Archives for posts with tag: Faith

 

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His mom is beautiful.  And the beauty on the outside is only surpassed by the inside.  She’s compassionate. Fun. Artistic and creative. I remember her as one who loves well and laughs easily. She loves to dance. Actually teaches dance and is still in an adult community ballet as far as I know. She’s a woman who loves well and laughs easily. Years ago, as our trio sang, she danced during one of my favorite songs and did a beautiful job of bringing the words to life in a visual way.  The song and her dance made us all experience a sweet moment of understanding…of all being on the same page at the same time for that moment. 

His sisters are beautiful and spunky. That’s what I remember. My daughter and one of the sisters were church and school buddies. They were fun and active and funny and interactive. There was lots of laughter when my girl was with his sisters.

He was a little church buddy of one of my sons when they were young. Big brown eyes. Brown hair. Freckles. A lighthearted attitude with an easy smile. Intuitive. Funny.  That’s how I’ll remember him. Jake Meade.

Words spoken now of him are of grief and sadness and a huge void. Words spoken and photos shared are laced with grief that he was gone way too soon.  This 23-year-old left the world way before anyone was ready to let him go. Way before any 23-year-old should. Heroine overdose.

I couldn’t sleep the other night for thinking of the mom with a huge unspeakable void… Didn’t sleep till four and then woke up at 5:30 instantaneously thinking of the void that this sweet mom was feeling. And not just her…sisters, dad, friends, family members, teachers, coaches… The list goes on. And the circle of relationships of those who held him dear spirals outward and outward and outward.  Even reaches folks who haven’t seen him for years and years, but knew him. Who he was. Who he is. And the ache is one of those that will run deep and wide and linger on and on. In our story book, it should’ve never happened…

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Jake and his mom, Ashley

 

But Jesus came to heal the broken. To comfort the afflicted. To be in it all. ALL. That’s what the Bible says. Lots of people are needing to be comforted today. Because Jake mattered. His life matters to a lot of people. It matters to God.  Jesus came to redeem what’s unredeemable. To make whole the fragmented. Jesus came to save. You. Me. All. Not to condemn. To save. To make whole. To take what sin can eat alive, what sin can stain,  and then, make totally clean, free. To take what’s broken and redeem. In you. me. all.

There’s an epidemic in our community, in our state, in our nation…and it’s reaching our homes. It’s creeping in the dark and stealing young lives away from their families, their friends, their futures. And we need to shine a light on the darkness that is stealing away our loved ones. So, here i am, trying to hold up a little candle. Not just to shine a light on the darkness of the opioid epidemic, but to hopefully shed a little ray of light to comfort those who are left behind with a huge loss.

I want them to know that I’m remembering them…the parents, the families, the loved ones lost. I don’t know what to say. I really don’t. And I find myself as I’m writing saying, what right do I have to get in there and talk about this subject? What right do I have to write a post about a young life lost to addiction? And all I kept thinking was…it’s being human…a human right. Loss is loss. Loss effects us all. I’m so far removed from the families that have recently lost loved ones and even I have had restless nights praying for them. I’ve wept with them from miles away. I remember the fully-alive-ness of their wide-eyed boys. I remember the beauty of who their children are. I want them to know that I remember.

And I know that none of us are immune. I know that. Death doesn’t discriminate. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. We can try to safeguard ourselves, our families all we want, …and we should, yet in a weak moment, even the strong and well-insulated can fall prey to any demise.  I want to get in there and I don’t know what to do other than pray…and hit a “like” when they share their thoughts on Facebook. I “like” to let them know that their son should be remembered. I like that good, even little tiny bits of good, can come out of tragic loss. I love that an army of weeping moms and dads are coming together not just to remember those lost to the opioid epidemic, but to shine a light on it and rally and say, what next?  I love that good can come out of horrific things. Great even. But the pain, the grief walks hand in hand with it all.

Ashley…I remember you dancing…and the way that the heart of what was in you drew us all in as we watched.  I loved how we were all on the same page as you danced and your vulnerability was healing and good and encouraging.  And this dance that you’re dancing now is not one that  you would ever choose. But it’s one that’s drawing us all in…and making us all aware and feel things that need to be felt and see things that need to be seen. It’s shining a light on things that need to get out of the shadows, out of the darkness. Praying God comforts you in ways that only He can and that you sense His presence in the dance one step at a time. 

Here’s one of the songs (below) that you danced to way back when. To dance in the midst of adversity…to hope though there are no signs….to trust in a world of uncertainty when there seems to be more darkness than light….Praying you find the strength and will and that in the comfort of our Savior’s grace…you dance.

Love and Hugs and prayers and thoughts and memories and hopes,

heather

 

 

 

endings

are

beginnings.

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“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ❤
~ Frederick Buechner
So, it’s already Thursday again. Thankful Thursday, that is. And here are a few things I’m thankful for today.
First am thankful for..this quote. “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”  Amen. Faith, not fear. Faith. Feed faith, not fear.The news tells us to fear. Looking deeper into things through eyes of faith can encourage us to ….not. Not fear, that is.   Love Frederick Buechner’s tip for sure.
Am thinking faith, not fear, in the little things. Thankful for my one-of-a-kind youngest son who leads the way in this.  He dresses to the hilt for every “Spirit Day” at school, even when it’s at someone else’s school for another team’s football game. Tonight, Hawaiian night. So he doesn’t just put on the  crazy fuschia pink and yellow and black Hawaiian shirt that a dear woman, Christine, bought for Buddy years ago. No, he doesn’t stop with that. He makes sure he’s got the puka shell necklace, the shirt that says, “Hawaii”, and the One Love Skate hat that has the continents of the World on it. He thought they look like Hawaii…and the one who started One Love Skate is living in Hawaii now. Anyway, he goes to the hilt and so does not get it from yours truly. We had Spirit week at school this week and I participated, sort of. Wore a bandana and jeans on Western day and a hat on hat day, ha. Pretty pathetic attempt, I’d say.  But Tanner, Tan-man thoughtfully prepares and goes all out in these things. He’s not afraid of what others think. No fear. Just courage. And with courage comes freedom. Love that. Wanna be more like that.
Thankful for conversations had, and conversations that are not yet voiced. Because sometimes waiting is important. Sometimes the unspoken and restraint and processing before words are spoken is a gift. Sometimes words come like thunder. Sometimes they come like a gentle rain. Usually, some thought and prayer and time can help dispel storms a bit. Takes courage to be still. Takes faith to know that there will be a time to talk later…takes courage and restraint to actually do the waiting. And then takes courage to speak.
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Thankful for heroes. Everyday heroes who see a need and jump in the water, the way, the whatever, to make a difference. Thankful that everyday heroes look just like you and me and that, well, they are you and me when we choose to be. We can all be heroes to somebody. We just need to look for opportunities to jump in. Thankful for the many reminders this week that sometimes the little things are truly the big things. And that those little efforts made at the right time can make a world of difference.  Thankful for the reminder that, “except for the grace of God, there go I.” Natural disasters aren’t personal. They sweep on in and leave people in their wake without regard for race, economic status, creed, gender, political views or ethics. Heroes do the same. Disasters help us see through a different lens…where we are on the same side with the same mission. So thankful for the ordinary heroes sweeping on into Houston this past week and the love in action that was shown.  Thankful for the way it inspires others and inspires me to take initiative to jump in when there’s a need. And there are needs all around….
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Thankful for retrospect. For lessons learned, lightbulbs in heart and mind turned on, and then freedom to move forward. Takes courage to step on into unknown futures.  Takes tenacity to keep moving your feet when they want to stand still. Takes courage to keep eyes and heart wide open. Thankful for loved ones who are moving their feet and going forward into the unknown. Thankful for being in the here and now and thankful for the truth that we need each other. We need each other period. Takes courage to takes walls down. Cool thing is, that’s when there’s room to be en-couraged.
Thankful for celebrations and milestones. For bright lime green balloons and sprinkle donuts, and  cards signed by every faculty member celebrating One student. Thankful for the awareness that one plus one plus one equals way more than three..it equals “We”. Thankful for “We’ll miss you” cards colored with every color in the crayon box. For 3rd and 4th grade students who share encouragement and ‘remember whens’ and give with words and actions.
Thankful for fragrant little white flowers that have cropped up on the Broad River greenway, in the woods by my school’s parking lot, and on the roads on the way to work.  Thankful for the fragrance and the beauty that’s there for just a short season, and then gone. Enjoying them while I can.
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I’m thinking maybe my blog should be called “Rambling on…”
Random thought?  Yep. But pretty accurate, ha.    Or…”Random Ramblings…”Am thinking I’ll close for now 🙂
Blessings to you all.
Heather
P. S. Feed faith. Not fear. Courage. Not fear. Faith. Not fear.
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“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ❤
~ Frederick Buechner
“Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10
Thankful Thursday

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Thankful for …my walks at the river and that this time, when I asked, everyone said, “No, not today…” but then when I was ready to go, there were two sons and one husband ready to go along for the ride…and the walk. Sweet surprise. Love going for a walk, but love it more when there’s someone walking beside me.

Thankful for walks that include walking and talking, and walking and not. Silence feels right at home in the woods.

Thankful for wide-eyed wonder and little eclipse watchers. Thankful for ‘aha’ moments and the way they bring together whoever has eyes to see.

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Thankful for sweet moments with students…for dancing to sight word songs and laughing out loud when students get my stupid jokes on the side. Thankful for stubborn stand-offs and seeing the moment that the student realizes maybe this teacher is being stubborn because she really does care…and that’s why she’s willing to dig her heels in and draw her lines to help teach students more than math and reading. Thankful for breakthroughs that come after ‘stand-offs’.IMG_5283.jpg

Thankful for the amazing sunset that Tanner and I saw on the way back from a trip to the mall to get some new shoes. It was the night of the eclipse, and was different than any sunset I’d ever seen. Oh, and am so thankful for the “I’m going to do my own thing” kind of spirit that my LeBron-loving-Tan-Man had as he purchased …Steph Curry shoes. Ha. Quite the dilemma for a bit, but he’s defining his own little walk and not walking in another’s shoes. Thankful for that…and for the laughter and freedom that came after the dilemma was solved and he decided that he indeed could wear his Cavaliers hat and Steph Curry shoes at the same time because …he could!

Thankful for encouragement from friends.  For verses shared and words spoken that hit the need spot-on at just the right time. Thankful for being able to walk with friends during the hard times and horse-laugh not just in the good, but in the hard. Yeah. It’s good to have people that know you and can see a broader view when you’re stuck in the middle. Sometimes laughter is the best thing to grant perspective for sure.

Thankful for my favorite quote of the week from a 5-year old little boy with an ultra-fun baby sitter ...”How do you spell ‘havingagreattime’?   🙂

Thankful for the many details worked out in a week during  yet another period of lots of transitions for adults in my life who happen to still be my children <3. Thankful for so many steps forward, and some back, but that that’s the dance of life. Am so very thankful for this dance of life. Thankful for the chances for ‘do-overs’, reboots,  and ‘let’s try that a different way’-s that are about so much more than getting it ‘right’, but more about growing those heart and mind and spirit muscles in these ones who I’ll always see as my greatest gifts…

and last but not least am thankful for a Friday night when pizza is on the menu (and the cinna-bites that Tan-man wanted so badly that were worth every minute of the extra ten minute wait). Thankful for a Friday night  when I can kick up my feet and read and rest and be thankful for the week behind, look forward to the week ahead, but quietly sit here in the middle of it all and reflect on some of the sweet moments of the week.IMG_5300

Happy Thankful Thursday on a Friday 🙂

Blessings ~

Heather

 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

 

Thankful Thursday

 

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So on this “Thankful Thursday” am thankful for a little ‘profile in courage’ of our own. This is Tala.  She does not like bridges.  Especially long bridges.  Even more so, very long swinging bridges where you can look under your four legs and see a stream flowing way down below. Nope, she doesn’t like bridges at all.

She made that clear in strong protest. I didn’t blame her.

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And once she belly-crawled to the steps, she did this again:

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So I called Hope and told her the situation because I was worried, way more worried than I let Hope know. With Tala’s strength and determination and the fact that there are dog-sized gaps between where the rope railing meets the wooden slats, well, I had this picture of us possibly making headline news on the Shelby Star for falling off the swinging bridge. Yes. Tala’s fearful reaction was making a literal ‘walk in the park’, so NOT….and frankly….dangerous!

But Hope gave good advice. It was this. “Mom, Tala doesn’t like to be left alone, so if you just go ahead, she’ll follow you.” So now we weren’t just talking about Tala’s courage, we were talking about my fear/courage.  Although I don’t have a fear of bridges, I do have a fear of a willful, scared dog flipping out on a bridge (figuratively AND literally) and me trying to come to its rescue.  So it took a step of courage for me to step ahead….but I did…and then….miracle of all miracles… (after a bit of wait time with me trying to act very nonchalant)…

 

…after I took a step.. so did she.  Phew.  Big exhale Phew.

So for the rest of the way, we walked really close, step by step, little by little until we made it to the end of the bridge. The bridge swayed a bit and there were moments of hesitation, but Tala persisted and walked close.

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It kind of felt like a long way, but long ways become shorter with each step and so pretty soon, we had gotten from point A to point B and had actually survived. I was so proud of little Tala’s courage.

Sometimes bridges are scary, not just for dogs. Bridges are transitions from one thing to another. To get from one side to the place where we want to go, well, sometimes it takes steps of faith on not-so-solid-ground where one must focus on that step and not set one’s sights on the other side of the bridge. Tala, this sweet and gentle natured dog, absolutely lost all composure and fought and laid down and refused to move forward when she looked at the L O N G bridge.  But the cool thing is, when she saw me go ahead, and looked at me, she was willing to take the first step onto that swinging bridge to follow me. Her fear of being left alone on the other side of the bridge was much greater than her fear of the bridge.

So it can be with transitions. Maybe sometimes we can do courageous things because of our fear of staying where we are and being left behind is greater than the fear of the challenge ahead. Better yet, we can trust the ones we’re with. Tala was fine as long as she stayed close. 

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After I crossed the bridge, I was thankful for the little venture and realized I want to be like Tala. I want to courageously move forward when the ground doesn’t look steady and feels scary. I know that I’m not alone…but I want to stay close to the One who is so worthy of my trust. Trust can look like a lot of things, but I think the deepest trust looks like courage to follow, step by step.

One of my favorite verses through the years has been Isaiah 52:12…It talks about how God goes before us and picks up the pieces behind… But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”  One of the beautiful things is that courage to walk through more difficult terrains often leads to amazing ventures, people, and experiences that would never happen had we let fear win. 

Just ask Tala :

 

So here’s to bridges and transitions. Here’s to having the courage to step on to them and the tenacity and trust to cross them. And here’s to choosing wisely Who we trust to go with us along the way.

Blessings~

Heather

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5,6

 

 

Thankful Thursday

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“Faith is like radar that sees through the fog – the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see.”  Corrie Ten Boom

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

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“Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.”  ~ Elisabeth Elliot

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Giving myself 15 minutes to write what I’m thankful for for this week…so here goes…

Thankful for Sky.  For wide open spaces. For sunsets and endings to days.  Good to have endings so that we can have beginnings.

Thankful for sons on the way home from different places & different ventures, a daughter on the way out to see family, and me sitting right there in the middle of the comings and goings being thankful that I get to see them as they come and they go. Thankful they have places to go to do their thing, but that there’s a magnet of family to come home to.

Thankful for friends. For truths shared. Encouragement. Laughter. Gut-level prayers sent up, and the ‘you’re not in this alone’ reality that sweet friendship brings to both sides. Internal perspective has a way of changing external views. So very thankful for friendships that help me see things through the lens of faith.

Thankful for stark realities of death that lead to beautiful awareness of LIFE and the gift of each day. That the darkest moments one one’s life can lead to wake up calls of living well in so many more lives. Thankful that the Bible speaks of deep gut-level HOPE that doesn’t let us or loved ones go in times of loss.

Thankful for stupid videos that my son shares that make me laugh like crazy….and make me admit that his quite goofy sense of humor may have come from someone.

Thankful for evening walks after the rain.

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Thankful for triple chocolate gelato (almost as good as the pistachio)…and for a son who eats a lot of it so that his mom isn’t tempted to eat more. Thankful for the memory of a year ago…eating my first gelato on a small island in the Archipelagos of Sweden…and for the son who was determined to help me check some things off of my bucket list.

Thankful for a ridiculously cluttered garage that is becoming less cluttered, and for the many moments in the past week of finding lost treasures of notes from kids, family photos, and little reminders of different stages of our family. Thankful for the laughter and cleansing tears shed in the reminders, and for the laughter and smiles from my kids as they get unexpected photos popping up on their phones with “remember when” messages from a mom who is trying hard to hold things loosely, but hold tightly to the things that matter.

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Bookmark Josh made years and years ago 🙂

Thankful for a misty rain that watered the plants that I had forgotten to.

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Morning Glory

Thankful that God’s mercy is new every morning.

Thankful for spinakopita and Greek salad and lunch with coworkers.

Thankful for time with my girl of laughter and talking and accomplishing daily tasks as a team…always feels so good to be part of a team working towards a common goal. Thankful for her feisty self that has a heart of compassion and wisdom underneath all that beauty and spunk.

Thankful for calls from sons…and catching up and laughing and connecting…and the little things that remind me that even though they are now men with lives of their own, they are so the same little guys with the same eyes that I looked into when they were young.

Thankful for my husband’s determination to provide for our family, and for the humility and wisdom to keep pressing on when things aren’t anywhere near easy street.

Thankful for walks with friends and wise decisions to meet at the River Trail instead of DQ.

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Carolina Thread Trail

Thankful for good reports from family members and the reminder that we all aren’t quite as invincible as we may think.

Thankful for new books to read and the desire to learn and grow. For me from the library, and for my youngest from Young Life youth leader. Yep Thankful for people investing in my kids big time.

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Thankful for quiet mornings, coffee, and for the missions and checklists for the day.

Thankful for “Thankful Thursday” posts and for the way being grateful for the little things has a way of empowering me to tackle the big things/tasks of the day.

Welp, my 15 minutes (stretched to 20 actually) are up.  Thankful for those who take the time to read these words, and for the many connections we all have. Thankful for words that bridge connections.  ❤

Hope your day is full of many, many…. Blessings ~

Heather

 

“..give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  I Thessalonians 5:18

Thankful Thursday

 

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Boiling Springs, NC  June 24th, 2017

“Faith is to believe what you do not see…the reward of faith is to see what you believe.”

~Saint Augustine

 

Silent Sunday

 

 

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