Seven Years

4-25-2014

The picture above popped up in my memory feed today on Facebook. Already feeling out of sorts, this added fuel to my sad fire. But it also was fuel for my poem today.The prompt was “thought” . So, I thought, as if I wasn’t already thinking, about how long and how short seven years are.

Thoughts on Seven Years
 
seven years ago we moved to a new state
it was not our choice
but that’s okay

and though there is such a thing called the seven years war
that’s not what we fought
in fact, many of those seven years were good ones
years of plenty like in Joseph’s dream
and Joseph's life
but years of plenty
soon became lean years, rawboned and grievous 

though we enjoyed hiking through the beauty of fall colors
and a few snow-angel winter snows
and spring on the back porch
there was much loss
the demise of three parents while we were away
longing to be with them

even though we often languished
in the city where we tried so hard
to belong
we were together

we finally migrated back home 
but one month later
you left
for your eternal home
and I try not to wither away
without you

Sojourning

Birmingham, AL , September, 2016

“Displaced souls roam every city in every country.” – Ilana Manaster, One of the Crowd, Real Simple – 2017

I know what it feels like to be a displaced soul. I felt pretty much like that the whole six years we lived in Birmingham. It was a beautiful place, but it was never home. I don’t mean to dishonor Chuck when I say that, because where he was, that was home for me. But, I think he felt the same way. We both felt uprooted.

Now I’m “home”, but he’s not here, and once again I don’t quite feel at home. But it’s different, because I do have family here, and numerous friends. I’m in the town where I grew up. It’s changed a lot, but still familiar. The Maxwell House Coffee drifting across the St. Johns River smells the same. The ocean, though constantly changing, is the same. I can still drive by my childhood home and my high school.

So now, as I prepare to move for the third time in less than a year, I think about how to put down roots in Tampa. God willing, I won’t move again. I long to live there and serve God to the end of my days. To make a home for my family, my friends, and other sojourners, for I have to remind myself that, ultimately, I’m just a sojourner on this earth.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. Hebrews 11:13-14

Escaping Irma 2017

View from Grandpa’s shoulders

This photo popped up in my memories feed on Facebook today. It does, yet doesn’t, seem like three years ago that Claire and the kids stayed with us while Ben went home to weather the storm of Irma. The storm where my brother-in-law lost all he had except for a few handfuls of memorabilia and later some rescued muddy clothes.

I hope E and J always have precious memories of Grandpa. Carrying them on his shoulders, reading to them, playing chess, hiking, praying. I pray that one day they will desire to follow in the footsteps of the one some described as a gentle giant.

There’s Hope For Sure

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Red Mountain Park 2/22/20

 

In the middle of a very rainy winter, when it seems like spring will never come, I welcome the sunshine. I head to Red Mountain Park and am never disappointed. There, amidst the lifeless flora, I can always find some green. Sometimes a flower, even though IMG_7054considered a weed, peeps out below my feet to remind me that spring will come.

I find the abandoned railroad tracks where trees have grown up in the middle.

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When my mind is burdened with thoughts and decisions that need to be made, I can find a calm. Though I return home with those decisions still unmade, the burden seems less. I not only have the assurance of spring, but the assurance that my future is in God’s hands, just like spring.

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See, you can only live one day at a time
Only drive one hot rod at a time
Only say one word at a time
And only think one thought at a time
And every soul is alone when the day becomes night
And there in the dark if you can try to see the light
In the most pitch black shape of the loneliest shadow
Well then you ought to sleep well
‘Cause there’s hope for sure

High Steppin’/The Avett Brothers

 

 

Avetts in October #25: Today’s the Day

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Redwoods- 2018

Today is The Avett Brothers concert in Pelham, Alabama. As hard as it is to listen to sometimes, I sure hope they play No Hard Feelings.

 

“Why does it seem so often to be a human quality to forget those who have done good things for us, and to remember those who have hurt us?” – from Sold Into Egypt by Madeleine L’Engle

 

“Even as a tiny girl, she would just absorb the meanness of people around her, and as that strange girl slapped her,  Margaret literally turned the other cheek. ‘I just took it,’ she said sixty years later. ” – from Ava’s Man by Rick Bragg

 

Tom Bevil Trail

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Today we decided to hike the Tom Bevil trail at Lake Guntersville State Park. Whoo boy.

We expected a little over three miles, but somehow missed a sign and kept going. I saw a spot that seemed familiar and told my husband to stop, but he, knowing I am the one with a very poor sense of direction, told me to focus and keep going. Then, we passed another spot that I knew I ‘d taken a picture of, and this time I pulled out the map on my MapMyHike app, that was sorta working when the gps had not been lost. That’s when we knew we’d overshot the mark and had to turn around. This is in about 95 degree weather and we were running low on water. AND this is after we’d come across a rattlesnake on our path! My husband hates snakes. He says the only good snake is a dead snake. Well, this guy was about 3 1/2-4 feet long and very much alive. After that encounter we were walking very slowly, about negative one mile an hour, looking left and right in case the rattler had any siblings in the area. Which was another reason that the Tom Bevil nearly did us in. I think it should be renamed the Tom Devil Trail. Just sayin’.

Last time we were on a long hike and struggling, we were with our daughter. She is so wise. She got us playing a  word game that made us think about the game instead of  how long we still had to get back to the car and it worked.  This time, though, hubby was not interested in games. So, I thought of a few songs along the way to distract myself, while he took the lead taking care of all the spider webs ahead of me.

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“Every move you make… Every step you take I’ll be watching you”

Bell Camp: Days Six/Seven

Our last two days went by too quickly!

Day Six

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Today we went for a short hike at Moss Rock Preserve. I think the kids knew we’d do at least one hike while they were here since we’ve done several with them in the past. We took a trail that I knew would take us to a mini-waterfall. There we all took off our socks and shoes and splashed around, and ate some snacks we’d brought along in my trusty backpack. It was really quite perfect!

In the late afternoon/early evening we went to the Ross Bridge Farmers Market. This was another WIN. We got a little produce, the kids got free balloon creations, bounced around in the bounce houses and rolled around on the lawn. We then got our meals from the food trucks. The kids had some chicken tenders from Eugene’s Hot Chicken, while Grandpa  and I got sandwiches from the I Love Bacon truck. Chuck got the The BLT of Curtis Loew and I chose the Miami Sound Machine, a Cuban sandwich made with beer braised pork belly.  We all polished it off with some shaved ice. E and I both got Vanilla Cream, while JuJu and Grandpa got Cherry Limeade.

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Ladybug balloon

Day Seven

Our last day was rather low key. JuJu and I met a few ladies from church for breakfast at Panera, then made a quick trip to Trader Joe’s. In the afternoon the kids’request was a return trip to the library. That night we had breakfast for supper per JuJu’s request, then a fairly early bedtime so we could be out the door by seven the next morning.

In addition to “Field Trips”, our days were filled with math, maps, and language arts; screen time; playing with, feeding snacks to and walking Ruby; reading and coloring; card games, board games and puzzles; Legos and scooters; telling family stories.

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Our first Bell Camp was a success and we look forward to many more to come!

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Outake – LOL!!!

Bell Camp: Days Four/Five

 

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Day Four

Today we discovered Let’s Play Hoover. The kids had a blast!  Let’s Play offers unlimited all day play that allows you to leave and return the same day with no extra charge. The kids ran, bounced, jumped, climbed, and slid. We went home for a lunch break, then returned for more fun. There are plenty of spaces for parents to sit and read or use wifi.

 

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Right next door is Roll It Up Ice Cream. This is a unique ice cream shop where each creation is made to order while you watch. It’s fun to watch and oh so delicious to eat. I can’t wait to return! We ended the day watching Wall-E for the nth time. It’s one of E’s favorite movies!

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E’s creation

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Yum!

 

Day Five

This morning we went to Hoover’s new Explore Playground and Splashpad. This was another WIN! There is plenty to do on the playground and then there’s the splashpad for fun and cooling off. And best of all it’s free.

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Under the tree house

 

After going home for lunch,  we headed to the library. The kids always request a trip there. I have to admit it’s the ipads that attract them, though both kids love to read.

We finished out the day with a trip to  DQ per Grandpa’s request. Smiles all around. 🙂

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Bell Camp: Days Two/Three

Day Two

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After breakfast at the Hyatt (which was great both mornings we were there) , we headed home via Lawrenceville to do one more house drive-by – the home of Chuck’s grandparents. Then we hit up Boulder Creek Coffee where JuJu found some hidden treasure in an old trunk upstairs! We let the kids get some wiggles out at the playground before hitting the road.

After we got to Bham and unloaded, JuJu and I went to get Ruby from the vet. This was the first time for them to meet and they were both excited.

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Ruby

 

Day Three

This was Toy Story 4 Day. We started the morning with Toy Story 4 cereal. Kinda meh on the flavor scale.

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The kids wore their t-shirts and even though I messed up the tickets I’d pre-purchased, the manager saved the day and we enjoyed the show. I laughed a lot and teared up a little. It was a hit with all of us!

 

Afterwards we had an early supper at Jim-n-Nicks, then a little scootering around the neighborhood  and some Toy Story 4 Pez before the day ended.

Sav-A-Life Abides No Hatred

I have been so burdened down this past week with all the negativity on social media about abortion. I know I could just not read it all. But something in me is screaming out for the other side. Groups I am a part of on facebook have surprised me with the level of opposition displayed toward Christians. The picture below from Nick Anderson depicts what I hear so many people saying.

 

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I would like to show a different side. There is a group here in Birmingham that truly embodies the expression “Abide No Hatred”. It’s called Sav-A-Life. I know there are other similar organizations out there. I want to tell you a little about this one.

Yes, they are pro-life. They are this and so much more. They offer free pregnancy testing, ultrasound, prenatal assessment, STI/STD testing for men and women, childbirth education classes, parenting classes, and fatherhood programs. They provide counseling not only for the woman who wants to keep her baby or put it up for adoption, but for the one who chose abortion and needs help dealing with that decision, also. They have  mentors and offer support groups. They furnish assistance through the Stork’s Nest, providing clothes for mother and child, baby furniture, diapers and more. They have ongoing classes from basics such as diapering to finances and budgeting. Sav-A-Life also refers clients for community resources such as housing and Medicaid.

Watch this video to get a look at some of what Sav-A-Life does.

 https://vimeo.com/214742032