A Love Note: For My Prince Charming

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“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.”
― Plato

“I ask you to pass through life at my side—to be my second self, and best earthly companion.”
— Charlotte Brontë , Jane Eyre

I’ve been married for almost a third of my life.

I remember what it was like all those years ago…when everyone tells you not no marry young. But the vanity of youth encourages naught but to defy the world in which you find yourself.

Nine years ago.

It seems like a lifetime. But isn’t that what I always wanted? Always wanted, but never dreamed I would ever come close to? A lifetime in love. A lifetime with you.

Looking back to that girl I used to be…I almost don’t recognize her.

Because our marriage is just as much about my adventure to find myself, as it is about my adventure of being in love with you.

I thought I knew who I was back then. But now I realize that I was only starting to know. I was a shell of myself; filled to the brim with self-doubt, fear, and lack of confidence. I was wary and cynical, constantly my own biggest skeptic. So filled with anxiety that there was no room left for joy. I thought I knew what life was about: the point of life was to just get through the day, to be married, and have children, to find happiness in this, and just keep on living.

That’s what I thought life with you would be like.

And that was the life that I wanted with you.

You were my rock. You were the confidence that I do not possess. You were the surety in my world filled with fear. You were my champion – saving me, providing for me, loving me despite my lack of belief in myself. You were the calm in my storm.

I never thought that anyone would love me. I never thought that I was beautiful. I never thought that I would actually find someone who would want to marry me. After-all, I am not the most ordinary person. I had been that way for quite some time… I’d rather spend my time reading stories than talking with actual real people. I’d rather be outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, than taking even a few moments to apply makeup and arrange my hair. I’d rather inhale the smell of carburetors in the late summer night than do whatever it was that other girls were doing (I don’t actually even know what other girls spent their nights doing…but it certainly wasn’t breathing fumes from fast cars). When I tried to wear nice clothes, it usually just didn’t work – I have no fashion sense at all. But when you’d rather be reading than shopping at the mall, it was easier to just give up and wear t-shirts all the time.

My books never seemed to care anyways.

Some things just aren’t meant to be.

And I never thought that I was meant to be married.

Not to someone like you at least.

My Prince Charming.

I was so young. So sure of myself. Yet so unsure. It is amazing how things change. How people change. How I have changed. Yet I would be crazy not to admit that the person I am today may not have ended up with the person that you were then. We are so different. Shaped and formed like stones along the river. Now I understand why they say not to marry young – because when you find yourself, you may not like who you find yourself with. But the sententious reality is this: I wouldn’t be who I am today without you.

So my story is not one of finding myself and being filled with regret.

I stand again to defy what society expects.

My story is one of finding myself and finding myself still completely and wholly in love with you.

My Prince Charming.

The one who made me.

I find my life so completely entwined with yours. And that, quite frankly, is a very, very good thing.

You who talked to me when I was content to be a wallflower, who (probably quite literally at times) removed the book from in front of my face…and saw me. The one who noticed.

The one who noticed me.

Utter lack of fashion and all.

You, who put up with my rambling discussions of all things nerdy…who enjoyed the smell of engines on a warm summer night with me.

I married you then. And I’d marry you now.

You, who were my confidence for me. Who was strong when I was not. I thought I knew what my life with you would be like. But it is really unlike anything that I ever imagined. Our dreams began to grow together, and they have changed like the clouds that shift in the sky…and we have continued reaching for them all the years through.

Once, I was content with that life I thought I knew. And you were content to let me  have that life. But life has that funny way of dragging you along on adventures you never wanted to have.

Or at least it feels like you are being dragged sometimes.

Sometimes it feels like you have dragged me on some of those adventures. And I mean that in the most lovingly way possible. I don’t know when you really started making me. Maybe it has always been that way. But looking back now, I see all the ways and the times that you encouraged me to be so much more. Never judging. But gently pushing, telling me to try. Telling me to just do it. Listening to all my fears, but telling me to do it anyway. Throughout the years you have challenged me, encouraged me, pushed me, and loved me through it all.

I said I’d never go back to school. But somehow, in your quiet way, you helped me to do it. You told me it would be alright. You knew, even when I did not, that I was meant to earn my degree. And apparently to keep earning them.

You knew, even when I didn’t trust myself, that I was meant to pursue a career. I thought I knew who I was, I thought I’d only ever stay home with my kids. I never believed that I would have worth outside of this. But whatever you saw in me, that I didn’t even see in myself, you challenged me to recognize my worth and potential in what has turned out to be a very fulfilling career.

I thought I knew that I would be a fabulous parent. Turns out…teaching may be my thing, but parenting really doesn’t come naturally to me at all. But that doesn’t matter to you. You love me regardless of my flaws and weaknesses. All the while telling me, knowing for me, that I can be so much more.

You have pushed me to be involved. To face life head on, and unafraid. To try, and fail, and try again.

And know that it’s okay.

I’d say that you hold me when I cry. But you know that I prefer to cry alone.

And I love you for that too.

So here I am. Where once was a shell of a person stands a being wholly made. I do not doubt. I know who I am. I am brave. I am strong. I may be small, but I make up for it with a passion and intensity that rivals the sun. I have known fear. But fear doesn’t frighten me anymore. Fear challenges me. Fear pushes me, and teaches me. Where once I lacked confidence….there is no lacking now. I wear the clothes, the clothes don’t wear me. And it doesn’t matter what I am wearing; I know that I am beautiful nonetheless. I can do this. I can do this. I can handle life. Now I am my own biggest fan (well maybe my second biggest fan, I think you will always be my #1 biggest fan). I do not hide in the shadows of cynicism and skepticism anymore. This is my life. Our life. Whatever will come, will come. Those shadows do nothing but slowly drink the life from you. I will not spend my life in the shadows. Maybe before….but never again.

So here I am.

The life with you that I always wanted.

Whole. Sure. Complete.

A lifetime.

A person changed. But only because of you.

My equal. The other side of my coin. My balance. My lover and friend.

When God made me, He made you too. And He knew that I would be yours forever.

And I know that while you will always help me to grow, and change and be more…I know even still that no matter what or where or when you will love me…love all of me…no matter what.

And I will love you too.

So thank you, Babe.

Thank you for seeing me, and loving me, and making me yours.

Here’s to a lifetime of you and I.

Always.

 

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The Triumph Song of Life

“God is the greatest thing that exists, ever has existed or ever will…for us to glory in anything else, would be sin, as there is nothing greater than God, there is no calling greater than praising God.”
― John Piper

“The chief purpose of life, for any of us, is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Two weeks ago yesterday, I almost lost my sister and my unborn niece.

It’s really strange how one moment life is just happening all around you…and in the next it just stops. And stands still. And you’re left waiting for answers, but not really knowing if you really want the answer after all.

I was on my way home from work, had just picked up my children and our new kitten and was headed home when I got the call.

There wasn’t much detail…because no one really knew anything. But knowing what we did, we all knew it was not good. I don’t know all of the details exactly, but I knew enough to understand that my sisters life, and her baby’s were in danger. And time was on no one’s side.

An ambulance picked up my sister and her husband from the side of the road. A police officer drove the ambulance to the nearest hospital because all of the paramedics were needed to attend to my sister. She was loosing blood, and loosing it fast. At 5:02 PM she arrived at the hospital. At 5:16 PM my niece was born via emergency c-section.

The doctors told us that if the ambulance had arrived four minutes later…it would have been too late for both my sister and my niece.

According to the doctors my sister sustained a loss of over 50% of her blood. She received several blood transfusions. My niece had some difficulty breathing and was treated accordingly. At first, it looked like her needs may be too many for the hospital she was at, but steadily she improved and has been growing and improving by leaps and bounds. The doctors told my sister that women who loose so much blood are not usually able to produce milk. But my sister did, and was able to nurse her baby almost right away, although my niece has remained on a feeding tube for several weeks because she is so little she doesn’t wake up to eat on her own. I guess that’s what happens when you’re born seven weeks early.

I went to work the next day. I’m not one to sit around and wait for news.

That day I called my pastor to give him an update, as I had asked my church to pray for my sister from the moment we first heard she was taken by ambulance.

I explained that all I could think of was…”four minutes”.

Four minutes and two lives had been lost.

If they hadn’t already been on their way from the hospital for a check-up, they may have been four minutes more away from help.

What if there had not been police officer to drive?

What if the ambulance hadn’t arrived so quickly?

Four minutes…

Sometimes I struggle to understand the purpose of His will. I feel so small in the midst of this world and wonder…what is His intent in all of this? What was His point in all of this?

Four minutes…

He didn’t have to step in and intervene. But He did. So there must be a reason, right?

My pastor encouraged me not to try too hard to understand the will of God. For no man exists who can.

Four minutes.

Two lives.

Awe.

It took me a couple days for the miracle of what had happened to sink in. I almost lost my sister, and my niece along with her. It’s a lot to take in. And still I struggled…why God, did You choose to intervene. You didn’t have to, and yet You did.

But as often they do, my thoughts have led me no where. And so I arrived at the conclusion that sometimes God works in marvelous, un-explainable, miraculous ways simply because He can.

And maybe that IS the point after all.

He is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

And perhaps sometimes He simply wants us to revel in the incomprehensible beauty of His power.

So this Christmas, that is what I will do.

I will fall in awe of His boundless love and power. He is a mighty God. A God who is strong enough to save; both our physical bodies and our heavenly souls.

Because sometimes, He only asks us to praise Him.

So join me this Christmas, as joyful I sing His triumph song of life.

Joyful, joyful, we adore thee
God of glory, lord of love
Hearts unfold like flowers before thee
Opening to the sun above
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness
Drive the dark of doubt away
Giver of immortal gladness
Fill us with the light of day

All thy work with joy surround thee
Earth and heavenreflect thy rays
Stars and angels sing around thee
Center of unbroken praise
Field and forest, vale and mountain
Chanting bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in thee

Mortals, join the mighty chorus
Which the morning stars began
Father love is reignning o’er us
Brother love binds man to man
Ever singing, march we onward
Victors in the midst we strife
Joyful music leads us sunward
In the triumph song of life
In the triumph song of life

 

 

Dreams: Forgetting to Live

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”
― Henry David Thoreau

Because every good self-reflection should begin with some Harry Potter and Thoreau…and Hillsong worship music in the background as you write.

It’s amazing where you find yourself in this adventure called life.

One day you just wake up and say, how did I get here?

And, where did I go wrong along the way? 

That happened to me this summer.

But to get to the end, it is best to start at the beginning.

I’ve been fairly truthful with what a struggle it has been to be Baby K’s mommy. He turned three this spring, and I had one of those wake -up -and -question -everything moments. Who am I? How did I get here? Where did my joy go?

I used to love being a parent. When I had Baby A, my heart was filled with so much joy and hope and excitement and patience. I loved every moment of being a mom! And my heart was filled with dreams of having more children, lots more children. Maybe 6 children. Klayton and I both come from larger families (Klayton from 9 and me from 5), and with me teaching preschool kids have always been a central part of our lives.

I always thought that I would have a couple of kids and then stop working. My life would be filled with many tiny faces that would look like mine or Klayton’s, and would consist of school drop off and laundry and playing and excitement.

This was my dream, to have a large family, and dreams come true, right?

Well, not for everyone.

After Kreade was born life became such a struggle. He was SO hard, for SO long. And I was SO mentally affected.

And along the way and after several difficult events it became clear that when it came to tiny little faces, we would only be producing two.

But when I woke up this spring and questioned everything, I realized several things.

I  realized that I was grieving.

It may sound weird to say that you can grieve a dream. But that is the only way I can find to describe how I feel.

It’s hard to let go of something that you have always wanted, always imagined, and always planned on.

There is such a sense of loss in knowing that you thought things would be one way, yet life has shown you that they need to be another. And your entire perspective on life has to change. You feel so guilty for knowing that you just can’t do it…that even if you tried, you know so deep down in your heart that it’s just not meant to be…and you’re not good enough, able enough, strong enough to be that person. But you should be – women are meant to be moms, so why can’t you just suck it up and have another kid?

And the little voices sometimes won’t leave me alone.

They attack me and shout at me until I think that I won’t ever be good enough…

But somehow, in these moments, my heart awakens and reminds my soul that His ways are not ours…and I know, this is what is meant to be.

But in the midst of grieving this dream, and surviving Baby K I realize that I also lost my joy.

I lost myself somewhere amidst the cries and sleepless nights, the years of trying to be everything that one little body needed…and failing.

I forgot what it was like to simply be…a mom.

Our journey with selling one house and building another has been somewhat symbolic for me. I dreaded having to live in our tiny 24ft camper while the house is being built.

But, it’s funny where this adventure leads you and what you meet along the way.

And what I thought would fill my life with hardship and more struggle has actually brought both healing and re-discovery.

I’ve met simplicity.

I’ve met time.

I’ve met experience.

I’ve met the person who I once was, and who I want to be again.

And somehow, this simple little life of working and living in our camper has reminded me of who I used to be.

I enjoyed being a parent.

I enjoyed life.

I had hope.

So this move is my fresh start. It’s where I find myself again, and will continue to grow into the person who I want to be.

And while I still know I am meant to only produce two tiny faces, I am hopeful for the future.

Because even if I only have two myself, God can grow our family in other ways.

And besides, I have 120 tiny faces to love on at work.

And even if I only have two, I can still love being a mom…even if it wasn’t the mom I once dreamed of.

So in the midst of this simple summer, I am remembering how joyful it is to just be with my children…to explore the world around us, to investigate nature and all it has to offer, to read and to play…and sometimes, just to cuddle and sing songs until Baby K falls asleep and then snuggle up under the covers with a flashlight and read “big kid” books with baby A.

And of course Dumbledore is right…in dwelling on my dream I forgot to live.

But thanks be to God who can restore both hope and joy, and resurrect me to be who He created me to be.

By Your spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me
In your name I come alive
To declare Your victory
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me

-Elevation Worship

 

 

 

Note…Instrumental in my self-discovery this summer has been a book that my friend recommended for me…Simplicity Parenting. I’m only halfway through but I can already say, it is highly worth the read.

 

 

Mr. Aksel Turns 3 – On Letting Go of Birthday Expectations

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.  – Voltaire

There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.  – William Barclay

I still haven’t forgiven myself for failing to have my hospital bags packed when I was a week over due. The irony is that, though my bags were not packed, my homework for the next two weeks was complete ahead of time. But my bags were not packed, and if they had been I would have missed Mr. Aksel being born on that infamous first day that people like to attempt to fool one another one. Alas…

And now it has been three years. Three years and finally most days bring more smiles than they bring tears. And while he still is a challenging child, speech delay and all, I finally feel like we are getting there. Like I can handle each day and not need to talk to a therapist at the end of each day.

But another year older bring another years party…and parties have proven to be all but disastrous for Mr. Aksel. I can’t remember one of his birthdays that have been “fun” or “cute” or anything that you would generally imagine.

Of course, year one he put the candle out with his fingers – and didn’t cry – I should have realized then he had sensory problems 😉

Year two, I can only remember thinking…let’s get this thing over with.

When your child, the birthday star, is clinging to you and fussing through his entire birthday, too overwhelmed to even eat his cake, and dis-interested in opening his own presents you start to wonder if having a party is even worth it.

It is sort of one more thing that I’ve grieved over this boy-I-never-wanted, but the boy-who-God-knew-I-needed.

So I won’t have all of the instagram and Pinterest worthy pictures that every other mommy posts.

So I won’t get to make my daughter’s day planning and decorating for a party (she on the other hand, thrives on parties).

No cute pics. No cute decorations.

I’ll tell ya, you definitely get some weird looks when you tell your family and friends that you are not having a birthday party for your own child.

But guess what?

We didn’t have a party.

And it was the best birthday that little boy every had!

All day smiles and all day celebration.

Ellie and daddy went to the store and got him balloons and a sister-present before breakfast.

He opened his presents from us, played with them, and ran around with his balloons most of the day.

Grandparents and his Aunt stopped by throughout the day to give him a gift and wish him happy birthday.

And we ended the day with cupcakes and candles and singing happy birthday.

Because even though you may think that society expects you to have a party and that is just what you do if you are a good parent – sometimes, it is just not true. And while you yourself may grieve the fact that your baby boy just does not like crowds, and noise, and parties and all the pictures and planning that go along with them…you may be surprised to find out that you like a no-party birthday after all.

Because every child is different. And every child needs different things.

This idea is the whole reason why I began studying child development and chose my career path anyways.

God made them all, but He made them all different too.

And what’s good for one is bad for another. And in learning about your own child you will learn a lot about yourself.

And so Mr.Aksel…I hope that you remember this day – your third birthday. Or at least the feeling of joy that we saw on your face. What a long way you have come! Like a caterpillar emerging from its cocoon as a butterfly – finally prepared to face the world in a beautiful way, independent and with emerging confidence.

I pray that you take this gift of life that God gave you and live it well. I pray that along the road He takes you down you will come to understand yourself, and realize your purpose in this world. We are so lucky to have you in our lives…mom, dad and Ellie, you have taught us so many things. And because of you we have realized that it is okay to let go…and now we understand what is truly important in this life. The little things.

 

When my fear is confronted by grace…

Love GOD first More at http://ibibleverses.christianpost.com/:

Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will. James Stephens


Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me— Psalm 49:5

The righteous will see and fear;

    they will laugh at you, saying,“Here now is the man

    who did not make God his stronghold

but trusted in his great wealth

    and grew strong by destroying others!” – Psalm 52 6-7

 

I just can’t get this whole idea of fear out of my head lately. With the revived debate regarding refugees that has infiltrated life once again the topic is ever more on my mind.

Fear: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

My latest literary obsession, C.S. Lewis once said “You cannot know, only believe – or not.”

What truth!

And yet, there is fear again…surrounding the borders of my heart and mind, laying it siege and slowly, slowly choking the life out of me. Sucking the hope from my limbs, and the love from my heart.

I’ve been horrified following this debate amongst people I know…amongst Christians and family members that I know specifically. Their words, generally typed in absurd amounts of capital letters (when did shouting become a thing in the written English language?) just sound so desperately fearful. Jihad this and jihad that and Muslim this and Muslim that…and in the blink of an eye people are lost amongst the labels that others have chosen for them

Yet, I am no different. When I wake up every morning I have to will myself out of bed and out the door and in to work on what I so often refer to as “the trenches”. And every day I am met with the thought that I don’t make enough money, and I won’t be able to pay my bills, and what if I crash on my way to work, or I forget a student in the bathroom, or this or that or the other thing.

And when it comes to refugees, I am afraid too. When I first think of  refugees, I think – holy crap, they want to kill us. There is no way we let them live, never mind come here! what if they murder me in my sleep? What if they murder my children? Take me job? Inflate the economy? The list goes on and on.

Yes, my mind is also filled with fear, just like you, who so viciously argue against allowing refugees from here, there, or everywhere in to our great country.

But that is where the similarity ends.

Yes, my mind is filled with fear. I see the danger. I see the potential for harm.

And I don’t care.

I don’t care because that is what God has called me…no, not just me. That is what God has called any person who has been saved by grace to do.

There is no way to sugar-coat this foundational truth.

Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God. Ecclesiastes 5:7. This is who I fear. I fear that if I allow my human instincts to overwhelm my heart, I will not be living in the fear of the Lord but will be living in the fear of man. And that same fear for Him who created me and you  (and Muslims by the way) calls me to love others. To love very.single.human.being. Even if I don’t want to. Even if it’s card. Even if it’s scary. Even if it means I could die in the process.

So yes, I fear. But I know my life is so much more than sitting in my comfortable little home…so I swallow that fear and carry on.

But so much more than that, I try to understand. So much of the hatred and fear that I see my fellow Christians and family members is simply a lack of understanding. A limited worldview, and a failure to educate themselves.

Marie Curie said ““Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Which is really so perfect for the point that I am trying now to make.

Don’t just belief the things that your father, or sister, or pastor, or favorite conservative radio host, or politician tell you to believe. Really take the time to educate yourself about the facts of other people groups.

Again, here I think that it is fear that holds people back. Fear of the unknown. Fear of challenges themselves and having to change their beliefs and views. Because after all, the familiar is comfortable. I am so thankful for my very public-college education that required me to take two courses on culture and religion. I studied the history and culture of Africa for one semester (which is a rant for another day), and one semester studying Asia and The Middle East.

This was the best thing that I have ever done in my life when it comes to learning about others.

It confronted so many of the stereotypes that I unknowingly held for these people groups ( I refuse to label them). It combated so many of the groundless fears that my mind used to create prejudice and hate. And it opened my eyes and enabled me to see that these people too are just caught in the struggles and trials of everyday life, born into a system that tries to define them. Lost in the rush of this world, yet longing for so much more than their inherited religion can offer them.

So now, when I fear, I remember all I have learned. And then I put myself in the shoes of those refugees. I fight back against the fear-led desire to dehumanize them…and slowly their blurred faces come clearly into view. I imagine them taking up residence is some temporary housing next to my quiet little house, on a scenic little cul-de-sac in small town New England. There they are, heads wrapped in their traditional dress, skin much darker than mine, words so different than mine…living there next to me with their children who bear the physical scars of their life experiences and the mental burden of all that they have seen. Cooking their food, same as I do…cleaning their emergency tent, same as I clean my home, sleeping as I do, waking as I do, breathing as I do…holding their precious little babes same as I do. And they are afraid.

I imagine myself at first being afraid and wary…probably locking all of my doors and windows and making my children sleep in my bedroom with me…after all you just never know. The next day I’d make my husband conceal all of the hand-guns that we own and we would bring them cinnamon rolls or some other traditional American “welcome to the neighborhood” greeting – cuz that’s what my mother taught me to do when you have new neighbors. Of course, we probably wouldn’t understand each other, but in my experience with English Language Learners, sometimes a smile and a kind gesture is all you need. And besides, love has no words.

And slowly life continues, little by little every day, learning to trust, continuing in love. And while this little dream of mine will never likely be realized, and could likely also include my house blowing up in the middle of the night, well, somehow it doesn’t make a difference.

Because I’d rather confront my fears and live in love than remain in my safe little comfort zone.

Not just because I want to be a super-cool person, not because it is easy to do so. But because when I received grace through the death of Jesus on the cross, that’s what He called me to do.

And now, when I think of the complacency of so many Christians that I know and am surrounded by and their scathing remarks regarding the current plight of so many individuals throughout the world it literally makes my blood boil. My heart stops for a moment because the rage inside of me is just too much to handle.

But then another feeling emerges, and I honestly feel so bad for these friends and family members who possess such a limited worldview and who cannot even realize that their lives and attitudes are ruled by fear of man instead of fear of God. Whose attitudes towards their fellow man are wholly void of love and understanding. And my heart breaks for them, that they are so engrossed by fear and so immature in their spiritual walk that they fail to realize the perspective of another.

And I beg God to challenge my faith. So that I never arrive at that place of complacency. Whatever I do, whether I live or die…all the while knowing that in death me, my husband, and my sweet little babes will have achieved the final victory. And though death may separate us for a moment, eternity awaits us. And the words “well done, my good and faithful servant” are worth more than any comfort here on this earth.

And so Kreade and Ellie, I pray that God challenges your faith. I pray that you do not remain complacent in your faith, but challenge yourselves and always seek to gain an understanding of the world and the people around you. I pray that above all, you do not fear man, but fear God instead, and allow this fear to cause you to love all those around you…just as God loves you – without regard for self, wholly and passionately, not matter the cost.

 

 

“What do you fear, lady?” Aragorn asked.

“A cage,” Éowyn said. “To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

 

We went out to see the Supermoon…

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For some people small, beautiful events are what life is all about. – The Doctor

Last week, we went out to see the Supermoon.

I was reminded once again just how beautiful the world is in the eyes of a child. The way that they perceive the things around them is just so wondrous. Their untouched perception of the world and all it has to offer is comparable to a cool glass of water on a hot summer day…refreshing.

I didn’t really know what they would think of the moon. But I figured that since it has been nearly fifty years since the last Supermoon, I should probably fulfill my parental responsibility to make sure that they saw the moon with their own eyes so that they could tell their grand-kids someday “Yeah, I saw that moon”. Cuz, you know, that will definitely be something to brag about.

Anyways, we got on our winter jackets and hats and mittens just before bedtime.

And we went out to see the Supermoon.

And in the crisp, cool air of that moon-lit night, something beautiful happened.

The second they saw the moon those precious little children started running.

I mean flat out running as fast as their 4 year old and 2 year old legs could carry them.

Eyes on that bright, huge moon. Running towards it, fully expecting that they could jump up and touch it.

And as their feet brought them to the edge of the dark woods, their eyes stayed on the moon, and their glee echoed through the night air in strains of unashamed laughter.

They ran towards that moon, eyes unwavering from their goal, and they expected to touch it.

Being a parent is one of the most beautiful things in the world. And it is small moments like these that really do remind me of what life is all about. Small moments, small adventures.

Sometimes it takes the un-touched perspective of a child to remind you…We adults get so caught up in reality that we often loose sight of our goals. Our minds become so distracted by everything else around us that we forget what we set out to do. We forget where we are going, or get caught up in the details of how we are going to get there.

My kids didn’t loose sight of their goal. They kept their eyes on it and never looked anywhere but where they were going. They weren’t distracted by the darkness of night all around them…nor by the shadows of the trees, or the edge of the forest…by the bird in the tree watching them, or their beloved cat who followed along in their glee.

They didn’t stop to think that they would never be able to actually reach their goal…and really, it didn’t matter because they believed they could, and that was enough.

I’m pretty obsessed with the song 7 Years by Lukas Graham lately. The words from his song ran over and over through my head that night as I watched my children running towards that moon…I only see my goals, I don’t believe in failure, ‘Cause I know the smallest voices, they can make it major. 

And isn’t that the truth.

As adults we allow ourselves to listen to those little voices, and something small becomes something huge and all of the sudden all we can see is our failures, and we are too afraid to try to reach our goals anymore.

But not my kids. Childish or not, there was nothing going to stop them from getting to that Supermoon.

Now I know what Jesus meant when he talked about faith like a child.

Simple, beautiful, un-touched and un-ashamed faith.

And so Kreade and Ellie, I hope that you always remember this night. I want you to know that God used you to touch mommy’s heart and remind her of a simple life-lesson.

I want you to always remember this night, and remember running towards that moon – nothing was going to stop you from reaching your goal.

If you remember anything that I say or write for you, remember this – Run toward God. Run toward Him and never stop running. Make Him and His glory your only goal in life. Set your eyes on that goal and do not waver from it. Remember that night when you were running towards that moon, unaware and uncaring of anything else around you, unafraid of the darkness of night, the edge of your little world that began at the edge of the forest, or of the fact that you couldn’t see me anymore.

Run. Run towards God and do not be afraid. Keep your eyes on him and remember that place in your heart where your childlike faith lives.

Run. Run towards God. And never turn back.

Phillipians 3: 12-14 (The Message)  I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. 

But Really? Where IS Neverland?

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
― Heraclitus

“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.”
― Henry Ward Beecher

“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

Do you remember when you were a kid and all you wanted was to just be old? Maybe not like wrinkly and eighty, but older. As in I-have-my-license-drive-a-car-do-cool-things-have-a-house-have-a-hot-husband-super-cute-kids-awesome-clothes-sweet-job-and-don’t-look-a-day-over-sixteen?

Please tell me I’m not the only one who every wished this.

But really. When I was a kid I thought about that all the time. I’d sit in my log and grass-thatched tee-pee hideout in my funny 1990-something clothes and think about what it would be like to be older. Life is always amazing in your day-dreams. And you can do anything… Be anything…

Weren’t those the days.

I can still see those sunsets of my childhood. Feel the bone-chilling cold of those rainy fall days, playing outside until it was dark and the moon began to rise. Remember what the sand felt like between my toes and in less than pleasant places that those little kid bathing suits just loved to capture so much sand in. I remember my imagination, my adventures, how I half lived outside. The pain of getting my finger caught between logs I was stacking as I built a forest hideout. Of carrying buckets of water to try to make a pretend well. Of hoarding miscellaneous pieces of wood to act as butter and bread in that outdoor pretend store…oh,those were the days.

In some ways I miss them. But in most ways I don’t.

And here I am now. Twenty-eight years old.

I was married when I was twenty. I had a sweet babe before I was twenty-five. Finally graduated (the first part of) college at the age of twenty-six. I’m now twenty-eight and I still don’t drive the car of my dreams. I’ve been married for seven and a half years and it just keeps getting better. Now there are two kids to spend my time with.

And I still think about what it will be like to be old.

I look at this picture and already notice all of the lines our faces didn’t have.

I’ll be thirty in two years. If I live to be ninety, one-third of my life will have passed by.

I used to be scared to get old. To grow up, live, and someday die.

But life doesn’t frighten me anymore.

As hard as it is to grow older, the easier it gets all the same.

What I didn’t know then, sitting in that hideout, holding on to my pocket-knife whittled stick sword and blue and gold painted shield, pretending to be a knight, or an elf, or some other amazing, immortal, half-mythical heroin was that… I would grow up to be all of those things and so much more (well, I still don’t have pointy ears so I guess I didn’t achieve elf status).

I am amazing.

I will live forever (but not on this earth).

And my life has a purpose.

I never thought I’d marry such a hottie (and what a story that was). I never thought I’d graduate college (never mind be working on my Master’s degree). I  never thought that I would be anything more than a stay-at-home-mom (but my work is my calling). I never knew how much I could love (until I had my children). I never knew my purpose (until faith opened my eyes and love became my anthem).

Yes, almost-thirty years has been full of life and learning, of finding and becoming.

And so, if one-third of my life is over, I have no regrets. And if two-thirds of my life remains, I will live with confidence.

Of course because it’s me so I’ll have to bring up Tolkien. Who of course completely nailed it when he wrote about going out of your door. There really is no telling where you might be swept off too (I certainly never expected to end up where I am at today). But wherever it is, and no matter how dangerous the getting there was, it’s going to be amazing. Because the going out of your door is the most difficult part of the journey…the part where you surrender it all and decide to follow The-Giver-of-Life and pursue the purpose that was created for you, and only you.

So thirty more years will likely bring several more lines.

But it will also bring so much more life.

And if in living I share the Love and purpose that I have found with whomever I can…well..

Well, that’s what it’s all about.