>> Monday, July 7, 2014
On Wednesday at Special Touch camp, Megan and I did something neither of us had ever done before - we went inner-tubing! Our tubes were tied together and my job was to make sure all went well as we traveled downstream.
The first 3/4 of the ride, we were alone. Some of the group was way ahead of us and some way behind. We were in the middle and enjoying it. Megan splashed water on me and her legs pushed us along faster than the quiet stream. It was relaxing. I laid my head back and enjoyed the scenery.
Sometime in there, the path got rocky and the current swifter. I pulled myself up out of the tube so I could use my legs and arms to push us away from big rocks that peeked up out of the water or when we were close to washing up against the sides of the banks where tree limbs wanted to entangle us.
I enjoyed our ride so much that I got...
We were laughing and teasing each other and I forgot I had to watch out for obstacles in our way. Megan was up higher in a float than I was and she was MY responsibility. Because the beginning was so smooth sailing and so much fun, I let my guard down. Very quickly I learned to keep my feet up so they wouldn't get scraped on the creek bed. I watched upstream so I would know which route to go when there were two paths.
But even while watching, I still didn't save us from getting scraped up by limbs that reached out and grabbed us. Rocks stayed hidden until I was right on them. Trust me, it wasn't a smooth ride anymore! I seriously was worried to stand up at the end in case I didn't have a bottom left of my swim suit.
When I was worried and working so hard, Meg laughed and splashed. She still enjoyed the ride without fear. That made me feel good. I was creating an experience she would never forget. It also made me think about Jesus and how He took up our sins and died on the cross for us so we could have life after life here on Earth. We can live our lives without fear of what's next. It's covered...and it's wonderful!
I could watch out for Meg fairly well - just one person. At some point, we got ahead of two people. One was a girl in our group, Amanda. She was screaming. I turned around and tried to encourage her to relax and enjoy the ride. While I talked to her, I didn't have my eyes on what was happening in front of us. I quickly found out, I had to not worry about her. I couldn't take care of two guests at that moment. Gayle had Amanda and was doing a great job. I had to keep my focus so Meg and I would stay safe.
It served to remind me how God is so big and how small I am. He watches out for all of us. All the time. His eyes are always on us. He's not inadequate. He is perfect. Unlike me. All week, my job was to look after three young ladies. I loved on them and watched out for them like they were my own. I couldn't let my guard down. I learned more lessons from camp I'll be sharing. I had to lean on God to help me make it through. Not only did we make it through, we had a blast!
For all those who gave money or bought supplies to help Megan go to camp, THANK YOU - from Megan, her dad, and myself. Her world got lots bigger and she met others who were just like her. That alone has to be pretty awesome!
>> Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Linda is, "married with three children and three grandchildren. Her triple-A personality allows her to be an agent with Hartline as well. She loves anything with the written word, and loves stories based on family lore. Rich stories wait to be fictionalized and written, stories handed down through families, no matter legend or exact truth. Linda loves the opportunity to write or find "just the right book" to shake up the industry. She's a charging train: "All aboard!'"
Bride by Necessity is her fifth Love Inspired Heartsong book with the sixth to come out in October. As she describes herself, she certainly is a charging train. That's the only way I can resolve myself to give the review that I have to give.
This book takes place in England in 1855. It starts with bad news, as many do. Payton Whittard is the female main character. She is suddenly whisked from a very humble, poor beginning to living with a very rich man she always feared.
I wish that's all the description there was to this book. I was able to guess almost everything that was going to happen. Either too much was given away in order to sell the book or it was too contrived to make it move along faster. That wouldn't be Linda's fault. The Heartsong books are short. I enjoyed the characters: Payton is a tom-boy; Jonathan is still trying to recover from a broken heart. I also liked several of the servants that Linda brought to life.
I got lost in a couple of places but I believe it was because of the pacing. It was way too fast. First they were mad at each other and the next sentence they weren't. It was hard to keep up - like a teenage romance but neither of these were teens. And Payton was hardly an orphan, as the blurb describes her. She was twenty years old - I'm sure an orphan status in the 1800's but it's still hard to imagine for us now.
I so wish Linda had the opportunity to write this book in full. There is so much more she could have done to let us explore the characters and understand the reasons behind their decisions much better. It's not an awful book but it did put me in frustration mode. I truly enjoyed Payton and Jonathan.
So, even though this was a hard review to write, Linda asked for honesty. I would like to know what you think of it. Buy it! Read it. It will take you a day or two and will transport you to another time and place. That's not a bad thing, huh?!
Thank you Linda, for letting me read your book. I can't wait to read more!
>> Friday, June 6, 2014
- I finished another year of school. I used sick days for my grandson Kaden more than I did for myself. No surgeries! Nothing that knocked me down for days on end! All in all, we had a pretty good year.
- I also completed a 5K. I'd been training for it but didn't finish before race day. I ran it in 39 minutes and came in 2nd in the women's 50 and over bracket. Mind-blowing!
We couldn't wait to get to the end of the school year but then the end brought up all kinds of stress.
I kept up a good, steady pace for the 5K. Until the end. I just couldn't go on. "Where's the finish line?" I asked. They told me it was just up ahead. And then all kinds of crazy thoughts entered my mind, like:
Why am I doing this?
Will I be able to walk tomorrow?
Will I be able to step into the car to get home?
Why am I doing this? (that one deserved to be asked several times!)
Funny thing is, the point I really wanted to give up was when I could see the finish line. I barely moved my legs the last 4 miles. Very sore. Very tired. Very sun burnt. It was a 4 hour ride and the last 20 minutes or so, I was ready to throw in the towel. Catch a ride with a passing farmer.
The end, I had a hard time getting to the end, but...I did it.
In all of these, getting to the end wasn't easy. I was:
I did it! I made it to the end. I just waved at the farmers as they drove by in their pickup trucks and who could have very easily taken me the rest of the way home. I kept on running when I was encouraged that the finish line was just up ahead. I kept on plugging away at school with every one else even though we were just done. All of us.
In all of these, getting to the end wasn't easy, but once I got there, I was:
This is how I want to live my life every day. I want to push past pain barriers. Push past mental barriers. Push past my own self-doubt. Finishing a year of school may not seem like much to some people but this is the first year in a long time that I've not had an extended leave of absence for a surgery or sickness. It's a big thing.
A 5K might not seem a big thing but I've been sick for so long that it is a big thing. For me. It's HUGE!
Riding my bike for 38 miles, even on accident, riding places I've never ridden before - pushing past fears of getting lost - that's big. Big for me. And I just rode. I didn't care. I knew God was taking care of me and my husband would bail me out if need be. I'm jumping past so many barriers in my 50th year of life. I'm wondering how many more I can add.
The only thing that truly matters is pushing past that finish line and hearing God say,
>> Sunday, April 27, 2014
The book and video we used is by Ruth Haley Barton and subtitled: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation. The whole weekend was just - wow!
One of the points we read/discussed was honoring the body. How can I glorify God in my body? In order to do that, we have to learn how to listen to our bodies and begin to treat our bodies like the temple of God, which they are. How can we bring others to Him if we're limping around not enjoying life? It's time for us to eat our veggies, ya'll. Put away the potato chips and maybe bake some kale?
Eating better has helped me lose weight;
and losing weight has helped me get up and get active;
and getting active has helped me get in tune with my body.
As many of you know, I was sick for a long time. As I've been able to get active and stretch myself, I've found out that this is how God speaks to me. I never thought I would enjoy riding my bike for 30 plus miles or enjoy doing yoga or cardio with a 29 year-old friend. Never in a million years!
At the end of the retreat, while every one else was enjoying the fireplace and talking, I put on a few layers of clothes and went outside in our late-in-the-year-snow and plopped down in front of the big picture window and made a snow angel.
After a bit, I stopped trying to entertain the spectators and was caught up in just laying there, quiet...
listening to my breath...
and the longer I lay, I felt more vulnerable spread eagle, but felt safe at the same time...
I also realized I wasn't all that cold on the ground - the building kept the wind from hitting me,
Abba Daddy was protecting me...
and then I looked up at the sky - my God-given blue eyes connected to the clear blue sky.
For a few minutes or five or ten, I don't really know how long it was, I experienced the God who brought this late in the year snow. Such a big big sky, and me, so little on a huge expanse of earth.
I ventured outside where no one else dared and He, Abba Daddy, met with me. A couple of years ago, that wouldn't have happened. I would have stayed inside, warm. Now, I love stretching myself to do new things. Experience new adventures. It's one way God speaks to me and it's okay. We learned different ways we can experience God. I don't have to sit with my Bible and continually feel bad because I seem to be learning impaired. We all listen and learn in different ways. There is a time and place for studying God's Word, of course, but the more I spend with Abba - the more I want to spend with Him in every way imaginable, and that includes getting into His Word, memorizing scripture, listening to Him speak to me through His creation - you see?
He's waking me up. My eyes were wide-open looking up into that great expanse of sky - into the Heavens and that experience is still very real to me even now. God connected with me. We were in rhythm.