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Friday, August 10, 2018

5 Friday Favorites: August 10, 2018

Happy Friday, Friends. 

It's time for my Friday link up with A Little Bit of EverythingGrace and Love, and Momfessionals

On Fridays I share things that made me happy from the week - a photo, a song, a quote, a beauty product, a recipe, a pair of cute shoes, etc. If it's a product, sometimes it's something I actually own and sometimes something I just saw online that gave me a smile. Sometimes it's serious and sometimes it's silly. I suppose I believe that God is in the simple details of life and yes, I can even find Him in a tube of lipstick! Here are some of my favorite things from this week.

1. A Weekend at the Lake

We've been unable to get to Lake Anna this summer for various reasons, so I'm so excited to get some time there this weekend. We're taking four extra teenagers with us this time and I'm just beside myself with happiness about it. This bunch of guys who've been in and out of my house since they were about seven years old have the nerve to suddenly be rising seniors in high school this year. This is why I will continue to bribe them to hang around with us by buying out aisles 1-12 at the grocery store for the rest of this year. If 17 year old boys who have washboard abs and can still eat like this aren't living their best life, I don't know who is. I think we might need a U-Haul for all the grub.

2. Summer Reading

I've been writing quite a bit this summer and when I am doing that I tend to have to steer clear of reading non-fiction/memoir writing since I start feeling like the worst writer of all time and start thinking that everyone has already written everything I wanted to say and then end up in the fridge deciding that I should just eat some chocolate chip cookie dough for the rest of the day. In speaking with other writers, I find that I'm not alone in that crazy which is comforting, I suppose, but not as comforting as the cookie dough. This is not a healthy way to live.

Anyway, since I don't write fiction myself, this has been a great time for reading some of the new releases for summer.

I have read all of Emily Giffin's books, so I was really excited to see this book All We Ever Wanted had come out just in time for summer. It is definitely not my favorite of her books, but it is a quick read with timely subject matter - especially for those of us raising teenagers. Help us, Lord Jesus.

I've never read a Elin Hilderbrand novel, but it I heard Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy recommend  The Perfect Couple as good read for this summer. I'm *this* close to finishing it and I've enjoyed it - perfect for summertime.

So many people I know have been freaking out about The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. Apparently, I'm one of the few people in all the land who haven't read her book, The Nightingale, so I'm planning to start this one this weekend while we're at the lake.

I'm also hoping to get to the new book by the writer of The Devil Wears Prada. It's called When Life Gives You Lululemons. What else could a girl want in a summer read?

3. Lauren Daigle's New Song

I heard Lauren Daigle interviewed a few weeks ago about her new song and they played it for the first time that day on the radio. I loved it so much and then I was sad because I didn't hear it again for weeks. It seems they just starting playing it across more stations this week and I love it so much. So now I'm not sad. What a beautiful song and an important message.

4. Last Chance U (Season 3)

Ok. I hesitate to add this to the favorites list, but I have to be honest because this show is so compelling to me. Joe and I busted through the new season in about a week. While I can't seem to turn away from it, I really can't with a good conscience recommend it without a major disclaimer about the language. Remember how I told you how much I loved the first and second seasons, but that the language was really, really bad? Well, the coach in the first two seasons looks like Mr. Rogers compared to the new coach in the 3rd season. Y'all. This guy. SO MANY WORDS. SO MANY. Still, this series is about way more than football and it is interesting and heartbreaking and I really like it.  Just be careful if you have little ears around your house or maybe just watch it on your ipad with earbuds. I might send that guy a Costco size box of soap so he can wash his mouth out. Goodness gracious.

5. Little League Baseball
especially our very own Loudoun South Little League
and the 1952 Longview Texas AllStars, of course

What? I'm into baseball? I know this is coming as a shock to you. If you are part of my community you could not have missed the amazing run that our Loudoun South All Star team had. They won the district, won the state, and then rolled all the way to the championship game at the Southeast Regional. They showed up on ESPN and there were watch parties and just a whole lot of freaking out by the fans in the 'hood.

It was just the most thrilling thing. These little boys - some teammates, some neighbors, some long time friends - were living out the dream of so many of our kids, our coaches, our dads and yes, our mamas. After we lost a heartbreaking championship to just barely miss going to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA, a friend told me that someone had mentioned to her that she bet that the mamas were relieved and ready to come home, to which my friend, said, "Um. No ma'am."

I know those mamas and we are all the same. We would gladly give up every second of our summer to watch our boys advance and advance and advance again. It's a specific brand of crazy, but it's my brand of crazy.

I mean, I suppose, that some day I won't find Little League all that big of a deal. I'm sure I'll get over it.

Except, no, I won't.

We play travel and high school and lots of our friends will play college ball and I love it all. But Little League for many is about tradition and nostalgia. Your granddad might not have played college ball, but he very likely played Little League and it seems, at least by my estimation, that those memories don't fade.

Because besides all of the kids and the former Loudoun South players and coaches and moms and dads, there was a 78 year old granddad down in Texas watching every pitch of our Virginia team. He was texting me and even keeping me positive when I was getting worried.

"Don't give up." "A win will still be a win." "Not over yet." "We got em." "WOW. What a play."

I know what my daddy was thinking during that time. He was thinking about his grandsons' playing days, sure. He was thinking about when he coached my brother, sure. But I'm certain that he was thinking of all the memories of when he played for the Longview, Texas AllStar team in 1952. I'm sure he was remembering when they went to the Texas Little League state tournament "way down in San Antone", as he would say. And I'm sure his eyes were shining with the memories of playing ball with his buddies. As James Earl Jones said in Field of Dreams,

"Baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, it's part of our past. It reminds us of all that was once good and that could be again."

Thank you, Loudoun South All-Stars for reminding us all - including the first baseball player I ever loved - of all that is good and that can be again with your incredible run. We are so proud of you.

PS. The shortstop. Top row, third from the left. His eyes are closed because I think he's dreaming big dreams. That's my daddy. The best 12 year old shortstop the state of Texas had ever seen. I'm sure of it. ;-)

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

First, Do No Harm

My pastor's sermon series this month focuses on John Wesley's "Three Simple Rules": Do No Harm, Do Good, and Stay in Love with God.  I've written a devotional to go along with his first sermon on "Do No Harm" which you can find at the link below along with the rest of my writing.

Have a great Wednesday, Friends. :-)

"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend' and it's unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. . . In a word, what I'm saying is Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others. The way God lives toward you." Matthew 5:43,48 -The Message

Many of us have a hard time relating when Matthew talks about "enemies". I rarely sit around thinking about who my enemies might be and if I do, I have a hard time coming up with anyone. In the same vein, when thinking about John Wesley's first simple rule to "Do No Harm", many of us would be quick to say we don't do a whole lot of harm. We aren't cheating on our spouses, abusing our children, dishonest with our business associates, or estranged from our neighbors and families.

And yet, I know that in my real life there are people who I have deeply harmed, whether intentionally or not, and people who have harmed me, whether intentionally or not. Generally, those are people who live inside the walls of my house, attend school, work, and church with me, or live in my community. Most often, they are people I love, cherish, and call my friends.


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Sump Pumps, The Superfreak, & The Southeast Regional: AKA Titles are Hard

Well, Friends, it's been a heckuva a couple of weeks around here.

There was some heavy stuff and some light stuff and to be honest there was a lot of whining because it rained an insane amount here for close to two weeks straight. When there is real grief and also just plain ol' general malaise around here, I take to this little laptop and let my fingers fly about all the big things and the little things and often times, as is likely the case here, the events in my life in which you could not be less interested.

So, now, at the risk of losing some readers, I'm going to tell you a story about the time my husband was out of town for a week and I had to do a lot of adulting that I didn't want to do.

This will require a little background and I'm sure you're just on the edge of your seat. You might recall that back in February our sump pump died and our entire basement was flooded. Or you might not recall because why would you care? Anyway, it did and as you might imagine I look back on that time as such a super fun season in the life of our marriage and our family. I'm certain that it strengthened us in ways that escape me right now, but perhaps I'll understand when I get to heaven.

So when this record amount of rain started to fall a couple of weeks ago, I was bound and determined to never let the basement flood ever again. Every day, many times a day for the past two weeks, I've been running down to the basement, pulling the cover up on the sump pump and peering down into the vast black hole with a flashlight watching the water level and praying to Jesus that the new Fancy Pants pump we'd had installed would keep working. It's just exactly the relaxing laid back summer I had hoped to have this year.

Anyway, a couple of Wednesday nights ago - the fifth night in a row it had been raining - we had some of the biggest downpours we'd gotten all week. As I mentioned, Steve was out of town and the alarms on the sump pump were screaming bloody murder. I looked in the black hole of peril to see that the water level was significantly higher than it had been and was about 6 inches away from starting to pour out onto the basement floor.

At that point, I figured I could either just start bawling my head off or I could try to come up with a solution to keep our basement from flooding again. 

I would like to tell you that I skipped the panic part all together, but alas, I'll point out that for about the first 10-15 minutes, I did, in fact, do the superfreak, call Steve in Atlanta, and commence to just about lose my ever lovin' mind.

Anyway, I realized that it seemed that the sump pump was functioning as well as it could, but it was just getting overcome by the amount of water. I texted Kyle to come home from hanging out with his friends to PLEASE HELP ME BECAUSE AGAIN

At first, we started filling baseball buckets full of water and emptying them into the bathtub. This was neither an enjoyable, nor a sustainable activity.

Then, suddenly it was like I turned into Caroline Ingalls with the grit of a Pioneer Woman and Kyle turned into the Professor from Gilligan's Island with a genius plan. The two of us rigged up the extra pumps we had bought at Home Depot to help supplement the work that our sump pump was doing. What I'm telling you is that there were flashlights and extension cords and busting out of window screens and corrugated pipes running out of the basement window, and hoses running into the bathtub and also a configuration of a bungee cord and a dog leash that I can't adequately explain.

Pause. I'm picturing many of you, dear readers, right now. You're thinking, "Why has she returned here to her blog to talk about plumbing when she didn't mention one peep about the Nordstrom Anniversary sale last week? Why is she not talking about the great deal she got on boots or jeans instead of what she purchased at Home Depot? Whose blog is this? Check, please."

Bear with me. If it helps I will tell you that during this entire ordeal I was wearing the Hunter Rain boots in Glossy Black that I got from last year's sale. You're welcome.

Now let's get back to the fact that what Kyle and I had just done might have gotten us jobs at FEMA.

Soon there were multiple high fives and our collective self-esteem went through the roof. We were very, very impressed with ourselves. One of us made sure to check on our work every hour and half or so all night. I have never been more grateful for FortNite because apparently that game is better than a straight IV of coffee to keep a kid up. Kyle was able to stay up until about 3:00 am and then I set my alarm every hour or so to make sure we weren't going to flood.

The moral of the story is that my 17 year old and I are basically MacGyver-like geniuses and we saved our home and family from great peril. If someone wants to option this story for a Disney film, I will consider your offer. We're pretty sure it will bust all the cinematic records for the rest of time.

Also, just to make this story even more riveting, I'll share with you the photos that I sent to Steve because he kept wanting me to send him these so that he could get a sense of how justified my meltdown was. So I sent him evidence of our genius after using the handy little editing feature on my phone.

Around 2:00 am, I had really started getting a little loopy from shining my flashlight down into that black hole for so long so thought I was being really funny by sending him these photos.

Listen if you're doing this right now, I get it.

I'll admit that these might be completely offensive and inappropriate. So if you're offended I apologize. It's just that I had to make jokes to keep myself from actual breakdown and let's remember that Baby Jessica and the miners are all safe and sound now. Does that make it better?


 Let's move on to the most important thing I need to tell you today.

If you've read this blog long enough you know that Little League has been a gigantic (arguably too gigantic) part of our family's life for a long, long time. Joe was just 6 or 7 when we celebrated the inaugural year of the brand spanking new Loudoun South Little League. After so many years, our Little League days ended last summer when Drew was twelve which commenced a grieving period for me which I'm not sure is complete.

Anyway, if you are a baseball fan at all, go to ESPN tonight at 6:00 pm and find our rock star Loudoun South AllStars making history as they will represent the state of Virginia and play in the Southeast Regional Semi final. Our boys! Right up there on the ACTUAL TV! These boys are lighting our community on fire. We are thrilled and excited and cheering like maniacs for our very own neighbors and friends - many of whom Drew has played baseball or basketball with or gone to school with throughout the past several years. They have set themselves up beautifully to take the Championship and go all the way to Williamsport for the Little League World Series.

It makes me feel pretty much like this.

To my Baseball Mom friends down in Warner Robins today: Have a blast, smile big for that tv camera and soak it all in. I don't mind telling you that I'm so jealous that I could spit nails. I mean not that I really minded rigging up water pumps and hoses while y'all are down there living the dream or anything. ;-)

Thank you, Loudoun South All-Stars, for being a bright light in a pretty dark few weeks around here. Go get 'em, boys. We believe.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A Time to Weep and a Time to Laugh

About four weeks ago, I stood at a bakery and scanned the mountains of pastries and cookies behind the glass looking desperately for the right one. Orange Scones, Bear Claws, Pecan Braids, Cinnamon Rolls. All of them labeled in fancy script. Each of them listing calorie counts and allergy information. Not a one of them labeled "This is what you bring to your dying friend and her family".

I was to knock on her door and sit by her side and make conversation with her - likely for the last time - in exactly ten minutes and there I stood weighing the pros and cons of blueberry muffins and brightly colored sugar cookies in the shape of flowers. It was ridiculous and infuriating to me.

"Oh, who gives a s&8t", I thought.

Yes. I sure did think it. I thought it, but I didn't say it out loud. Does that help?

I grabbed a box containing a giant round cinnamon crumb cake . . . the biggest one I could find, taped closed with a label. At least that label would alert my friend, Cindy, that I didn't bake it myself and this would give her at least some sense of relief. If her brain - which was being attacked by a tumor - could reach back to find the memory of me, she would know that my not having baked this cake on my own would be a bonus for everyone. . . if, in fact, there were any bonuses to be found when one's family room now contains a hospital bed squeezed in next to the fireplace. . . its mantle lined with photos of a time when no one really imagined, despite the diagnosis almost fourteen years before, that these final days would really come.

I spent almost nineteen years as a member of a gaggle of about 15-20 ladies within a less than one square mile section of our town. We effectively raised all of our children together. We baby-sat each other's kids to encourage date nights. We showed up outside in the alley at 3:00 pm on the dot to have the adult conversations we'd craved all day long and watch the kids ride scooters and play kick ball in the street until we had to go in and feed the little buggers. We wiped noses and applied band-aids, no matter whose kid was whose. We swapped maternity clothes and showed up with meals and sat in lawn chairs on hot summer nights. And our sweet, funny, brave friend, Cindy, was always there among us.

As our children got older the frequency of those lazy afternoons in the alley tapered off a bit. We soon had sports practices to get to after school or we had returned to jobs or to other pursuits. And yet we still gathered for block parties and book clubs or ran into each other walking the dog or at Starbucks or church. And we still had a bond that tied us back to those early days when we never imagined a time when someone in the group wouldn't need tips on potty training or how to get our babies to sleep through the night.

So that day four weeks ago, about seventeen years or so since I first met her, I left the bakery and went to Cindy's house. Another member of our posse, Lisa, sat in a chair and I sat on the sofa next to Cindy. She had just woken from a nap, so along with her brother, we helped her sit up.

We were just a few moms just sitting down to chat about our kids as we had so many times over the years. I rambled on and on, as I tend to do. She searched for words. We tried to fill them in for her. We spoke of the high school graduation of her daughter that she had just attended. We had prayed specifically that she would be able to see it and she was thrilled to have been there. We reminisced about when our children were small and how in the world they could suddenly, unbelievably be so big. How could Lisa and Cindy both have sons who would be juniors in high school now and mine would be a senior? How could I have one going into his 2nd year in college and the two of them have children on the way to college this fall? Wasn't it minutes ago that we all sat in the alley watching our children run around with light sabers, dress up as Harry Potter, and race tricycles down the street? We certainly could never have imagined on those long, hot afternoons that one day we'd be moving those little maniacs into dorm rooms.

So, we marveled at the passage of time and yet we never touched the marvel of how in the actual hell this could be happening now. How could we be talking of a future that very likely would not include Cindy?

So we just didn't talk about that. We talked about one of the times I baby-sat her children and when I realized that they had a guinea pig, I just about did the superfreak and thought about spending the rest of the night perched on top of the kitchen table. We talked about how wickedly smart her daughter was and how funny was her son. We talked about when she and her husband won a drawing at a furniture store and ended up with an entire set of furniture for their family room. We covered all kinds of mundane topics. But more than anything else, we simply laughed and giggled and laughed some more.

And that seemed absolutely appropriate for an afternoon with Cindy. You know that friend that makes you feel like an actual real-life comedienne? The one that gets all cracked up at the slightest joke? That is Cindy. And she did it again as we sat there together the last time I saw her. She covered her face with her hand as I have seen her do so many times. She shook with laughter, that hand covering her mouth, her head bent low as if she could not even with how funny we were. And we sat together and laughed just as we had at book clubs and block parties and summer afternoons in the alley a zillion and one times.

So it was that this past Saturday morning when I woke to a text that God had taken Cindy home, surprisingly, I didn't feel anger or bitterness and the image of her that came to my mind was not that of the frail, tired body that had betrayed her. The image I had of Cindy was of the way she laughed. Just as I was picturing her, a friend texted a photo of her doing just that. I grinned through my tears and just started to giggle. Because this was the Cindy I think we all will remember.

But there is one more thing I will remember when I remember Cindy. And that is how fiercely she was loved by her closest circle of friends. I visited her and I took her to a couple of appointments and I brought a couple of meals over the years, but that was a drop in the bucket compared to what her closest girlfriends did. There were women who cared for her so deeply and so ferociously that I will forever be in awe of them.

They waded into the darkest of waters for her and kept her spirit afloat. They made sure she had a comfortable seat at the block parties and that she sure as heck didn't miss out on the appetizers and that her wine glass was full. They fed her chocolate pudding in the hospital and made sure that the nurses kept the warm blankets coming. They turned over every stone to make sure she would have a front row seat at her daughter's graduation. They loved her so beautifully and so relentlessly that I will never forget it.

But more than anything else, they made her laugh. They would say or do anything and everything to make her laugh. And laugh she did.

So as I think of Cindy today, I can't help but think of that tight little tribe of girlfriends. And I imagine their broken hearts and I know that they are suffering greatly today.

But I realize that their pain comes only because love came first. Their sorrow comes only because joy came first. Their emptiness comes only because fullness came first. And more than anything, I know that their weeping comes only because first there was so darn much laughing.

This morning I am reminded of Romans 8:18 which assures us that the suffering of our present is nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. Because I am positive that one day we will see our friend again.

I can picture it so clearly. All of us girls - even if we moved away or lost touch over the years in our time on Earth - will meet up together in the alley of heaven one day. We will bring our lawn chairs, some book ideas for the next book club meeting, our wine, and our chips and salsa. Then someone will say something that's kinda-sorta-maybe not even really all that funny. And we'll look over and see Cindy. She'll raise her hand to her mouth and slightly bend her head and she'll giggle her little head off. And in that moment we'll know that despite all the heartache we felt in the summer of 2018, we were blessed by a good, good God who loved us all so much that He plopped us all down in the same little neighborhood and watched as we loved each other. And we'll sit in our circle of lawn chairs and fill the heavens with a laughter the likes of which the angels have never heard before.

Until that day, sweet Cindy. We will miss you.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

July 2018 Stitch Fix Review

It's Stitch Fix Review Day!

My July Stitch Fix box arrived a few weeks ago and had some great pieces for summer. I kept three of the five items from this one.

If you don't know the deal on Stitch Fix, you can read about it here. My suggestion is to be as detailed as possible when filling out your Style Profile and in making comments to your stylist. Mine have been pretty close to hitting the mark every time.

Here's a look at what I received this month.

Skies Are Blue
Reginald Crochet Detail Top

The color green is about the only bright color I wear and the color of this top is perfect. I love the crochet detailing and the fact that the fit is relaxed without being too boxy. It is a perfect summer top that can be dressed up or down. I think the color is great with gold jewelry and white or blue denim. I've worn this four times in the last few weeks. Perfect.
PS I said "perfect" three times in this paragraph. Someone send me a thesaurus.

Anzen Dress

I believe I've established that I don't consider myself "whimsical" so it's shocking to me that I kept this dress. It's navy blue and printed with flamingos. A dress with flamingos might conjure up images of Mrs. Roper from Three's Company, but when I tried this on, I loved it. The fit is great and I love the hemline - kind of scooped and exactly the right length.

Kind of scooped? I don't know what I mean. I'm not a fashion blogger. I'm just a girl wearing flamingos on her dress asking you to love me.

Sadie & Sage
Patti Printed Short

These were a seer sucker style elastic waist short. They were lined and fit well except they were way too short for my liking. Maybe okay for Fake Daughter, but not for Real Mom in Her VERY Late 40s. I returned these.

Platform Wedges/White Blouse From Target 100 years ago :)/Bracelet/Earrings

Renee C
Lillie Knit Top

I love this tank. I'd say it's a swing top, but without too much fabric, so that it's less swingy. A baby swing, if you will.

Wow. I'm really hitting it out of the park with my impressive prose today, huh? The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale folks will be calling me any minute now to write for their website. It's a lock.

Anyway, this is really soft and comfortable. I love stripes and swings so this was a keep. 

Alice Blue
Miller One Pocket Blouse

This top was fine and good and I'm bored about it. I mean, I guess when you've started wearing flamingos on yourself, maybe you just can't go back to a basic button up one pocket blouse. It was return.

Tom's Wedges Discontinued/Bracelet/Similar Black Shorts/Clutch

That's it for this month. Remember if you want to try Stitch Fix for yourself, click on the word "GO" under the photo below. 

Have a great day!

Friday, July 20, 2018

5 Friday Favorites: July 20, 2018

Happy Friday, Friends. 

It's time for my Friday link up with A Little Bit of EverythingGrace and Love, and Momfessionals

On Fridays I share things that made me happy from the week - a photo, a song, a quote, a beauty product, a recipe, a pair of cute shoes, etc. If it's a product, sometimes it's something I actually own and sometimes something I just saw online that gave me a smile. Sometimes it's serious and sometimes it's silly. I suppose I believe that God is in the simple details of life and yes, I can even find Him in a tube of lipstick! Here are some of my favorite things from this week.

1. JCrew Pajamas (ON SALE!)

I have put myself on a spending freeze lately. I'll have you know that this is happening right in the middle of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, so if you'll keep me in your prayers that would be great. Although, I do want point out that more often than not, I feature things on this blog that I never actually buy, but just think are cute and I love to share the cuteness with my readers. However, I do actually own these pajamas which I bought a couple of months ago when they were 40% off. Also, if you must know, our A/C wasn't working then, so I really felt like I needed shorts/short sleeves to sleep in at night, making this purchase more about survival than really anything else. They are so soft and fit great and come in three different colors. Today they are 30% off with the code FRIDAY.

2. Drunk Girl by Chris Janson

Don't let the title turn you off. I know. I felt the same way. I heard this song last week and when I initially heard the chorus, I started to be all appalled about it. Then in the midst of clutching my pearls in horror, I actually listened to the lyrics and got choked up. It takes a minute to get it, but I really appreciate the writer of this song and how he approached this. It's a very sweet and meaningful song and certainly conveys the compassion that I believe many men can and do have, despite the ones who get the most press coverage. 

3. Feta Black Bean Dip

photo from

This is one of my favorite summer recipes that I found years ago on a blog called Fly Through Our Window. It makes a TON so unless you're hosting the entire neighborhood, I'd say just half it. 

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 15 oz. cans Shoepeg corn, drained and rinsed
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 8 oz. block feta cheese, crumbled

Whisk sugar, apple cider vinegar, and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Add beans, corn, scallions, cilantro, and cheese and mix well. Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos.

4. Listening to Your Life by Frederick Buechner

I know I have suggested about ten devotionals here on this blog, but I really can't get enough of them. My mom sent me these daily meditations years ago and consistently sends me quotes from many of Beuchner's books. My friends and I thought raising toddlers was hard. Physically, yes. Mentally and emotionally, many of us have decided that raising teenagers takes the cake. I thought this was a brilliant insight from Beuchner on our adolescents and how difficult this time can be. Even when it's practically impossible and we need to do it with gritted teeth and clenched fists, we have to try to give them some grace, mommas. This passage was so convicting for me this week:

The ancient druids are said to have taken a special interest in in-between things like mistletoe, which is neither quite a plant nor quite a tree, and mist, which is neither quite rain nor quite air, and dreams, which are neither quite waking nor quite sleep.

Adolescents can have the same glimpse by looking in the full-length mirror on back of the bathroom door. The opaque glance and the pimples. The fancy new nakedness they're all dressed up in with no place to go. The eyes full of secrets they have a strong hunch everybody is on to. The shadowed brow. Being not quite a child and not quite a grown-up either is hard work, and they look it. Living in two worlds at once is no picnic.

5. This Precious Photo From Twitter

Now that you're all weepy and emotional about your teenager, I present you this photo that I saw on Twitter last week that gave me all the feelings. It's apparently from 1955 and titled "A Few Seconds Before Happiness."

You're welcome.

Have a great weekend, Friends!

Disclosure: The View From Behind Home Plate is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn small fees by linking to Post might contain other affiliate links as well.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Listening for the Still, Small Voice

Hi, Friends,
I've been writing devotionals for my church, Arcola United Methodist, for the past year or so. This summer our pastor has been speaking on Sacred Characters. Here's a look at what I think the Lord wanted to teach me through the story of Elijah. You can start here and finish up at the link I provide. Also, once you're there, I highly recommend a listen to our wonderful pastor's sermon on Elijah by clicking on the "Watch" icon in the top right corner.
Have a great Thursday!

The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, 'What are you doing here Elijah?"

I've been praying for a long, long time. I've prayed as a young girl, as a confused teenager, and as an even more confused full-fledged grown-up. I've waited upon the Lord, begged for grace, pleaded for answers, and stormed heaven for healing of family and friends. To this day, I've yet to see a lightening strike or a parting of the clouds with a sign from God. I've never woken from a prophetic dream or heard a distinct booming voice in my ear knowing in an instant that it was Him. I think we all want to hear from the Lord in a way that is loud and magnificent. I'm still holding out hope that this will happen for me some day and I don't doubt it can. Sure would be cool.

Still though, based on this scripture and based on my own personal experience, I know that despite the lack of a grand miraculous event, I have absolutely heard from Him. And every single time I would describe it as a gentle, yet persistent nudging. I have not heard a loud declaration from Him in an instant, but in a series of small moments of a quiet voice over time. I can look back over a period - sometimes months, sometimes weeks, sometimes hours - and realize that He was there giving me direction, hope, clarity and often times conviction all along. And then at once, I put them all together and know what He wants to say to me.

The thing is that the revelation that He has been speaking all along only comes when I am being consistently intentional about my relationship with Him. When I'm multi-tasking and checking off lists and scrolling instagram and turning completely inward to my schedule and my agenda and even my laundry list of prayer requests, He might be speaking, but I will not hear Him.