Posted in Freedom, God, Impossible, life, Obstacles, Possibilities, Random, sanctity, Uncategorized

In which I choose on principle…

I’m not voting for the two front-runners. I’m not voting for the libertarian either. I’m voting my conscience.

See I get it. I get voting for the lesser of two evils, which is different depending on which side of the party line you fall. I also get not voting on principle because we’re “citizens of another world” and this world holds nothing for us beyond a temporary resting place for our weary souls. I even get the people who threaten to run away to Canada or some other country if their candidate doesn’t get elected (even though they rarely do follow through on said threat)…

I can see the justification for all of those, even if I strongly disagree with them.

I can see it because we’ve become a nation of the fearful sheep vs. the power hungry. The rich vs. the poor. Religion vs. Secular. Right vs. Left. Black vs. White.

We’re no longer the land of the free and the home of the brave, though there are still those who fight for those principles. We’re no longer the land of a government BY the people, FOR the people, OF the people…and yes, I know I got that mixed up, but the point still stands.

We’re the nation of individual rights trumping the freedom of many. The nation that kills its young and helpless and oppresses its powerless and poor.

No longer do we stand for Truth and Justice and Liberty and Peace. Now we applaud evil and laud the ones who flaunt their crimes. We riot in the streets, we pit one man against another and we rejoice when one’s personal preferences destroy another’s livelihood.

All in the name of what? Do we even know what we’re fighting for anymore? Who we’re fighting for?

I can tell you. We’re fighting for ourselves. Our own selfish desires that we promote as “rights”. Yet when push comes to shove, we deny the responsibility that accompanies those rights. We deny the consequences of our selfishness and our bitter agendas, all the while wailing about the injustices and destruction of a nation without a true north. We throw away moral absolutes in favor of pushing our own pride and prejudices and opinions. Then we wonder why our nation can’t seem to hold it together and why the rest of the world mocks us.

Say what you will, but this nation is a laughingstock and an embarrassment to the principles on which it was created. We’ve fallen SO far from our founding father’s intent and beliefs and we call them archaic, old-fashioned, and destructive to our liberty.

All the while, the very liberties that our founding fathers believed in and toiled over and shed blood for, are being trampled on this twisted, warped idea that we’re entitled to “our rights” regardless of the cost. We even raise our kids to believe they are the center of the universe. Then we wonder why they grow up demanding free schooling, free healthcare, free handouts, free food, free housing…and the list goes on.

We have a history built on hard work, religious freedom, moral uprightness, kindness for our fellow men and women, equality for all mankind. Did the founding fathers screw up? Of course. They were not infallible by any stretch of the imagination.

The difference is, they admitted it. Washington admitted that his temperament was alienating and volatile. Jefferson condemned slavery loudly, even penning his opposition of the detestable practice in the original draft of the Declaration. Yet he owned slaves and blamed the British for its presence in the US. Hamilton touted fidelity and yet he couldn’t seem to follow his own rule, maintaining a two year affair with a young, married woman even as his own wife silently bore the shame of the very public scandal.

Not one of them claimed to be free from sin and responsibility of their actions. And they built a nation on the very true claim that ALL mankind are created equal. They built a democracy founded on Biblical principles and there are enough writings saved from that time period that will confirm this. Not because they were self-righteous, religious snobs determined to shove their personal beliefs down the throats of their constituents, but because they believed that to have a thriving, successful secular government, they could not separate the secular from the sacred. They believed in a higher power, stating it most emphatically in the documents that shaped our government. Namely, the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution, with its lack of any mention of God, shocked the majority of Americans at that time, mainly because they worried that such a lapse would threaten religious liberty. NOT religious liberty to control the government, but the opposite. They feared a government that would interfere in their religious liberties, liberties that permeated every aspect of their culture at the time. They feared a government that would one day refuse to acknowledge God’s authority and would abuse those who DID adhere to this belief. In answer, the First Amendment was written. Obviously, we see the controversial debates regarding its intent. But back then, it was a confirmation that religious beliefs and convictions would NEVER be taken from the people.

I could go on, but I digress.

This year’s election is just a symptom of a larger problem. We no longer choose our leaders based on integrity and the idea that ALL mankind are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights. We choose based on popularity, poll ratings, and the ability to make the prettiest promises regardless of the fact they aren’t actually intending to keep them.

We say One Nation Under God, but we don’t even believe in that God anymore. We trust in our leaders blindly, electing corrupt, arrogant, power-hungry individuals and we wonder why law and order is a thing of the past, why racism is even more violent and divisive than ever, and why millions of innocent children are sacrificed on the altar of our selfishness and disdain for the sanctity of life.

I cannot trust in our government and no one else should either. Governments are fallible, they come and go, and they are only as strong as the people they represent. The people who represent our nation are cowards and divisive enemies of liberty. We were once a nation who represented integrity and liberty of all mankind to governments around the world intent on tyranny and despotism.

Now we wouldn’t know the difference between tyranny and true liberty if they hit us between the eyes. We think power means being the biggest bully on the playground. We think helping the poor means enslaving entire families in a never-ending cycle of government handouts and sub-par housing. We think our rights involve lawsuits against those whose religious beliefs contradict our personal preferences. We think life only begins when one is able to contribute to society and anything less than that is a leech or an inconvenience. We think that murdering children in the womb is a right because it’s OUR body to do with as we please. We think that skin color is more important than kindness to others and the sanctity of ALL life. We think that we are entitled to free education, free money, free healthcare, and freedom from responsibility.

We want ALL of this without acknowledging the responsibilities and consequences that go along with said “rights.”

We’re no longer a nation based on freedom and liberty. We’re a nation based on selfishness and entitlement.

And voting for any candidate in this upcoming election is NOT going to change that.

The ONLY way we can change the destructive path our nation is walking, is to acknowledge that our rights come with responsibilities and consequences. And THEN, to live accordingly. Not just acknowledging them, but accepting them and living accountable to the Higher Power on whose authority our Founding Fathers believed and acted.

It’s not going to happen in Washington D.C.

It can only start with each of us as individuals, on into our families, our communities, our towns and cities, our states, and finally our federal government.

Frankly, unless a revival of principle and morality and a belief in the authority of God occurs, I’m afraid our nation is doomed to repeat the history of a thousand other nations who turned their backs on God.

Posted in Abundance, Book promotion, Books, discipline, exercise, faith, God, Hope, lessons, life lessons, prayer, Random, Reading, reviews, soul surgery, Spiritual disciplines, spiritual training, Uncategorized, War, Winning

In which prayer is my most powerful and unused weapon…

Having spent the last two weeks in almost non-stop prayer and worship, I can safely confirm that I do NOT pray nearly enough.

There’s a story that’s told of a man named George Mueller, a minister, evangelist, and the man who took care of over 10,000 orphans in his lifetime with faith and prayer as his foundation. He began each day very early in prayer. Sometimes for hours before the sun rose, he would be found on his knees in supplication to Almighty God and this continued without fail until his death.

The story is that one day, he was interrupted by one of his assistants who, stressed about all that needed doing that day came to ask if they could shorten their morning prayers in order to make room for the expanded schedule of events. George Mueller took one look at his assistant and said very calmly,

“Absolutely not. In fact, BECAUSE of all we must get done today, we will need to pray LONGER.”

And he did, adding at least one more hour to their prayer time that day. At the end of the day, the assistant was amazed. Not only did they get all of their assigned tasks completed in record time, but they ended the day at rest and at peace, instead of frazzled and hurried. Their focus had been on God from the beginning and He was big enough to handle all their burdens.

I did not quote the story word for word, but the essence of it is there. When I first heard it, I puzzled over how “losing” ANOTHER hour of time to prayer would help them complete their tasks with time to spare, but the answer was so very simple. Did you see it?

Their focus was on God from the beginning and He was big enough to handle all their burdens.

Prayer is the greatest weapon God has given us in our arsenal and it is sadly the least used. Without prayer, faith cannot thrive, because it has no focus and no line of communication to the Author and Perfecter of said faith.

I was recommended a book to read by one of my dear friends and a woman of faith I have looked up to as an unofficial mentor in my life.

It’s called Prayer & Spiritual Warfare

I’m only 2 chapters in and BLOWN away by the fact that in spite of my almost 3 decades of claiming to be a Christ-follower, I have absolutely NO idea what prayer is all about. I mean, I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover, memorized the Lord’s prayer, read through the Psalms dozens of times, and just two chapters of expounding on the Scriptures has proven how very ignorant I am of the greatest weapon I have in my possession. I’m eager to read more, but it’s 11 at night and I really need some solid sleep. I’m pretty sure my eyes are bugging just writing this post.

If you EVER want a great read on what prayer is and how it works in your life, read E.M.Bounds book.

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Be aware that it will transform your thinking in regards to your walk with God and the power of prayer. Like my friend said, “Be prepared to be rocked, lady.”

My favorite quote so far is this one:

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Just imagine what the world would be like if prayer was used the way it should be, and faith was more than just a trite word we throw out there to impress no one. If we truly “prayed without ceasing” and prayed for each day instead of worrying about tomorrow’s cares.

“The EFFECTIVE prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16

I’m just learning what that means.

Posted in Creating Art, faith, Family, Freedom, God, grief, Healing, Healing a Wounded Soul, Hope, lessons, life, life lessons, Love, Made to Crave, Pain, Passion, Possibilities, Random, Transparency, Uncategorized, Writing

In which loneliness hits hard…

I was the awkward, unsocial kid growing up. It wasn’t for lack of trying to build friendships, because lord help me, I was also the obnoxious one on the playground begging for friends and clinging to them until they realized how needy I was and shook me off. I don’t blame them. It’s not pleasant being on the other end of that connection either.

I don’t think I ever “gave up” trying to make friends per se. It was the keeping them that I couldn’t quite figure out.

So I made friends and lost them, contenting myself with my literary friends in the between times, until the next unsuspecting victim crossed my path and I threw myself at them with all the grace of a 2 ton bull in a tea shop. Delicacy has NEVER been a strong suit of mine.

It’s funny? Ironic? I’m not even sure which word to use actually. In all my “personality” tests I’ve taken, some of the top character qualities I have are loyalty, honesty, and friendliness. It never fails. Of course, that’s always followed by some variation of, “makes friends easily and usually has a large social circle, but her deepest relationships are rare and hard-won.”

I’ve assumed it’s because I’ve just got a handicap when it comes to making and keeping friends. That maybe the tests are wrong and I’m not “friend” material. After all, literary friends are SO much easier, less messy, and they don’t shy away from my overtures. It’s part of the reason why I wanted to be a writer actually. Writers are kind of given carte-blanche to be reclusive and eccentric, and keeping friends at arm’s length is just part and parcel of their hermit-like existence.

I am an introvert by nature. I get my energy and restoration from silence and solitude and my weakness is that I use that as an excuse for laziness and isolation on occasion. I can easily lose myself in quiet and peaceful alone time and not feel any guilt at all the relationships I’ve neglected in the meantime. I have to work harder at keeping in touch and connected to others because I LOVE my own company so much. If that sounds a bit narcissistic, it probably is. I never said I was perfect. I’m deeply flawed and heavily faulty in many areas.

However, in spite of my introverted personality, I deeply care about the friendships I DO build and maintain. Going back to the loyalty, honesty, friendliness factor. I wear my heart on my sleeve. If you gain my trust and my friendship, you’ve got it for life. No matter how messy it gets. Because that is the hardest part.

It’s SO messy to be human. It’s messy to build relationship with any one else because relationship implies something deeper than acquaintance or brief knowing. It’s trusting that person with your heart and with your deepest darkest places because if you are friends long enough, they WILL know everything about you. It might take years and years, but you can’t truly be in relationship without letting yourself be fully vulnerable. That’s like giving just a part of yourself to marriage, but keeping the majority back for safe-keeping. It won’t work.

And therein lies my main problem. Because our culture tells us that the individual rights and freedoms are the most important. It tells us that guarding your heart and staying “safe” in relationships are more important than letting someone in. Letting others see who you really are. We selfie, post social media updates about our “happiness”, give everyone the illusion of our “perfect” lives, and inside, we’re dying because no one actually knows all the burdens we carry and the wounds we bleed.

And I cannot do that. I was raised to abhor deceit in any form. If I have a fault in that regard it’s that I might be TOO brutally honest, especially in fledgling relationships where full disclosure might actually frighten someone away, especially if they aren’t used to that kind of connection.

So I don’t have a lot of deep, abiding friendships. I do have some very close friends and my husband is the one person who probably knows me better than I know myself. But it’s painful on my end to try and build friendships because I don’t do closed off and “safe” and that makes me vulnerable to a different type of hurt. Friendships that only stick around until they realize that my transparency is terrifying and they want nothing to do with either receiving or giving it. It’s easier for me to spill all to my journal and burn the pages, than it is for me to form a relationship with someone who enjoys surface-level discussions over wine and a good meal, game nights, and the random text message saying they’re fine when they really aren’t.

It’s easier for me to bury myself in my latest literary interest than give someone my heart and watch them hand it back to me because they have no idea what to do with it.

I cannot be the only person in the world who feels like that. And it’s uncomfortable when the rare exception happens, because sometimes it’s awkward and feelings are hurt and life gets messy and we’re oh, so human. We want something deeper and more meaningful because it actually exists in the One who Created us. We want that hole filled, but have no idea how to go about filling it. So we muddle through and get as close as we dare before we wall up the darkest parts of ourselves, KNOWING that if you saw that part of us, you couldn’t love us, couldn’t stand to be around us. If you knew the real me, you would run away screaming.

It makes us introverts cling even more to the rare friends who actually can and do reciprocate such deep, abiding vulnerability. It makes us crappy counselors though, because we tend to be fixers and we want so badly to make everyone experience those rare, beautiful friendships like we have. If we have.

It also hurts like the dickens when friends we thought could be that rarity in our lives turns out to be unable to handle the beautiful mess  we are.

This post doesn’t end with easy answers and loose ends tied up. Life isn’t like that really. We like to pretend it is though. But sometimes, we just don’t have answers and we don’t know what else to say and we just live in the middle of the mess and that’s okay too. Because fortunately for me, this life isn’t all there is and it’s far from over. So I continue in the muddle and appreciate those rare friendships all the more for their rarity.

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Posted in discipline, Finances, Healing, hypocrisy, Impossible, laziness, lessons, life lessons, Obstacles, Pain, Possibilities, Random, soul surgery, Tattered and Mended, Telling Stories, Transparency, Uncategorized, Whining, Winning, Writing

In which I realize I play the victim well…

It’s insidious, dangerous, and damning.

Most of the time I don’t realize it and when I do, the cycle tends to repeat itself because I find myself blaming its presence on my circumstances, my events, my past…

Playing the victim is EXTREMELY easy for me. I do it well.

Doesn’t mean I WEAR it well. It’s NOT a pretty look on anyone. It’s ugly, it’s petty, and frankly, most of us, if not ALL of us have worn it at least once in our lives. Human nature. From the Garden in Genesis when God asked man where he was and man (woman and serpent as well) replied with the victim card.

Because that’s really all it is in the end, right? A place to hide, a shroud to mask us, a blanket to cover up the truth that would stare us in the face otherwise.

The truth?

We’re NOT the victims. We’re the perpetrators of the crime.

I’ll give you a GREAT example in the interest of transparency.

My college years were spent in financial disarray. I had a part time job that paid JUST about the minimum wage, and that job changed rapidly for various reasons. I attended school full time, taking out loans because my grades slipped to the point that grants were no longer options. I depended largely on the kindness of friends to feed me anything close to three square meals and at one point, I subsisted on rice and cheese. My rent, utilities, and other sundry bills were often late and I rarely had money for gas, which meant the bus lines and walking were my sources of transportation. I lost a ton of weight, about the only bright side to the whole screwy situation.

I spent evenings working my crappy jobs, late nights poring over textbooks (or writing BS papers on a procrastinator’s schedule), mornings attending classes with my eyes half shut, and afternoons in clinicals. At least, that was what I told myself I was doing.

It’s funny looking back on the situation I used to lament loudly to anyone who would hear, my perspective has changed and brought with it a lot of regret and shame.

Because in spite of my cries to the contrary, I did not give my absolute best during that period of my life. If I had, I guarantee you, I would have been working two steady jobs, studying my ass off, and graduating with High Honors and a whole lot less debt.

As it was, I still managed a social life, high-priced frou-frou coffees from Starbucks, and frequent restaurant visits. All while “mourning” my financial distress, my family dysfunction, and my dropping grades as if had absolutely NO idea why I was failing so spectacularly.

All while my bills went unpaid, my friends pitied my poor starving college self, and my grades dropped like a rock.

I graduated with the BARE minimum passing score and that, only due to the mercy of my adviser, who felt my pitiable situation to be the reason for my lack of excellence in my work. I’m not certain I should be thanking her for that.

It’s a pity I actually managed to pass my boards and with flying colors. In reality, all that tells me is that I can take a multiple choice test.

The best part of this whole story is that I look on it now without wearing my victim’s shroud and I can see myself for exactly what I was then, and in this present time.

I was and am the decider of my own destiny. I decided back then that I would not thrive and so I didn’t. I decided that I would fail and so I did.

Of course, the whole time I was deciding this, I was vehemently denying that decision and whining about why my life seemed so painfully, awfully bent on mediocrity.

It’s a wonder ANYONE liked me at that time of my life. Looking back, I can’t say I really like who I was when it’s all said and done. Who I oftentimes still try to be.

I ended my college career with the distinct feeling that I’d wasted five whole years of my life (actually six given the gap year I took to TRY to get my debt under control). I still wonder what might have happened had I chosen wisely and refused to be the victim in my trumped up scenario.

I still struggle with making the wise choice even today. It is SO difficult to acknowledge my position in my own story. I’m either the villain or the hero, but I have NEVER been, nor will I EVER be, the victim. I have to stop telling myself that role is even available for me to fill. Because that particular role has NEVER been part of the story. Not for me or anyone else.

You are either the villain or the hero. You don’t get to play the victim in spite of your best efforts to try.

EVERY decision you make WILL make you the villain or the hero in your story.

So which is it?

 

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Posted in Addiction, Declutter, discipline, Freedom, Home, Hope, Humor, Obstacles, Organization, Random, Reading, Telling Stories, Time Management, Transparency, Uncategorized, Winning, Writing

In which I minimize…to maximize…

Four bookcases. And still my book collection doesn’t quite fit the sagging shelves. If they had a Book Addicts Anonymous, I would be the first one at the meeting, chugging copious amounts of my own personally brewed “snob” coffee, analyzing the incoming addicts for their particular tastes, and introducing myself with all the intelligence and enthusiasm of a well-rounded reader.

Hi, I’m Sarah. And I LOVE books. I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 4 hours flat on my third wedding anniversary while  my long-suffering husband indulged my addiction and went to sleep. I have ten newly-started books sitting on my bedside table and I will probably have them all finished by Labor Day. My earliest bed time this week was 1:30am and that was only because I had to get up for a training run at 5.

No joke.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only collection I’ve accumulated since I left college far behind and joined the ranks of stay-at-home moms everywhere. Not that a stay-at-home mom is necessarily always a hoarder. I think it might actually be genetic for me.

On my dad’s side.

My collections are scattered all over my house and I still have yet to learn the art of “Space for everything and everything in its space.”

So to name a few:

  1. Clothes that I will NEVER fit into again, not because I will never get back to my pre-baby weight, but because my body has naturally formed new curves since I’ve had my littles. By default, I won’t even look sexy in the clothes even if I manage to squeeze myself into them long enough to cut off oxygen supply to vital body parts.
  2. Papers: Seriously, I have papers from every one of my kid’s art projects, even if it was just ONE tiny little barely there yellow scribble from the 2 year old in the upper corner of a crumpled, ripped piece of printer paper. I keep telling myself I’m going to take pictures and store the digital files, but well…the stack is kind of intimidating and I’m a little afraid it’s going to transform into an artistic monster ready to snap off my fingers if I get too near.
  3. Kid’s clothes that went out of style when I was a little baby. I kept them for sentimental purposes without really thinking about the fact that they would never see the light of day again. Anyone want to teach me how to make a quilt from all the scraps of material I could get out of my “nostalgic” collection?
  4. Bed sheets. Yep. We got a massive collection in our 10+moves, mostly from family members who were foisting them on us to clear out their own clutter. And hey, we have beds, so why not? Problem is, they’ve aged so badly, the rips and tears are not big enough for toes and fingers to get tangled and we could probably cut them into dusting cloths, but that would mean we’d actually have to get nice, new sheets for our guest beds. Oh no.
  5. Single socks. Sock puppets anyone? I keep meaning to throw them out, but my husband started downsizing by replacing holey socks with the ones in the scrap bin. So we save a little on socks each year and heck, I can’t fault him for being efficient. Why I keep the kid’s socks is beyond me, because theirs NEVER match after they’ve been washed and folded the first time.

All this to say that in the midst of our moving and projects and weekends away this year, I have had little time to clean up my collections or manage them well. I trip over pieces of my collections in every room of our house and part of it is because we’re moving, but part of it is that I’ve gotten overwhelmed by all of our STUFF and I just quit caring. In my defense, it’s been a rough few weeks (which is when most of the clutter has accumulated) with sick babies, a school shooting, and moving/project delays.

SO:

The moral of the story is that my life is cluttered beyond belief. And today, I just HAD it. I’ve now got 5 large garbage bags full of my collections and a couple boxes full in the back of my van, ready to cart off to the nearest goodwill or half-way home in my area. My couch is once again clear of laundry and a small bit of my burden is lifted as I can now see more of the floors in my house.

However, the book collection stays.

I told you I was an addict…

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Posted in BeachBody, benefits of exercise, child, Dinner Time Entertainment, discipline, exercise, Family, Home, Humor, hypocrisy, Joy, laziness, lessons, life, life lessons, Love, Marriage and Family, Passion, Random, spiritual training, Telling Stories, Train Up A Child, Uncategorized, Whining, Winning, Writing

In which I enjoy a little humor and late night exercise…

My son tells GREAT stories. He makes them up off the top of his head and just spills it out. If there’s a slight change in the plot and we call him on it, he has an answer that makes a strange, logical sort of sense in the context of the story.

AND, he tells the whole thing in this sweet little lispy voice that makes you just want to squeeze him, it’s so cute. I’m going to miss that a few years from now when puberty hits.

So this story. It’s about a cotton candy woman and soon becomes a candyland, sugar infused tale that makes your teeth hurt just listening to it. And the finale is a gigantic explosion that takes off the roof of the cotton candy house and places ALL of the candy in Candy Land into little boxes to sell in a a candy shop.

That is the nutshell version. The real one took about twenty minutes long and wound its way around like the actual Candyland board game. We got stuck in the Molasses Swamp and a slight detour in Licorice Castle, but eventually Princess Lolly (or was it Gramma Nutt) found their way to KIng Candy’s castle. (Via the aforementioned rooftop explosion)

Needless to say, dinner time at our house is ALWAYS entertaining.

However, we had started late because Jake got home from work late. Which meant our workout got put off until after the kids were in bed late. So we didn’t do our workout until about ten o’clock last night.

GROAN…

When I don’t want to do something, for whatever reason, I resort to a two year old throwing a very silent temper tantrum. I grump and sit down like a stubborn a…donkey and refuse to do whatever it is I don’t want to do. The harder someone pushes me, the more stubborn I get.

My husband is devious. He’s learned this secret of mine and has decided to use it against me. Because the only thing that will get me off my butt is when I’m left alone.  Like a kid who doesn’t whine and complain at children’s church UNTIL his mom is in eyesight again and suddenly the whole HOUR and a HALF she was gone is the ULTIMATE BETRAYAL and MUST GET ATTENTION NOW!

That’s me. Only the adultier version…

So when silence happened after my stubborn refusal to move, I got curious and decided to find out why his attention wasn’t on me anymore.

When I found him, I asked him why we weren’t working out and what on earth was he doing ignoring me like this? (I’m paraphrasing here)

His devious, evil plot worked because the next thing I know I’m grumping my way through a 35 minute workout and wondering why I was grumping anyway.

I KNOW what’s good for me. I KNOW the best thing for me. Most kids do too when they take the time to really think about it. But our stubborn natures don’t want us to admit it. EVER.

Moral of the story: If you’re going to listen to a LONG, sugar-laden story at the dinner table when you have to exercise that evening, start dinner before seven.

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Posted in benefits of exercise, child, discipline, dreams, exercise, faith, Family, goals, Home, Hope, lessons, life, life lessons, Love, Memory, Neighbors, Random, Writing

In Which a Walk Down Memory Lane Begins with a Phone Call

“Look dad! A big rock. I’ve never seen a big rock before.” My three year old son excitedly chattered about his amazing find on our family walk this evening. He’s dressed in daddy’s shirt and big boy undies and wearing socks with his sandals. It’s an interesting get-up, but it fits him somehow.

In the grand tradition of three year olds everywhere, he’d already forgotten about the pile of “big” rocks he’d found the day before. Those treasures are now sitting in a basket on my dryer while I wait for him to forget about them so I can replenish our gravel street. Thus repeating the cycle of a rock collecting little boy who probably picked up one from two expeditions ago.

My husband and I smile at the antics of our children. The five year old has found her own collection and is attempting to pawn them off on us so she can run on ahead without the extra burden in her hands. She’s also grinning like a mad woman when we decide we’re going to have a swinging session.

Jake and I each grab one hand and on the count of three, we send them soaring right up to the clouds. Or so they say. Then it’s a race to see who gets to steal who’s turn and we set a limit. Three turns each and then switch. We manage it for two rounds before both of us are sweating and laughing too much to continue.

The littlest little is content in his sling on my chest. He chatters and coos once in a while, but mostly vacillates between sucking his thumb while his eyes grow heavy and darting quick glances all around at the dusky landscape.

We hear the crickets chirping and a lawnmower in the distance. The breeze blows through our hair, cooling the summer evening to just the right temperature.

At some point, middle little has discovered a new treasure. “BIG dicks, mom! Look dad. I found some dicks.” For those of you wondering, that’s kidspeak for “sticks”. Get your heads out of the gutter people… 🙂

 

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My mom and I chatted on the phone earlier today. We were discussing many things, but among the topics was the benefits of exercise and how much harder it is to keep in shape nowadays. I mused on the idea of our lost village mentality. When I was growing up, we had neighbors.

No, I don’t mean the people who live on our street and we see in passing on a family walk or when the neighborhood garage sales start.

I mean neighbors who knew us backwards and forwards and we knew them the same. Neighbors who had cookouts, Sunday morning brunches, and evening walks with our family. We kids would leave the house in the morning after our chores were done and we didn’t reappear until lunchtime. Mom handed us all sandwiches and water bottles and we at on the trampoline for an impromptu picnic. Snack time took place over at the neighbor’s house and somewhere in between, we managed to traverse MOST of the backyards on the entire street. There WAS that one neighbor who had a fence because they didn’t like kids.

We managed to get around it anyway.

I heard recently that we aren’t necessarily living in more dangerous times. We’ve just become more paranoid and thus, less a village and more an island unto ourselves. Each family unit, taking walks on their own, collecting rocks, and having no clue who our neighbors are. It’s sad really.

I love our neighborhood. It’s quiet, out in the country, yet close enough to town for convenience sake.

I don’t love our neighbors. Not because they are horrible people or anything, but because I don’t know them enough to love them. I miss the village.

I think this Christmas, we’re going to bake cookies for the neighbors. We may not get the village back, but I’m determined to at least love our neighbors the best that we can.