Wordless Wednesday

 

 

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There are so very many friends out there who have had a rough season way beyond what they thought they could ever bear (“bare” seems more fitting).  Loss of a child. Chronic Illness. Addictions that won’t go away in them or their loved one.  Medical diagnoses they never saw coming. Loss of parent that is no longer here, and some that are, but aren’t. Shattered Dreams. Relationships lost.  This post is for you, and for me, and for us. I don’t have answers or simple sayings. I just want you to know that…. I see you.

I see the look in your eyes. I see  the grief, and the pain. I see it. Even when I don’t. Even when you hide it so well.

And I don’t want you to have to hide it …any of it.  I know that you feel like all you can to is just try to hang on…minute by minute… This season doesn’t define you. You have nothing to prove in terms of how strong you are or aren’t. Nope, times like these can’t be boxed up and labeled and defined. Not at all.

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Am thinking that grief has lots of colors and shades and shapes and looks different on everyone. And there’s no perfect way to navigate the path that grief takes for each one.  And those who see those colors and shapes and shades…well, lots of times we don’t know how to navigate being in there any more than those in grief now how to navigate the pain..

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Some journeys are similar, but none, none are the same.  And the sad truth is that sometimes when we need people the very most, we just want them to go away. It’s just too much. We think they won’t understand. And maybe they won’t. But tearing down the facades that build walls can be a beginning.

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So as the holidays approach that seem to bring grief and memories to the surface, I want you to  know that I see you. I want to walk in it too.  Sometimes it’s just good to have people with us along for the ride, no matter how difficult the navigation…or turbulent the tide.

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And then sometimes there come waves of joy and laughter and grateful grace that come out of nowhere and leave as quickly as they came. I want to laugh with you during those times. To celebrate with you the blessings and remind you that it’s just as okay to laugh as it is to cry…just as okay to be thankful as it is to grieve.

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I just want to remind you that you’re not alone, and that even though this journey has parts that only you can face, that there are people who want to get in there…but may not know how.  Me, for instance. Sometimes I just don’t know how to get in there. I so believe in prayer…that God can fill in the gaps where we could never hope to. And I’m praying. And I’m awkwardly sharing truths as I see them and there’s an open door. But I see in part…and feel in part. I haven’t walked in your shoes.  But I see  you. I do.

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Maybe grace comes in as we stop trying to hold on so tight and “do grief right”, and let go. Maybe I need to let go of some things to. My fear of hurting you more by opening up wounds even more just as they’re beginning to heal. Or saying too much or too little. Those are some of my fears.

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So is sounding so lofty. I’m not lofty…I’m right here right now in this world and want to be in the mess with you too, but lofty isn’t who I am even if me fumbling through my words might appear that way. Kind of hard to navigate this new territory. Nope, no loftiness here,…I just want to meet you where you are…and sometimes moving forward is scary because I don’t know if you want me to meet you where you are. I know there are times we all need to walk alone. I just want you to know that I’m here, and I see you, I do.

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I want to remind you that you’re not alone. Even in the darkest hour, you’re not alone. He sees you. And He knows you, all of you and where you’ve been and where you haven’t and what you’ve said and what you haven’t, and what you believe and what you don’t.  He sees you.  And He L O V E S you. And nothing, NO THING, can separate us from that love. That’s what the Bible says.  When the fog of grief settles in and surrounds, I hope that that truth can be a candle that burns brighter and brighter in your heart and warms you with the awareness that He sees you.  It sure did for me. (He saw me , too)….and I see you.  I do.

Blessings~
Heather

 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:37-39  

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”

I John 1:5

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Here’s a snapshot of a little “Girl time” for two of my “girls”…my mom and my daughter. Thankful that they appreciate the girl time and all that means that’s different from guy time and brother time and boyfriend or husband time.  Yep, “girl time” is connection and conversations, agreements and different perspectives mixed with opinions and advice and “have you tried this?”s and sweet, sweet wisdom. It’s intuitive sharing and laughter and tears and encouragement and inspiration sometimes that all happens in two minutes. It’s hugs and “I get it”s, and ‘remember whens’ and “you too?”s and “I didn’t know that”s. And sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s disagreements and misunderstandings and then oops, I didn’t know you  meant that and more “I get its” and forgiveness. It’s  often words, words, words, mixed with a little silence, and then more words, words, words. Girl time is being in it all. All. It’s connection. Connection is a good, good thing.

Thankful these are two of  ‘mine’…and that even though the connection that I have with Hope is unique and different from the connection that I have with my mom, that they both share a unique and fun, but all girl time connection as well. There’s a sisterhood that comes as we grow older. Thankful for blurred definitions as daughters become mothers and mothers connect with daughters and friends become mentors and neighbors and coworkers become sisters.  Yes, the roles get blurred into one sisterhood that’s so very thankful for a little girl time every once in a while.  I’m so very thankful for the many dear women in my life who are sisters and friends and mentors and co-journeyers who brighten my days and lighten loads and encourage in ways that see through any roles or expectations or lines and just get in there. I know I wouldn’t be the same without them and love the joy and laughter and depth and wisdom they bring into my life. This is a great gift in the journey…those who get in there with us and are truly along for the ride.

Oh, and of COURSE, I love, love, love my boys…and time with them…and they bring out whole other worlds in this mom (and wife, daughter, etc.) …but today, today…I just wanted to shout out to my girls and say thank you, thank you, thank you. This sister is so aware of what a gift ‘my girls’ are in my life. Keep pressing on and encouraging each other along the way…

Blessings ~

Heather

“I thank my God every time I remember you. 

In every prayer for all of you, I always pray with joy,…”

Philippians 1:3

 

 

 

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So, this little guy didn’t get to go on his field trip with his class today. He was pretty upset. Rightly so. Wasn’t because he had been disrespectful or not done homework or anything of a punitive nature. He just hadn’t brought back the permission, and we couldn’t get a hold of mom. When I went in his room, his coat was all the way over his head and he was so not happy about his plight. I wouldn’t have been either.

But he came with me and he spent the morning with me and other students and seemed pretty happy….but oh-so-incredibly fidgety, as are many of my students, and sometimes their teacher as well 🙂  So when it came for my planning time, this little guy and I went outside to the walking track. Correction, walking track for me. RUNNNNNNNing, JUMPING, sKiPpInG track for him.

And then after walking a bit, I asked a question. I said, “Would you like to pick some flowers for your teacher?”  And that running, jumping, SPRINTING child listened and smiled and was actually incredibly quiet and STILL for a minute…………………………………..  “YEAH!” he says. Big smile. HUGE smile…and then, …..

And then the RUNNING, JUMPING, sKiPpInG boy circled and looped the inside of the track for tall dandelions. He scanned and searched and stooped and picked then scanned and searched some more.  And then he organized them in a beautiful little bouquet and QUIETLY and happily and with great focus and attention made sure that they “looked good.”.

And we skipped and walked and he ran and looped our way back to the school for the next group of students and lesson. (Am convinced he probably took 4 or 5 steps for every one of mine…not just because of his gait, but because of his looping around and around as I walked a somewhat straight line.)  I’m thinking he’s going to sleep well tonight.

I’m thinking I will too.  No, it wasn’t a fun field trip to a science center, but it was a good day. My little right hand man assistant and I had a pretty good day. I’m thinking his teacher might smile when she sees the dandelion bouquet in her box as well. Thankful that sometimes, the little things really do feel like big things.

Blessings~

Heather

Wordless Wednesday

(I’ll do better with the ‘wordless’ part next week…but hope you enjoyed the photo 🙂 )

 

 

 

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Thankful for …Reunions. Reunions of siblings who happen to be my children. Surprises of seeing a son who has been in California for 8 months who, with the help of his sister, surprised us with a sweet, sweet visit. (Heard banging at 6 something in the morning and came down to see them both in the kitchen waiting 🙂  Hope had gone to the airport at 4 to get Aus…  Sooo good to have him home for a time…Thankful that the trip coincided with birthdays of his younger sister and brother and included lots and lots of sweet surprises with family members who celebrated way more than birthdays. Thankful for my oh-so-different but oh-so-similar children who love each other and their differences and similarities. And thankful that we’ve had lots of time to catch up and sit on the deck and drink coffee, and laugh, and remember, and look forward a bit. My cup runneth over for sure…DSCN5545.jpg

Thankful for…once-full, now-spindly impatiens giving way to pansies as one season gives way to another. Thankful for the constant changing of seasons in the lives of those I love…. Am aware there are so very many transitions in the lives of 20-somethings…(and 5 of our 6 ‘children’ happen to be in this category right now, with the youngest only a few years away… )  Transitions are good as long as we’re reaching and moving forward. Momentum is good. Good not to fear change. Good to see the beauty in the old, but embrace the undiscovered things awaiting in the new.  Fear has a way of looking back, faith has a way of looking forward, empowering the now.New seasons in my life and the lives of those I hold dear that keep changing way more than four times a year. Praying for guidance with  doors opened and doors closed…and courage to run through them when they are open wide and wise, and to stay away when they are open wide but not so wise.  Prayer is a good good thing. So is counsel with those who know us. So is listening to our conscience and gut…and moms of course, ha!  (most times anyway 🙂 )

Thankful for …Laughter. Yes, out-of-control-laughter precipitated by familiarity that my new very favorite commercial brings up in me. Sometimes people may move at a bit of a s l o w e r pace than we might prefer.  I happen to work with a few of those children who are so very loved, but who definitely have their own pace.  Thankful for the awareness that my pace  doesn’t take precedence over another’s. Sometimes slowing down is a good thing…even when it feels a bit like this:

Geico Sloth…moving a bit slowwwwwww

 

I’m thankful for my youngest “child” who is now a co-manager for the basketball team. Thankful for this kid and for his friend, the other senior co-manager.  Tanner knows that connections and belonging are good, good things. He seeks them out. He knows that being a part of a team takes all kinds of skills, and that even though his best skills don’t include three point shots and lay-ups, he can still toss a ball or clean uniforms or take film of the games. Yep, love that we need all kinds of folks with all types of skills, and all kinds of paces (fast, medium, and even sloth-s l o w w w w ), for true community comes when we build on strengths, not play on weaknesses.  Oh, and I’m thinking we all have things that we’d be sloth s l o w w w at. Take me for instance… I might take a LOT more time to figure out a computer program than your average Joe, but if  you need a poem written or a dinner whipped up in 10 minutes, I might go at record speeds. Yeah, community allows for differences and celebration of strengths to be used for the common good.  Thankful my Tan man is finding his way.

Thankful for…provision on our most recent venture to Myrtle Beach. For old cars with no payments that sputter to the finish line of a 5 hour trip only to be welcomed and fixed by a family member who is anti-sloth-fast at mechanics and had the shop to do it. Thankful for brother-in-laws who are kind and patient and giving of their time to fix broken things. Thankful that that car could’ve broken down anywhere, but did it within an hour from where we needed to be. Thankful for humor and think time and sensors and lights on cars that give at least a little direction to this driver who had a husband on the other end of the line who called just as the car sputtered and ….STOPped. Yikes.  I like telling him about things AFTER they happen and are all fixed. Thankful that  I knew his anger was more fear and out of control frustration than anger…. Thankful for experience and years that remind me that things often only feel urgent and so incredibly heavy when the gravity of the situation outweighs the grace of provision in the midst of it. Thankful for a son who didn’t freak out but trusted my judgement in the middle of our little pit stop… He was just fine eating his lunch as his mom checked fluid levels and gages and sat ‘for a minute.’ Thankful for the perspective and realization that maybe I really am thankful for this old car after all! Yes, thankful for old cars with no payments and low insurance rates that can give reminders that we should be thankful for them too. Perspective is everything…

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Thankful for time walking with Tan man on the beach one morning. For walks and talks and sand and wind and crashing waves and the freshness that came with all of it. Thankful for freedom of running and laughing and watching birds fly every which way as Tan man charged on through.

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Thankful for…old friends and new who know your roots, your past, your beginnings, and for those who come later on the journey, and keep in step with you along the way. Thankful for times when that path seems narrow and bumpy and hard, and then respites, like today, when the path feels wide and smooth and dare I say, easy. Thankful for days when things just feel…easy.  But thankful that, like with my car, it’s all relative, in terms of what is or isn’t “easy”.  For what appears an easy path for some may be a difficult one for another.  We all have our own path. Our muscles and hearts and minds are prepared on prior paths for the paths ahead. Muscles developed on the not-so-easy paths are strong, ready, and prepared for the ones that might leave many by the way side. Thankful that path ahead is mine. Lots of choices to make even when you’re not a twenty something. Lots of opportunities taken or lost. Lots of amazing things to be involved in, and lots of things that also probably need to go by the wayside. Goals help to choose which is which goes or stays.  And prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.

Thankful for dark nights with skies full of stars and the reminder that we are part of something so much bigger than ourselves. Thankful for the realization that as I stepped outside one night to get a little perspective by looking up, that a son of mine was out doing the same thing. Yeah, it’s good to look up…and to see the vast grand sky, but to know that each star has its part, it’s little space to light up. Yep, a good reminder for sure. Thankful that morning light comes after the dark of night.

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Thankful for early morning walks, and quiet, and wind, and cold. For time to think and pray and process and just walk with no major tasks at hand. (Except maybe finding a way around a rabid raccoon…but that’s another story…yikes.  Big time yikes.)  Yep, love early morning walks…and then I love coming home to light and warmth and not-so-quiet.  Good to have a balance.

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Thankful for surprises like this bloom that keeps on blooming despite winds and storms and cold temperatures. Resilience is a good thing. It’s even better when that resilience is wrapped in a package that adds beauty to the world around it. Yeah, thankful for little things like flowers that beat the odds.

Thankful that I’ve got a full week ahead and a full week behind, but it’s quiet here right in the middle of it. It’s a gray, cold,drizzly Sunday afternoon with candles going,  dinner is on, and I have a must-read book that I must read by Tuesday. Deadlines, well, am not so thankful for those, but will push on through.  (The book is on trauma…yikes. tough read, but necessary for me in my position with some amazing students who are much like my mandevilla…trying to be resilient and beat the odds when surroundings make it difficult.)

Thankful for sweet readers who actually wade through these words…and the fact that we’re all in this together, and sometimes it’s the smallest of things that can remind us of that.

Blessings ~

Heather

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.
Psalm 73:28
(…on a Sunday…been a full week…)
 

 

 

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Silent Sunday

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Wordless Wednesday

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“Always, everywhere God is present,

and always He seeks to discover Himself to each one”

~A.W.Tozer

 

 

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Silent Sunday

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“Let go of the past, and the past will let go of you…”

Cool quote. Not sure who it’s by. But cool, powerful quote.

“Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
“Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:18-19

 

“I will do something new, Now it will spring forth…Will you not be aware of it?”

Tough to be aware of what’s ahead, what’s in front of us, when we’re looking in the past…in the rearview mirror of our lives, so to speak. When moving forward, it’s important not to be looking behind or accidents can happen. Yep, when moving forward, it’s important to be aware of what’s behind, but to be focused on where we’re going, not where we’ve been. Forward Steps. Not backward.

Gotta leave behind the old to get to the new. Leaves fall when trees let go. What makes them let go?  Gotta make room for the new, get rid of the old, before we can add more new.  Cool how the old,…the crunchy leaves soon turn to soft, and soon become a part of the soil. They soon become a part of the nutrients that feed the tree.

Yep, past is past, it’s there…it can remind us, feed us, fuel us with knowledge, wisdom, gratefulness and grace. But have you ever tried to keep, to hold onto a beautiful leaf?  It doesn’t stay beautiful…it fades and becomes dust. If we live in the past and try to  focus on and hold onto our little leaves of the past, we are left with a perspective that keeps us at bay and offers…dust. But if we let go, and let those leaves fall, yes, they become part of us, part of that soil that feeds in a good way.

I love how scripture speaks of the God who makes all things new. Redeems. Forgives. God grants hope that moves beyond the now to the what’s to come. A God that encourages us to remember, but not be held by former things. A God, who like moving waters of a river, calls us to move forward, to catch a ride with Him. Not stay in one place, for waters that do that quickly become stagnant. And stagnant is not good. It stinks. Literally and figuratively, it just stinks. Waters aren’t meant to be kept still. Not in streams, not in oceans, not in us. The heart that beats within us is constantly keeping our blood circulating, moving forward, and becoming full of life-giving oxygen with each beat.  The movement of that flow stops, then so do we…

But back to my little leaf metaphor 🙂 .  Leave behind the old, bring on the new. May the leaves be a reminder of the beauty of the past, but the letting go of it and the moving on toward the new. There’s a quote that I’ve seen a lot this fall and it’s beautiful. It says, “The trees are about to show us how beautiful it is to let things go.”  Yep. Definitely. In trees, and in me.

And like with trees, sometimes there’s a dormant season where you feel a little bare and don’t see the beauty of the new quite yet.  But it’s coming. Sometimes there’s just a little time to regroup, rest, and just be before the new comes swooping on in. And after winter of seeing gray and bare branches in the cold,  I know I sure appreciate the newness and beauty of Spring a lot more than if it had just marched on in right after the leaves left. Sometimes it’s good to get back to basics before the new comes….and then we appreciate and are ready for the new  so much more.

Just a few thoughts on leaves, the past, and the God who makes all things New.  Wonder what new things are in store? Wanna let go of the old to have open hands and heart to ‘be aware of ‘ that new thing. So here’s to Fall, and letting go, and believing that Spring is on it’s way.

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Blessings~

Heather

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11 

 

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