Sunday, May 14, 2017

When You've Only Got One

Andy gets up in the early hours of the morning and puts on her tennis shoes. She pays careful attention to her laces as she is tying them, cautious to make sure each is pulled taught. Bunny ears and all, Andy hits the road. She has decided that she is taking this journey called life by foot today and begins taking her first steps for the long trek. 

The path Andy is on is smooth. It is a dirt path with a fine grit, not a single stone to be found. As the early morning progresses, the path begins to change and take shape. At this point in the path, there is a pebble here or there that may cause a small stumble for Andy. However, she walks with ease. 

All of the sudden, Andy looks down and notices that where her left tennis shoe was once precisely and perfectly tied, is a bare foot with all flaws exposed. The lone hair on her big toe, the freckles across the top of her foot and her chipped purple nail polish are all revealed. 

Confused and without choice, Andy keeps walking. 

Pebbles continue to appear on the path, covering the dirt. Andy continues to walk. Her bare foot steps and then her tennis shoe. On and on and on. However, as the path develops, the smooth pebbles turn to gravel. The once completely smooth path is now rugged and rough. The bottom of Andy's sensitive foot begins to ache. Each step on the left foot shoots a sharp pain up her leg. As she continues on, Andy begins to put more weight on her right foot. Utilizing the comfort and support from her tennis shoe, the pain from the left slightly subsides. 

With each step, Andy's left foot, while sensitive and sore, is beginning to form callouses. Andy's right foot, while full of support and strength, is growing tired. Finding a strong balance while walking is a struggle. Wanting to fully rely on the remaining tennis shoe, Andy is finding that it is placing strain on the rest of her body. The tough skin developing on the bottom of her left foot is helping her to walk a little more normal. However, Andy is fully aware that without her other tennis shoe, she will always be more reliant and dependent upon her right shoe. 

Andy may wish that she has two tennis shoes, but she's only got one. When you've only got one of something that often comes in twos, you learn two things: how to develop tough skin and reliance upon availability. 

I use Andy and her tennis shoes to truly explain how grateful I am for my mother. I wish I had two parents. But I've learned that it's okay that I don't. I've developed tough skin on my left. But on my right, I have learned just how much I can rely on my mom. She is full of more support than any tennis shoe on the market. The comfort she provides will never fade away. It is hard to be a mother. It is hard to be a mother of five children. (We know we aren't easy....) But it is even harder to be a mother to five children who lost their father. 


Mom, I don't think that any amount of words could ever tell you how appreciative we are of you. Thank you for letting me cry in your bed, crash on your sofa, borrow your clothes and eat all of your food when it just felt like too much to go live off on my own. Thank you being strong enough when all of us aren't. Thank you, mom, for being you. I wouldn't have picked any other one if I had the choice. I love you. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Finding Home

I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. Psalm 139:14  
Home 4a: a place of origin
Origin 2a: rise, beginning, or derivation of a source
Sundy Best sings a song called "Home." I couldn't count on one hand the number of times that song was sang this past weekend. As this past weekend has come to a close, I reflect on all the wondrous times shared, but settle on one distinct moment of passing. The last time "Home" played, I looked over at my best friends and realized I didn't want them to go home. I wasn't ready for them to leave this physical place. Home, simplistically, is the place from which we come. On the surface, that comes off as a location: a point on this earth to which we are physically attached. However, home is so much more. As the cliche goes, "home is where the heart is." Your heart can be physically attached to the location on which you are standing or it can be found in the physical location of others.

It is in these other individuals that my true home has been identified. A lot of curbs have plopped at my feet recently. Tears have become a common part of my day and acceptance of the unknown is essentially inevitable and nearly natural. Through this, I have found ambition to grasp the positive in early single day. I strive to nourish that to allow it to flourish for a complete harvest. Even so, that harvest isn't manageable alone. It takes special individuals to help in that process and unfortunately I wasn't able to find them all right next door. This is because the home that is often attributed to a single location is not inclusive of the heart. It doesn't take into account that my heart isn't held solely within myself. The good Lord, our source of life, has given us a heart that can't be contained.

It took me nearly 20 years to find the home of my heart. I don't and won't ever understand why my home is spread up to seven hours away from me between a handful of individuals. What I do understand, finally, is that they are my home. I am SO beyond thankful for the home that I have found. After numerous prayers of pleading for God to give me joy in my valley, this home has given it to me through Him. My prayers have shifted to eternal prayers of thanks for this home that will never leave me.

When you spread the wings of your heart, your home will fly right into it. Keep them open and your home will multiply. And when your ready, fold them up and your home will never leave.

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:16 
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

To you, my dear friends:
Thank you for being my shoulders, my joy and my home. I will always and forever be grateful for your beautiful, God-shining souls. It is never goodbye, inevitably a see you later.
Love you always,

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Kiss from an Angel

A month and a day can do a lot for a soul. They can fill it with joy or they can flood it with sorrow. When there's a hole in your heart, it is so easy to let the flood waters in. I have striven to put only joy in my heart this past month. I have surrounded myself with friends who shower me with love and family that is always constant. Sometimes it is the little things, like spontaneous trips to the south, that fill your heart the most. I have realized how absolutely special this life is that we live. I never want to spend a moment without the people I cherish knowing their value and worth in my life. If there is one hard lesson I learned from my losing my dad, it's that no bad fight is ever worth it. The only fight I will fight is for the good, the important, the valuable.

You don't realize how precious and special things in life are until they aren't anymore. My dad was an intentional person. When I woke up this Valentine's Day, there wasn't a box of chocolates or a kiss waiting for me at the table. My dad was and will always be my first love. Nothing, not even death, can take that away. While he won't be leaving little gifts or telling me how much he loves me, he will be showering me with love from above.

This year I woke up differently on day that was full of love. 
With the flu in my body and sorrow on my heart, I heard a whisper from above. 
It said my dear sweet child, don't you worry about today. 
The love that's here in heaven is much greater than any gray. 
As the good Lord wrapped his arms tight around my heart, 
my forehead felt a gentle kiss, one without a start. 
Heaven gained my father a month ago plus one,
but his love is still abounding in more ways than just the sun. 
The stars twinkle nightly with a reminder to have no fear, 
two of the most important men above still find me so dear. 
So whenever I get sad that my Valentine is gone, 
I remember that the days go on
and that my forehead will always be brushed by my angel from above. 

There is no greater love than that of a Valentine from heaven. The emptiness that I sometimes find is covered by an immeasurable love from above. Although my dad will never be here physically and while this was the first of many new firsts, his presence is always abounding and always brushing my forehead. Every pretty sunrise, every beautiful sky, breathtaking sunset and astounding star are just the simplest ways God reminds me that they are here and they will be here every day. 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
-Psalm 34:18