Begendings-my life as a senior in high school

imagesMy life now is comprised of beginnings all tangled up in endings. I don’t know exactly where one begins and the other ends. And to be perfectly honest, I am not sure anyone else actually knows what is the beginning and what is the ending either.

I am asked to lead by example for my school, my team, my younger sibling while at the same time I am asked to define and refine my “reach” and my “safety”. Future… a place I have lived in comfortably for many years now has suddenly changed from an exclamation point to a question mark. I was always happily running to the next step. Can’t wait until I am 5 years old, so I can ride the big yellow bus. Can’t wait until I lose my first tooth. Can’t wait until I ride a two-wheeler by myself. Can’t wait until I am 13, then I will be a teenager. Can’t wait until I am 16, so I can drive whenever and wherever I want. Can’t wait to be a senior, so I can rule the school. So many days that I crossed off the calendar with exclamation points!

Ask me anything about where I am now and I have all of the answers. Things I did not know four years ago are like second nature to me. I navigate my school hallways with ease. Ask me questions about where I am going and I give stock answers. I am unsure and the truth is, I really don’t know. Now, I find I am in the middle place, kind of stuck between winning the race but being held at the start line because it is not yet my turn.

Instead of asking me questions about where I am going to college or my senior quote, senior picture, senior field trip, senior lunch, senior shampoo, please be patient with me while I try and figure it out. Smile at me and don’t forget to tell me when I have done a good job today, because today really matters in my world. Today is where I live. Today is where I love. Today is where I meet up with my friends and laugh. Today is where I look over to you to see if you saw what I just did out there. Today is where I smile and share and stress and try and cry. Today, for me, is all I’ve got. Tomorrow is coming. I know it is there. Please do not feel like you need to be constantly reminding me to plan for tomorrow. Believe me, it is like the big bad wolf and the best birthday present at the same time,  all wrapped up in one! My future waits for me but my present is who I am. It becomes who I become. While I am running to my next place, please help me enjoy the moments in between. The wake ups at home, the homecoming weeks, the victories with my teams, staying up late with my sister solving the world’s problems, the tests, the trials, the silly laughter, the A’s and the F’s, the smell of your cooking, my dog’s excitement when I walk in the room, seeing you in my mirror saying “be safe” as I leave the driveway. These are the things that are making me “me”. The me I have come to be is not only so special to you, but I am special to me because of all of those small, but important things wrapped up in my present. I am excited for where I am going next. Until then, let’s love and live in the little in between times because honestly, when the date on my calendar comes and I pack my bags and set off on my own journey pursuing whatever future is knocking at my door, it is those tiny moments that I am making now that make the future me.

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Seeds of Faith

photoToday myself, my community and my children woke to the sad news that a bright beautiful senior at my kid’s school was killed in a car accident overnight. How? Why? Disbelief. Shock. Sadness. So much tragedy… so, so much that sometimes my heart swells up and breaks in half, no words, no breath. We are left wondering why does this happen? The soldier who comes home with only a folded flag to give a fellow soldier’s family, my best friend imprisoned in a wheelchair as her body stops working a little bit more each day, my father who got a call with results he hoped would not come this soon. All of it too soon. Why does God let it happen? I tried to get my head around it. I laced up my running shoes and set off for the trail. It is always a good place to think, reflect and pray when all of this sadness was at my heels. When I sat on the bench to get my music started I heard two old men talking about their churches. They are good friends, they are here walking often together and they worship at two different places. One man was saying his church had good music, and they agreed that the other one did not. But it did have Johnny and apparently Johnny is really good thing to have. Living in the south you come to realize that we are all believers. We don’t all go to the same church but we have the same God. We have the shared sorrows as well.  We all pray. As I set off I kept thinking that we are one family of believers. On my next loop around the trail I decided to stop and ask these men to pray with me for the family that lost their daughter last night. Total strangers to me but brothers and sisters in Christ. It filled me with renewal that God never leaves us alone. We have a tremendously large family of support. His command is to love, and we need to keep that command by giving it, but also by receiving it. What do we do when we are the ones left here on earth? Imagine that each day you are given a pack of seeds. Sowing these seeds of faith could be as simple as a text to check in on someone, or driving right into a friends driveway and walking up to their door with the intention of only a hug and an offer of a shoulder to share the burden. Our sensitive hearts together make us strong. When my kids got home from school they told me about a ceremony that they had at school today in honor and memory of their fellow student. In just a few hours our community had come together remembering her, praying on bended knee for her family and released hundreds of white balloons on the football field. I am awed and honored to be a part of a community of faith and support like the one we live in. Will the path to heaven be lined with joy and jubilation when we arrive to fist bumps and high fives? I do not know but I do know that as one body in Christ, we sow the seeds until then, scattering them everyday. 

Reading was my first love

Custom-Thumbprint-Portrait-by-Cheryl-Sorg-picture-1-540x817Reading was my first love. I cannot remember the actual moment that I fell in love. I know it wasn’t when I was very young. I know it wasn’t when I was still being read to. It didn’t actually happen the minute I began to read on my own. It could have been a gradual falling, a getting acquainted and settling down deep kind of love. It started later, when I actually had the book in my hand, eyes on the page, reading as quickly as possible to find out what happened next, while at the same time forcing myself to read slowly so I could make it last. You readers out there know what I am talking about…the turtle-paced-speed-reading towards the end of a book! It could have happened when I laughed out loud in a room with only me and the book or when I wanted to scream “Don’t do it!” at the black and white pages. It could have happened when tears welled up in my eyes, glued to the words on a page as Della cut her beautiful hair and Jim sold his grandfather’s watch on Christmas. It could have happened when I spent countless summer hours on our screened porch lost in the heather of Thrushcross Grange. It could have happened when I felt a state of panic trying to find out if Maxim really killed Rebecca or better yet, if he did, would anyone find out? It could have happened when Alexander Dumas showed how sweet revenge could be and that buried treasures really do exist. It could have happened when I followed Santiago on his simple journey through the desert and came out the other side a better version of myself. It could have happened when the entire household was asleep, my eyes bleary (a cross between blurry and weary) but finding I could not let go until I read if Katniss and Peeta would eat the berries. It could have happened when Alexander and Tatiana barely survived WW II in Russia and what came next for them and many immigrants to the USA. I am not exactly sure when I fell in love with reading but once I did, it was irrevocably part of me! Cooking, cleaning and sleep are hopeless against a good book! Carpool lines, kids practices that go long and plane rides are my book’s best friends! Thick or thin, historical or post apocalyptic, simple or complex, they are all welcome in my library. There are some books that I have even read several times because I just need to visit there once and again, like a favorite vacation spot that you go back to each year. I have never actually seen a movie that is better than the book. And sometimes if I have loved a book, I am actually scared to see the movie! It is said that a reader lives a thousand lives before he dies and a man who doesn’t read, only one. If you ask a reader what their favorite book is, you may find yourself sitting a while listening to the answer because well, there are so many that we could write a book! Reading can open our world to lives beyond our own. Beautiful, sad, silly, enchanted, tragic, epic, adventurous… Oh, the places you’ll go when you open a book! Gotta run, if I hurry I can get a couple of pages in before lunch is over!

Books mentioned in this post (a few favorites but of course, there are many more):

Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess

LOVE, above all else

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    LOVE    

ALL ELSE

For the past couple of Sundays while in quiet prayer at church, the voice of Jesus has been reminding me of this most important command. It is a simple command. It is always within our power. It needs no translation. Sometimes though, it can be difficult to do. It can be something you want to resist- The human in us loves to resist this command when we are hurt, or mad, or tired or selfish. Perhaps it is that you do not have the time, you do not have the money, you do not have the patience, or you do not have the desire to do it.  We all have that person who drives us crazy and gets under our skin. They were rude, they hurt someone you love, they gossiped, they lied. I have actually had internal dialogue with myself over someone like this and wanted to shout “NO” to loving that person! But I didn’t say no, and while I still don’t love them with my heart, I love them with my mindfulness, my actions and with intention to serve my God. And you know what? It works. It is not perfect by any means, but thankfully, He is not expecting perfect. We fail, we get up and try again, that is what He expects. Allow this command to work in your life and bless you especially as we celebrate Easter, spring, new beginnings and new life. As a busy wife and mom, my times for quiet reflection are scarce, but I do find that throughout my daily activities I can cling to a simple thought and end up living out my reflections. As I am running around my daily life in the passenger seat, I am repeating this verse, “Above all things, love one another”. There is a lot going on in the news, in school, in church where at times it feels like we are asked to take a side. This is not what loving one another means. There are no sides in loving one another. When you strip down any circumstance in your  life to the basic question of, “am I fulfilling Jesus’ command to love one another by the way I behave in this situation?“, it actually becomes the easiest path to follow. We are not asked to judge, we are not asked to make others’ life choices, we are not even asked to agree with everyone. Jesus asked us to love one another in ALL things–That’s it. I am thankful to have this verse to fall back on, when so much of the world is in disarray and disagreement, all I have to do is one thing… love a little bit everyday.