Hayden’s Graduation
 

We were planning a wedding Jason’s first year of college without having given much thought on the marriage or how we’d financially support ourselves. We just knew we wanted to be together. 

I’ll never forget the first time Jason’s parents came to Canyon (where Jason and I were attending college) after we got engaged. I knew, probably at least subconsciously, his parents were probably thinking of those ducks we were leaving out of row. 

Shortly after his parents arrived, Jason’s dad called me out in the hall. (Boy was I nervous.) He asked to see my ring and in few words expressed his love and support. 

I knew then that I was privileged to be gaining two awesome men in my life. 

Paul, my father-in-law is tops. He has been from the start. From making sure I held Hayden’s head stable during his first newborn bath at home to saying “You’re doing a good job” along the way when I need it the most, he’s a great help. He and my mother in law (she’s super too) are a constant support.  

To my Father-in-law:

You’re an awesome egg maker. Your steak’s not so bad either. You get creds for Hayden’s top-notch storytelling skills and the way he can strike up a conversation with any old Joe. You’re one of the men in Hallie and Rylie’s lives who serves as an example of a good man. You’re the kind of grandpa worthy of wearing the #1 Grandpa hat. You’re more fun than a barrel of monkeys. The things I see in Jason that came from you are things I’m thankful for, one example is that fun-loving nature. (You also both grow impressive facial hair). I married well when I married Jason. 

I’m thankful that getting you as a father-in-law was part of the deal. 

  

Happy Father’s Day weekend to the best Father-in-law a girl could ask for

Love is patient, love is kind… Thanks for being both.

  

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For my Dad, The Eagle

For my Dad

 

Dad and just a few of his girls
perspicacity-(noun) keenness of mental perception and understanding; discernment

I just learned that word. I sounded it out syllable by syllable.  I discovered it while searching for the symbolism of the eagle.  Let me explain.

With Father’s Day upon us I was thinking of my dad and a conversation we’ve had more than once.  We talked flying dreams and how they differed amongst dreamers. One person dreams they can fly with ease. They just levitate and then soar wherever they desire. Sounds freeing.

I’ve had several dreams about flying. The one I can remember though, was a dream where I could fly, but only on a carpet. I had to keep it with me wherever I went. I was a psychology major when I started college so I look to deeper meaning even when it’s probably not there. In my talk with my dad I concluded the “flying with aid only” dream must represent my codependent nature.

My dad said he had a flight dream, but he had to flap really hard. It was WORK.  This sent us into a conversation about birds and what kind we’d be.

Dad decided-

“I’d be a buzzard because a buzzard sails without flapping much.”

I’d never had a pleasant thought about buzzards. My buzzard sightings are usually unfortunate. I usually meet the beasts in the road feasting on road kill.  A buzzard met my windshield one time. I suspect he was being greedy after having watched all the other buzzards move off the road; either that or he had terribly slow reflexes.

My dad isn’t a buzzard. He could never be a buzzard.

He works too hard. 

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Colossians 3:23

Whether it was teaching us kids to ride a bike, drive a standard,or play basketball, Dad taught us to give it our all.

He wasn’t concerned that we were the best at it, just that we did our best. 

He’s unlike a buzzard, ugly up close. Dad’s a beautiful soul.  I’ve never not-thought that. Even in my moody teenage years he encompassed virtue. Integrity sums up his character. He’s a rock. He is strong with a kind heart. He’s honest; compassionate without giving to flattery. He sticks to his moral principles in times where morals shift.

If you look closely at my dad’s hand you’ll see a scar. I can’t see that it’s ever faded.  The scar comes from a serious burn from when he was little.  That scar looks exactly like an eagle.

Nope.  You’re no buzzard.

In my intent watching I insist you’re an eagle; like the buzzard they soar.  Maybe to some you do soar effortlessly. But more importantly is what you see up close. You are the embodiment of perspicacity (thought I wasn’t going to back to that, did you?).

You’re understanding is beyond compare.  Your advice is welcome and even sought after by many. This understanding is evidenced by the many that come to you to be ministered to-be it on the bus or at your shop. You seek out the downtrodden.  You’re a friend to everybody and you’re fatherly to many, but I’m lucky to call you MY dad….

I say you’re an eagle.

…those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles. Isaiah 40:31

Love you Pops!!

Happy Father’s Day


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Love the One You’re With

  
The “Middle Child” and “The Milk Guzzler” are gone. 

Hayden is on his first cruise.   He and nine other graduates (along with five sets of parents- thank goodness) are on a ship headed toward Mexico. The gulf will never know what hit it after having met Tropical Storm Bill only to turn around and meet Hayden and friends.  

I made Hayden agree to follow one rule. 

Have fun as long as what you’re doing doesn’t negatively affect the emotional or physical health of you or anyone around you. 

He thought that sounded like a lot of rules. I was proud I thought of that. 

Hallie is at my parents house. We sent her back with them after Hayden’s graduation. She’s already asked for a puppy. Days later she sends me a picture of a kitten wrapped in a blanket. She’s named him Cleo. I had to say no from four hundred miles away. Guess I should have given her and my parents a rule too. 

This means Rylie is geographically an only child this week. I was going to get a lot done this week. 

She thinks she’s in heaven, having our undivided attention. The girl has plans; plans that I’m finding, are better than the ones I had. 

When you’re with just one you can do all kinds of things that are harder to do with three. 

Rylie and I made a fort (which we forgot to take down before it rained). It was a good old fort and I got a picture of it. Now, years later, the picture will play tricks on her memory and she’ll think I was fun like that even though this is probably the first time she’s experienced an handmade outside fort (sad, huh?).

With one kid you can splurge on those Honeycrisp apples at the supermarket knowing they won’t have all been eaten before nightfall. They’re too expensive to disappear that fast. 

You can buy Rainier cherries for the same reason. I bought them yesterday and there’s still a few left. Rylie and I practiced tying the stem in a knot with it in our mouth. (I’m pretty sure Rainier cherries have shorter stems-in other words, we weren’t that successful). I put fancy fruit in my basket full of groceries and my bill was still cut in half. 

We played Scrabble. 

I taught Rylie how to start the car while we were at HEB to get the air going. With three, my mind never thinks a step ahead like that. 

We sang songs.

We took a long walk at Doornbos park and fed the ducks, a squirrel and some creepy, aggressive birds.  

   
 We made smoothies so thick and cold we gave ourselves a brain freeze; all this (except for the fort) in a day. 

I was a sucker at one of the mall kiosks. For six dollars she got to ride a horse in the mall for fifteen minutes!!  

 Moments to remember. 

Hallie’s been gone over a week. Thank goodness for texting. 

When we dropped Hayden off for his trip, we got back in the car and noticed that quiet was our new companion. Rylie, referring to her rotten big brother, said, “I’m going to miss that guy’s shenanigans”. 

Truth be told, I do too. I miss the two big ones. 

But I’m remembering how important it is to get to hang out with each one when given the chance. And even when the chance doesn’t fall in your lap to spend some time one-on-on, it’s beneficial to make time and give your kid your undivided, attention. They deserve some unfrazzled you. I’m reminded to make that happen. 

Love the one you’re with. 

And make time to be with the one you love

I’ve said, “Make time to date your man”. 

Date your kid too. 

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. -Stacia Tauscher

Fruit Smoothie Recipe

  

I banana

2/3 cup pineapple (or other) fruit juice

1TB (or so) Orangejuice

1 TB milk 

1 cup yogurt 

1 cup frozen fruit (So far we’ve tried mixed berry, strawberry and mango) 

A handful of ice (if you want the brain freeze). 

*I must be ill, I almost forgot the sugar. 1 (or 3) teaspoons of sugar

Put it in the blender and share with your date. 

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Respect (Consider, Regard, Honor)                                                                                                      Why it’s a Tough Thing to Practice and Why I Think It’s Necessary

respect: to treat or deal with (something that is good or valuable) in a proper way 

And as you wish others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31

I remember clearly one of the last nails in the coffin of my full-time teaching profession. My second grade class had just returned from PE. 

Coach ordered two of the boys to sit out at recess. According to the coach, boy #1 was scooping sand between his legs while standing. Some sand hit boy #2 in the face. Boy #2 proceeded to spit in boy #1’s face. When the time came to sit out, boy #2, the spitter, refused to sit out.

 I suggested we call home to share this news with his parents. This ended up being one of the worst ideas I’ve had to date.  His dad answered the phone. I quickly shared what had transpired and how coach had requested he (and “the sand thrower”) have some time to sit out at recess. I shared his refusal to sit out.  His dad answered with a profanity-laced rant affirming that his kid would not be sitting out because ‘if he had in fact spit in someone’s face, he had a perfectly good reason’. 

I have since then witnessed kids telling teachers “they don’t have to!” and kids crawling under desks or tables or running around when an adult has told them to get in their seat. My own kid recently shared they didn’t understand why they needed to say “yes ma’am” when answering a question. 

Let me say that I love kids. I love their spontaneity and spunk. I love to listen to their stories that have unexpected twists and turns. I admire their honesty even when it’s at the expense of me and my new hairdo. 

But kids in general are less respectful these days.   Kids are a product of what they’re taught, but moreso of what is modeled. 

  

And let’s face it. The “Father of the spitter” isn’t the only parent not adequately modeling respect. 

We’re too busy to be respectful. 

Myself included, we’re busy people…… Too busy to take the time to assign value to people. So we rush, letting the door close on the elderly gentleman slowly shuffling behind us.  We cut someone off  in traffic (Oops! Sorry.) because we have somewhere we have to get. We avoid the church member in Academy because we don’t have time for conversation. We ask and answer the question “How are you?” disenigenously without giving the person we pass the time of day.  

We’re too distracted. 

iPads, iPhones and hand-held gaming devices keep us from making eye contact with people when we’re having conversation (if we’re having conversation). I’m guilty of this. 

We’re too frustrated to be respectful. 

Facebook frustrates me. I still have an obsession with reading the news which is often slanted. Worse, I read the comments which are written by people who are talented at being vulgar and hateful. I show restraint by not typing my comment, but instead share my response to whatever family member is closest by.  It’s usually not nice. I’d say it’s not respectful. With my words I devalue the person who has spoken in ignorance or spite.

Maybe the person whose comment is my aim didn’t hear what I said, but too often my kids witness my lack of respect. 

I’ll shamingly share that I’ve openly vented about teachers (or on one occasion a coach) in front of my kids.  A coach had called Hayden a  name on the court loud enough for me to hear. I unleashed my fury in the car. Rylie, who was four at the time, chimed in from the backseat: 

“Ok guys, on the count of three say it with me.  Let’s ruin coach’s life!”

Not respectful. 

And here’s the biggie-

We don’t show respect because people don’t “deserve”our respect. 

(People like that coach)

We seem to hold the idea today that respect MUST be earned. Foolish people don’t deserve it. Unfair people aren’t worthy of it nor those we deem ignorant.  

It’s easier to show respect 

– to individuals who make us feel good about ourselves  (We totally respect people who give us compliments.) 

-when we’re not challenged (It’s much easier to show respect to people who share our beliefs than it is to people who ruffle our feathers) I find it easier to respect people who are pro-life and people who are against legalizing marijuana. 

-to those who have built-in status (like the mayor or military personnel or people in positions we admire) 

-on a good day  (When we’re having “a bad day” neither our husband who forgot to pick up his socks, nor the innocent cashier at Burger King who isn’t responsible for the onions we found on our burger is deemed worthy of our respect.)

Respect doesn’t have to be earned. We are people of grace. 

Showing respect is a behavior more than a feeling. 

Showing respect has more to do with the one offering respect than it does the recipient. 

Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers… 1 Peter 2:17

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.  In your teaching show integrity, seriousness. Titus 2:7

We can show consideration to those who lack integrity. We can still behave respectfully  when someone has hurt us or (this is hard to swallow) when they have hurt our children. 

This means we respectfully act , respectfully respond and, when necessary, we respectfully disagree.

 And we can teach our children to do the same, doing our part to create future adults of integrity. 

Once again, I’m thankful for grace in my failings. 

Lord help me to extend grace (in the form of respect) to others. 

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A Thursday for Your Thoughts; The Art of Life (by Jennifer Brown)

The Science of Sea Glass and Art of Life

by Jennifer Brown
Since I was a child I have regarded stained glass, especially with the Sun’s light gleaming through, a beautiful sight to behold. Adding color to everyday common glass and arranging the pieces in a way that symbolizes a story has always intrigued me. It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words.

A few years ago I became interested in creating mosaics … and discovered sea glass.

  
Worn by years in the salty waves and surf, sea glass is nature’s way of recycling man’s garbage, transforming discarded trash into a lovely beach gem that is used to make jewelry and art. A chemical reaction occurs between the glass and the salty water that changes the once clear fragment into a pitted, frosted appearance. The constant tumbling in the surf rounds the sharp, jagged edges. ‘Sea glass’ can be manufactured through a process within an hour or two and sold for quite a reasonable price at arts and craft stores, but does not have the authentic texture of true sea glass.

  
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

I reflect on how much we are like a piece of sea glass. We are broken through the trials of life, choices, and relationships. God’s word, the example of Christ, and the Holy Spirit are like the salty water and time renovating our brokenness into something authentically beautiful and valuable. Not valuable in a worldly sense, but for our Father’s kingdom.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Garbage cannot be changed into authentic sea glass without being in the proper environment. Unlike a piece of glass, we have the ability to choose who and what we surround ourselves with. We are gifted with the choice to pray for God’s guidance, wisdom, strength, and grace. Seeking His word and praying for His perfect will and plan for our life will lead us where we are meant to be.

  
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Finding sea glass on the beach is not necessarily simple. You might accidentally happen upon a piece without looking. However, if you are intentional about what you search for, you’ll be surprised how many gems you can collect in an afternoon.

  
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

About Jennifer Brown

  

My friendship with Jennifer dates back to last century. She was my study buddy for all of our Biology classes in college. Not only is she one smart cookie, she can make a mean casserole. Two of the very first dishes I ever learned to cook were her recipes. She’s a spirited teacher (lucky kids), a devoted wife and mother of two beautiful girls (lucky Doug and lucky girls) and she’s a treasured friend (lucky me). Did I forget to mention that she loves Jesus? That’s the most important part.  She’s one of the warmest people you could ever meet. So be glad that you’ve now met. 

If you’re interested in writing a guest post for “A Thursday for Your Thoughts” on God’s Girlies send me an email. Tell us a story, lend us your thoughts, share a brilliant idea or a simple recipe. Or you can send me an email just to chat. Caring means sharing. 

kristiburden@gmail.com


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Happy Trails (til we meet again)

This was taken on our honeymoon in 1995, (twenty years ago if you’re not  quick with Math). Looking at those fresh faces I thought,……. if “experienced us” could hang out with “newlywed us”, what would we say? 

  
We’d tell ourselves

Enjoy the Bologna and sunflower years. Your bank account will be meager, when it’s existent, and a typical meal will be a bologna sandwich or Spaghettios. That’s ok. You can eat that stuff now and your waistline will be totally uninfluenced (That won’t always be the case).  You’ll get tired of eating the same old cheap and convenient cuisine but you’ll be satisfied nonetheless. “Love is all you need”.  

Life is simple. 

 In the beginning, the things of life will fit -each in its proper place; like those black and white checked sunflower placemats with matching cloth napkins Meme made

……and that giant sunflower arrangement that decorates the middle of the sturdy  old table you inherited from Granny. (We still use that table).  You have everything “sunflower”, don’t you Kristi? You even wear “Sunflower” perfume. 

Life is sunny. 

 

I still have this sunflower he picked while you kids were dating
 

You’ll both take full loads in school while working. You’ll hang out with your families who live nearby (a lot) and still find time to adore each other like you do now on Sunday nights cuddled on the couch watching the X-Files wondering why Mulder and Scully can’t just quit arguing and profess their love for each so they can work another alien sighting/weird happening without that tension. 

It’s just you two for now. Squeeze all the time you can out of life while you’re alone. Sit beside him in the truck. You’ll trade that Dodge you’re so proud of to save on gas and make room for a car seat.  The Burden two will grow to five in the next thirteen years. 

 Your love for the three Burden additions will be foreign to anything you’ve yet to experience. To borrow from Max from “Where the Wild Things Are”, you’ll want to “eat [them] up you’ll love [them] so”. 

Once you’ve held each of them in your arms for the first time you’ll never be without them; even when you get a sitter or they go to visit the grandparents. They’ll ALWAYS be on your mind. On dates you’ll be talking about how close they are to taking their first step or sharing your amazement on how they pretty much went from eighteen month clothes to 2T skipping twenty four months. 

On later dates you’ll talk about their grades, how disgusting they keep the bathroom and how you caught them all three hanging out together and didn’t hear a single insult. 

The good news is you’ll never stop dating.  Committing to dating will be one of the best ways to battle the ‘busy’ that silently invades marriages. I know. I know. Commit makes it sound so routine; forced.  You get to fly by the seat of your pants right now. Quicker than you expect, you’ll outgrow your flying pants. 

Plan your dates. 

Stay up late on Fridays, or any other day you feel like it. Down the road you’ll be wanting to go to bed at nine, or whenever it gets dark. 

The three bonus Burdens you’ll meet are a big part of the reason why you tucker out before ten and strangely, they’re also the reason you’re up sometimes at two and can’t sleep. They’ll make you gray from worry, but your heart will grow a thousand sizes. 

Sleep in on Saturdays. 

 Because when you’ve been married for twenty years like us you’ll be up at the crack of dawn even on the weekend because of the full day ahead and because  your body will be trained in getting up early by that point.

Enjoy your cheap pillows and your easy sleep. In twenty years it will take six pillows from Bed, Bath and Beyond to aid your rest which will still be interrupted by coughing kids, middle of the night stomach viruses and restlessness. 

Helpful hint: At some point in your marriage you’ll both be snorers. Whoever gets to sleep first has the advantage. Because whoever sleeps first, snores first, making it a little harder for whoever’s still awake to find rest in the noise. Slightly nudging the snorer will usually you give a five-ten second reprieve, but that’s about it…….. Of course you’d never think of poking asleep each other now. 

Laugh. Laugh with each other. Learn to laugh at each other. Life gets too serious quick. Worry, a different kind from the kind you know now, makes itself a part of the family DNA before the babies even come along, and especially after they’re here. Laughter is the best arsenal. 

Well, except for prayer. You guys don’t pray that much together yet. With each year that passes you’ll better understand your need not only for prayer, but how very desperate you become for more of God in your life and in your marriage. 

You’ll learn how gracious God is. You’re starting out thinking you’ve got this thing called life figured out. Most days you’ll know better.  Marriage will find its harmony when you understand that even though y’all were smart enough to pick each other out, you’ll need help living in holy matrimony. 

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

The equation where God is first, works out much better than the equation you have now where he’s a variable that sometimes you include and other times leave out. 

It’s a good thing you’ll be leading the youth there in Iredell soon. You’ll have no idea what you’re doing.  We have a thing called Facebook now that you should be mighty glad hasn’t been invented yet. Facebook would have loved to have a picture of the night you (Jason) will put your foot down, literally…..on the back of Josh’s head while he crawls around on the floor interrupting your lesson. 

Due to the archaic times you’re living in, you’ll be spared being outed online when you drive the wrong way on a one-way busy street with a van full of teens in Mexico.  (#we’regoingtodie, #tellmymomiloveher). It wasn’t really that bad. 

Anyway, I’m glad you’ll choose to obey, serving in a capacity where you feel inadequate. God is going to use that obedience to shake your world soon. Your family will grow not only by three. You’ll add to your family by the hundreds as you serve in church In the years to come. 

There’s no way we’d have trusted our kids to go with you to Mexico. But y’all end up making it just fine.
 

I know you’re probably looking at us with our aged faces and much thicker waistlines wondering what we can offer besides some spilling of the beans on your future. (By the way, what do you think of Jason’s beard?).  

We don’t have so much to offer. The older I get the more I know that I don’t know. Much of life is still a mystery.   But we leave you with the promise that your future is beautiful. 

Not every day of marriage will be easy like it is these “sunflower” days you’re living. Right now you’re crazy about each other. There will be days you’re crazy…..Period. 

There will be trials and victories, blunders and bliss mixed in with the mundane. “These” are the ‘days of our lives’ (By the way, You can go ahead and stop watching that garbage. Your own story will be better than Bo and Hope’s). 

Believe it or not,  you’re going to love each other more deeply than you do now. The hugs will still come when Jason walks through the front door every afternoon. Everyday will be filled with “I love yous”. You’ll still be best friends. You’ll never lose your love for the 90’s greats like “Dreams” by the Cranberries, but you’ll also add a hundred new love songs. 

Twenty years from now love will STILL be in the air. 

Gosh it’s good to see you again. 

Happy Trails. 

Jason, 

You’re still the one my soul loves. Happy 20th anniversary. 

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The Last Sappy Graduation Post (for Hayden and anyone who will still read these)

 

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.  Ecclesiastes 3:4

 

I remember the first time you were whisked away from me.

You were approximately thirty minutes old; ten wrinkled, tiny toes and a head full of fine baby hair.

I’d got to hold you in my arms for a few minutes, but before I knew it, your dad had scooped you up and exited the room along with the nurses.

I knew where they’d taken you. A crowd of merrymakers were waiting in the hall to see you in all your newness.

Your debut consisted of an onslaught of aggressive camera flashes and fawning family members.

Your dad held you up like a young king who would someday rule the world. I can imagine it was something like Rafiki did when he presented Simba to the pride. I’m only guessing.

I wouldn’t know.

You see, I was still stuck in the delivery room, by MYSELF. After minutes that seemed like hours of being left alone; you taken from me, I had DECIDED to join the party. But there was a problem.

I put my weight on my hands and scooted to the edge of the bed. Something didn’t feel right. My legs weren’t working. Still I tried until the nurses came in reminding me that I was immobile due to the epidural I had gotten to help me through the thirty-second hour of labor (had to throw that in).

I was the one who carried you for eight months and three weeks. I was the one who labored to get you here. And now it seemed I was the ONLY one who wasn’t bursting with excitement in the hallway. 

For a moment I felt left behind and quite unable to position myself in that happy place with those people in the hall.

I had the same feeling rush over me earlier this week in the parking lot of Hobby Lobby. I’d just experienced an unsuccessful attempt at buying party supplies for your graduation party and decorations for your senior table. I sat in the car bummed at the lack of shopping bags and bummed still, that you’re graduating in the first place.


I thought about who I could text.

-that would be by their phone to provide instant comfort because they understand where I’m coming from

-and that I haven’t already exhausted with “I’m so sad he’s graduating” texts.

It pretty much excluded everybody, because here’s the thing-

Everybody else is already in the “celebration hall”. You’re there with them. You’re all more than fine with this thing. Your dad is doing his “Rafiki bit” thinking about what bright things lie ahead and I’m still trying (unsuccessfully) to join in.

THAT’S the thought I had earlier this week, but…

I’m making a choice to work myself out of my grief-stricken immmobility, because under the layers of “the last this, the last that” and the slew of tear-inducing pictures of Hay Hay (as we used to call you)……I’m happy.

I’m happy that we made it through Algebra II and the parent portion of driver’s ed. I’m proud that I see a guy who’s developed a great work ethic and a bright outlook for his future. Standing before me is a boy who solemnly swore “that it would never be uncool to hug his mom”. You’ve kept that promise.

I’m going to turn my sadness into gratitude and get happy with the rest of those who are excited at the new chapter ahead. I’m getting ready for the parties.

I’m choosing gratitude………even though I’ve already made this decision about twenty times this year.

I’ll choose gladness when I find a tear in my eye when I hear you playing “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, and when I think about the milk jug that will probably be lonely in our fridge next August without all its fellow milk jugs that are usually beside it to fill your insatiable thirst. I’ll make my sentimentality a reminder to do so. Because this graduation thing is a good thing, even if it makes me sappy.

So congratulations! Let’s do this thing.

I’ll meet you in the hallway to celebrate. 

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