What I Got To Call “Work” Last Week

 

Remember how I told you that Hannah told us to watch this TV series called The Kindness Diaries on Netflix?

And how we did and then I told you guys about it?

Right after starting the series, I saw a flyer and a Facebook post saying that the chap in the show – Leon Logothetis – was coming to my town!

What?

I did a tiny bit of asking and next thing I know, I’ve got a phone interview scheduled with Leon himself so that I can promote his upcoming appearance in our town on the Travelers Rest Here website!

The phone call was scheduled for central time and I was suddenly forgetting what I know about time zones and feeling frantic that I would miss the phone call.  (I notoriously miss ALL THE PHONE CALLS, even the ones in my own time zone.)

Mosely loaned me her digital recorder – isn’t that funny? – and I set myself up for success by sending the boys to play outside and the rest of the kids under strict direction to be pretty quiet while I had Leon on speaker phone.  (My kitchen table set up is uber professional, as you can envision.)

Before I knew it, I felt as if I was talking to my television set because Leon’s English accent was loud and clear in my dining room.

He was super kind and polite on the phone, easy to interview and fun to chat with.

In a mere thirty minutes or less, my list of questions was competed and our phone conversation ended.

After I made certain we were disconnected, I jumped up from the table and maybe shouted or clapped – some enthusiastic natural response that I couldn’t control.

London popped in from the other room, grinning.  “Hey Mom,” she said.  “I’m glad that you reigned in whatever you’re doing right now while you were on the phone with him.”

Uber professional – am I right?

At any rate, that was my fun job last week – to interview Leon Logothetis.

And you can read the interview right here.

You’ll note that I left out my enthusiastic after response.

 

 

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Five Finds (a funny video, a weird shirt, a delicious cake)

 

I’m not even going to say it this week.

Birthday weeks are fun.  My life is time-consuming – to me and to the other people living near me and brushing around past me here and there.  I sort of think I should offer a blanket apology to all of humanity that comes into contact with me.  It’s like my Messy spills on other people – all. of. the. time.

 

 

funny

 

My friend Tyler is making this week’s “funny” category easy for me.

He and Tripp have a new video up and it’s one of their “in real life” series.  They’ve done e-mal in real life but this one is Websites – In Real Life.  

 

 

The funniest part to me is the stretched out picture of Amy above Tyler’s head in his office.  The part that actually feels true to life is where the girl named Beth insists that you have to sign up for her newsletter in order to visit her site.  (I will never do that to you guys, I promise.)

 

fashionable

 

Last week Bergen and I were walking through Target.  I have zero recollection as to why I would be alone in Target with only Bergen, but I was.  And I probably bought him a special drink because that’s the reward a child gets when they offer to go to Target with me when they have other options.

Anyway.

As soon as I saw this particular article of clothing I said to my (then) eleven year old son, “I have to take a picture of this.  People use to wear these.  I use to wear one of these – like in eighth grade.  I’m still ashamed of myself.”

 

 

“Mom, is it a grown up onesie?” he asked.

Basically, son, it is.

I don’t understand why some fashions ever find their way back into style a second time around.

 

flavorful

 

Remember the Easter Eggs recipe that was the rage a few weeks ago right here in this category?

Well, I finally made them yesterday, only a few days after Easter.  A wise friend told me this week that when you miss certain aspects of a holiday, when your real life timeline does not match up to your calendar, that it is okay to complete the activity after the event.  In fact, doing said activity after the event is better than skipping it entirely because you just ran out of time.  She used the phrase “extending the holiday”.  A phrase I have already put into use this very week.  And – into action.

More than a dozen large chocolate dipped peanut butter eggs are resting precariously in my fridge at this very moment.  In fact, I have not even sampled one.  Not because I have incredible self-control.  No, because I attended a blogger’s networking dinner (Yeah, that’s a thing, I guess.) at a delicious local restaurant called Asada where I ate copious amounts of food for more than an hour.

It was my first time at Asada even though many friends have been singing its praises to me for a very long time.  I’ve tried to go several times but have found it closed or have run into some other oddity that kept me from trying their famous tacos.

Well, tonight I tried everything.  And everything was fantastic.  (Except an olive in one dish.  That was not good.  But olives and I do not see eye to eye.)  And what was very good was the tres leche cake.

 

 

I may have embarrassed Jane when I exclaimed loudly as to how good I thought the cake was.

My apologies, Jane.

 

faithful

 

You know who is faithful in my life?

All the people who love my kids.

Today a friend called to tell me what was on her heart when she thought about my kids, and especially when she thought about my sons.  She just took a risk, called me on the phone, and told me some words she felt she needed to say and thought I might need to hear.

I did need to hear them.

My eyes were watery by the time we finished the phone call and I was reminded of how beautiful community is.

My friend Hannah drove out of her way to pick up my daughter when I simply could not be in three places on the same evening.  She didn’t have to do that.  But she did.

Bergen wanted to go kayaking on his birthday.  The rain changed our plans on Tuesday but today was sunny and when Mosely suggested over lunch that we should just seize the good weather and head for the lake right then, I couldn’t help but agree.  Of course, her motivation might have included missing an afternoon of school, but I’m not judging her.

While we were at the lake, Bergen used a small fish he caught as bait to catch the biggest bass he has ever caught before.

I jumped up to take a picture of my son and his big catch – but so did our friend Walter.  Because he loves my kids too.  He’s known Bergen since Berg was in a life jacket on this same lake at two years old.  He knows Bergen’s jokes about the corn dogs served in the camp cafeteria and he has sat on my sofa through many a terrible time in my life and offered wise and gentle counsel.

 

 

Faithfulness played out in day to day life in practical and regular ways that equals a genuine and pure kind of friendship.

 

feels

 

This weekend the girls and I watched the movie Hidden Figures.

It was so well done, so beautifully written and so convincingly portrayed.

I was moved and educated and I think it’s a fine film, worth seeing with your family for certain.

 

 

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Local Beowulf Class: My Girls Loved It, Maybe Yours Will Too

 

Even though my official piece of paper declares that I have a degree in English and Theatre and Communications (it was so hard to choose), I am always looking for opportunities for my children to participate in the arts in memorable and challenging ways.  I know that, even though the deepest core of my home education philosophy is reading and living books and art, I need other teachers and educators and perspectives and experiences feeding into my children’s hearts and minds.  I believe they need to sit in the audience at theatre performances and I believe they need to step on stage sometimes too.  I believe they need group discussions of literature and hands on art classes.  They need to eat clusters of grapes when they read about the Romans and they need to stuff all the popcorn into their milk just like Almanzo Wilder did.

These beliefs of mine in homeschooling ideals have sent me in many different directions over the decade or more that I’ve been fumbling on this journey.

Last summer the search for integrating literature and art led me to a local class about Beowulf, taught by Amy Bright at Bright Eyes Arts.

I signed up both London and Mosely for a class called The Art and War of Beowulf.  I knew the girls would need to read Beowulf at some point in their schooling and I was ecstatic to NOT teach it myself.  Once upon a blue moon, I stood in a classroom and taught students this same work of art, but Beowulf has never captured my heart nor my interest so I loved the idea of farming that bit of required classic literature off to someone who obviously had a greater passion and skill set for the teaching of it.

 

 

The girls loved the class.  It absolutely stretched them out of their own particular comfort zones.  It met daily for a week – a lot like a camp experience.  They read the entire text, some on their own, some together.  They crafted beautiful jewelry inspired by the time period.  They celebrated their knowledge with a feast and a presentation on the last day that the other kids and I were invited to attend.  (A feast where I – for real – cooked the rabbit that Hawkeye shot in Virginia with Uncle Stin’s help.  I can’t say how well prepared that rabbit in the cast iron skillet actually was, but my goodness, given the company I was serving it to and their week long developed affinity for the medieval time period, it was rather well received.)

 

 

“The group experience is a major part of my goal. Art journaling and jewelry making are more internal, but the epic needs people to make it fun!” the instructor, Amy, says.

 

 

Bright Eyes Arts offers a whole host of classes and learning opportunities, even online poetry classes, which I have yet to dive into but am strongly considering adding to London’s plans next year as she officially enters high school.  (Gasp!)  There is an art journaling literature class, a method I employ daily in our own homeschool and love the way it settles the books we are reading into a more permanent fixture in my children’s brains and hearts.  The other class that is on my personal list is a Shakespeare class.  We regularly read Shakespeare’s plays but I am certain that making the Bard fun and approachable would be a team effort worth the cost.

 

 

“My main goal in this is to offer students an immersive experience in art and literature with access to the materials and tools that they normally wouldn’t have. I want to help parents feel that they have given their tweens/teens opportunities beyond what traditional schooling offers so they know they have NOT failed their students in literature. I doubt anyone has, but guilt’s an easy one to feel,” Amy shares.

The Beowulf Class that we took is coming up again in May and I think it is totally worth the cost and the time.  (It’s May 15 – May 19 and again on May 29 – June 2 and the cost is $150).  It’s five days and the girls even got to experience making their own chainmail!

 

 

Also – and a really great bonus – is that the week long class (or seminar) counts as a semester’s worth of honors credit for your high school students.  (That’s all the convincing some of us need right there.)  Amy uses the Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf and if you decide to take the class, well, I’ve got two copies sitting on my shelf if you’d like to use one of them.

 

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From One Gigantic Number to the Next: Happy Birthday Bergen Hawkeye

 

Today my oldest son turns twelve years old.

Twelve years since I hugged his wee baby self in a hospital room in Virginia.  His Monday night birth caused us to miss Riley’s third grade recorder recital.  A recorder recital.  With twenty third graders.  Playing their plastic recorders.  (And Bergen’s been bringing good gifts like that our way his entire life.)   Ironically, the delivering doctor had a daughter in Riley’s third grade class as well.  A third grade fellow recorder player. He, also, offered his sincere thanks to our freshly born son.

 

 

 

The very next day after Bergen was born, he and I alone in a hospital bed, staring at one another and memorizing the other one’s face, I immediately felt the crushing weight of time.  The weight heavier than I had felt with any of the girls before him.  I’m not sure I can explain it adequately.  The weight of his seven pound life in my arms, for certain.  And – the weight of how lightning quick the less than twenty years he would likely spend in my home would rush by.  I cried.  (Because I just gave birth to a baby, for the love.)  I cried because I already knew that Bergen, this tiny boy dressed in a white onesie with built in fist covers, would eventually grow up to be a man who would meet a woman who would one day tell me that she knew my son better than I did.  And, she would be right.  (What?  Every mother doesn’t fast forward twenty some years ahead on the second day of her son’s life??)  Welcome to my version of crazy motherhood.

 

 

I think with daughters there is an underlying belief that they are somehow always ours.  That our connection will be upheld through marriage and babies, through job changes and cross country moves.  That our daughters just somehow stay our daughters, regardless of whether their last name changes or their address switches.

But with sons, well, it feels different.  It feels like they are on some sort of loan system and they will be recalled one day, just when they are finally remembering to shower daily and put their shoes somewhere besides the kitchen floor.  And then they’ll be all heart attached to another woman who isn’t their mother and OF COURSE this is natural and right and all things wise and good.  (I want my boys to get married.  To live in their own homes one day.  Obviously.)

 

 

Living with this knowledge, however, makes all the birthdays a little more bittersweet.  But, you know what, if parenting can be described as a flavor, bittersweet is the only one that fits the menu. 

I love Bergen.  Being his mother is a highlight.  Sunshine in my days.  His humor is spot on, his laughter is infectious.  He is affectionate and kind.  He’s tender and very aware of the rise and the fall of all of the emotions of all of the girls that live in his house.  His preferred status in attire is filthy and his preferred state of being is up in a tree.  He reads science books for fun and books filled with facts about planes and spaceships and birds and rain clouds.  The boy is always up for adventure and he still doesn’t mind if we hold hands on occasion.

Bergen Hawkeye, now you can sit in the front seat and I’m looking forward to you having your turn as Navigator on our road trips.

 

 

Happy Birthday to my favorite twelve year old in the entire universe.

 

 

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Why The Success of Your Marriage Matters to My Kids

 

On Sunday we were honored to have brunch with a dear family and two sweet friends.  Laughter was as abundant around our scratched farm table as was the delicious food.  (Quiches and a Dutch Baby.  Homemade whipped cream.)  And it wasn’t just adults making adults laugh – the kids, ten in all  – were engaged and charming and full of interesting talk too.

I live in such a vibrant community full of families like this.  Not a week goes by that we don’t break bread and share a table with another family.  Usually more than once a week.  People are in and out of our home and our door is always open to the drop in visitor, the out of town friend passing through and the buddy needing a cup of tea and a porch sit.

I do not take this for granted.

After a day spent in friendly slack line competition and in engaging conversation and in quick laughter shared among families I have journeyed through life with, I sometimes spend the aftermath feeling a little …… discontent.   Alone.  No. Not those words.  Feeling a little Extra Aware.

Extra Aware — aware of what my life lacks.  But not in a feel-sorry-for-myself way.  Not really.  More in a this-is-where-I-am-right-now way.

I look at these dear and beautiful families.  Families with a mother and a father and years of marriage tucked under their belts.  Husbands who glance at their wives after they share that one story.  Hands still being held.  The bond I see in a daughter and her dad.  The wife who rests her hand on her husband’s shoulder without a thought in the world as to how rare and lovely that level of comfort actually is.

There are times when I look at those families and I think, “Oh, I want that.”

And, of course, there are the times I am reminded, “Ah.  I no longer have that.”

And I think, “I want my kids to see that.”

All of the above – I think all of the above.

To my married friends — do not read this and in turn show less affection for one another around me.  Do not read this and tone your regular self down or have dinner less often at my house or invite me over less routinely.  Please don’t do that.  Do not filter your lovely (and hard and regular and real and wonderful) marriage for my benefit.

Be yourself.  Be your loving and happy family self.  Be your frustrated and regular family self.  Be tired and be outgoing.  Be welcoming and be real.  Just be whatever you already were.

But be it – together.  Intact.  As a family unit.

Your successful marriage matters to more than just the people who call you momma and daddy.

I want your marriage to work, friends.  I want your marriage to thrive.  It matters.

It matters because it reinforces hope.  For my children.  For their future marriages.  And for my grandchildren.

I want my children to break the cycle they have inherited.

To rise above a statistic.

And you, my married friends, can help make that possible.

By staying.

By laughing.

By loving.

By inviting my children over and leading by example.

I have a friend who told me he has never seen a healthy marriage.  Not one.  I have a friend who is growing increasingly cynical about the whole idea of marriage. Her own family’s story is so dysfunctional and painful that she cannot imagine the risk being worth the pay off.  I have friends whose marriages have waned and whose hearts have suffered.  I have friends who are divorced and friends who have never been married.

Oddly enough, in my circle of friends the only children growing up in a “broken” home are my own.

(And that word “broken” hurts to type and I simultaneously despise and understand the word because of its accuracy to our situation.)

But I also believe broken is not a forever curse.  Broken is not irredeemable.  It is not unfixable.  (I mean, certain situations seem unfixable.  Certain circumstances will remain broken in this life.  But this is not true for humans.  Not true for people.  They are most certainly “fixable”.)

Your marriage matters because my kids are watching you.

They are listening to how you speak to your spouse.  They see how you prefer them over all others and how you support and honor and love your husband or your wife.

You get to be an example of what hope looks like for my children.  An example of what Happy wears and how Healthy acts.  Of what is possible for their very own futures.

Or you get to add another dose of fear, another brick in the wall.  Another bad ending and bitter taste.

Yes, this sounds too heavy.  (My people have thus far never been afraid of heavy, however, and we’ve all grown to realize the cost of intimate friendship is rather dear, so I am guessing this is just another wrinkle in that knowledge.)

To all my married friends, keep fighting for what you’ve got.  Keep battling the horrendous statistic that says HALF of all marriages end in divorce.

Do better than that.  

Offer more to your kids – and to mine too, please.

 

 

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Five Finds Friday (when kids dance for a star)

 

Every Friday I am a broken record.

What?  Where did the week go already?

For our house it’s been a week of driving back and forth to theatre camp – goodness, a daily morning and afternoon commute requires a great deal of gas.  (A truth which the rest of America already knows, I assume.)  I believe I prefer staying at home most mornings.  And afternoons.  I had a great business week – can’t wait to share some stories about that next week.  The weather was the best kind of weather the south has to offer.  I got by this week with a little help from my friends.  I tried to trim Ryder’s hair myself.  (It went about as well as all of the hair trims I have offered to anyone – mankind or dog kind.)

The weekend promises to be plenty full, but full of Good and full of sunshine.  I hope your weekends are full of the same too.

 

 

funny

 

One.  Bergen and Otto have been talking a lot about air soft guns recently following a birthday party a few weekends ago with an air soft game as the main event.

Bergen contends that he prefers an air soft rifle to an air soft pistol.

All this time, Otto has been convinced that Bergen has been saying “air soft rival”.  And now he wants a “rival” too.

Two.  Living at a summer camp for five years provided us with an opportunity to meet a wonderful array of college-aged students.  Our family feels privileged to still be in contact with many of these former summer staffers and we love seeing how their lives are shifting and changing.  And, as time passes, how their families are merging and growing.  It’s a gift to watch and support their growth.

One of our favorites (is that allowed?) recently shared the future arrival of his first born child in this really clever and really funny way …..

 

 

fashionable

 

I can’t remember how I fell across this website but I have a feeling it was through one of the homeschooling conferences I have attended in the past two years.

It’s such a fun one – Wild Outdoors Club.

They have great t-shirts and other fun stuff.  Their Instagram feed is a favorite of mine to follow.

 

 

And this week – I really like their stickers.

 

 

We all know my car needs one of these.  Now, to decide which one.

 

 

flavorful

 

Over spring break last week I had the kids scheduled to prepare a few extra meals and to learn a few new culinary skills.

London rose to the challenge and crafted Lemon Chicken, which was – hands down – better than any take-out Chinese chicken we have purchased.

 

Photo taken from AppetitieforChina.com

Photo taken from AppetiteforChina.com

 

faithful

 

I’m looking forward to taking the kids to walk through The Story of Redemption on Good Friday here locally.

Earlier this week our family had the opportunity to actually lend our hands to help set up just a tiny little portion of the day’s experience.

You guys, the folks over there are working SO hard to make Jesus known.  To offer a place and to provide a setting for us to pause what we’ve got going on all over our homes and our hearts and our heads.  To just slow down and shine the light on who we are in this gigantic world and who Jesus is and what He has already done.  And why that matters.

It’s happening today – from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. – and if you are within driving distance, I think it’s worth rearranging your schedule to be there.

 

feels

 

We had just pulled into the driveway from something or another.

As she is nearing the house, London exclaims, “Come quick, everybody – run run run!”

We all attempted to obey her directive from our various stages of disembarking from the Yukon.

Apparently only Bergen made it to her side in time to see what was causing all of her exuberance.  (And, honestly, exuberance in London is a relatively rare quality.  She’s not an Over The Top Excitable kid.  She leaves that to her younger sister.  And her older sister.  And sometimes her mother.)

Together, Bergen and London watched what they described as the biggest and brightest and longest burning shooting star they had ever witnessed.

Their joy was precious.  (And I do NOT employ that word until absolutely necessary.)

It was a shooting star.  A work of nature’s art.  A rare occasion.

And they recognized the beauty, the awe and the wonder.

In their overflowing excitement, my thirteen year old and my eleven year old did the greatest little thing that made my heart rise to my throat in some kind of Mother Happiness.

These two tall-as-me siblings hugged one another.  They hugged one another tightly.  And they danced around in a circle of hugging, shouting how fantastic that shooting star was.

I think they’re pretty fantastic too.

 

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a state of being

 

I am altogether too often guilty of choosing Busy in my Soul (and Busy in my Life) so I can comfort myself with a bit of Numb.

The distractions keep me from feeling all the stuff that threatens to drown me.

(And.  Some days, some moments, there is just So Much Stuff.)

What is it all anyway?

Why is it so easy to forget what I believe?

To push aside what I know to be true?

To look at the hill in front of me and to see a mountain I think I’ll never cross?

To forget where I’ve been and what I’ve become?

To forget that my legs are strong and my heart is steady and my God is true?

I’ve been reading through a book with a group of friends and we meet together each week to talk about the book and about our responses to what we’re reading and to what we are learning about ourselves.

The book title is a little over the top for me – it’s true.  But the last chapter I read – chapter 5, if you pick the book up yourself one day – had me all looking into a mirror and walking away with a myriad of feelings.

The book  – because now you want to know – is called The Life You’ve Always Wanted.  The tagline says “spiritual disciplines for ordinary people” and I think that’s pretty spot on.  It is very practical and not too full of high ideals, but more filled with seeing yourself and the habits you’ve created and then choosing to break those habits.

The chapter that we worked through this week was about living an unhurried life.

There’s too much going on inside my hurried brain to unwrap the entire concept right now, but when I read the chapter I was certain the author had been following me around, watching my life and jotting down notes and then just writing this chapter about what he saw me doing Every Single Day.

At one point there was a question, “How do you know if you suffer from hurry sickness?  Let’s do a brief diagnostic.”

Dude.  I failed that test.

Or, rather, I aced that test.

Point after point after point.  Yes, the description was All Me.

Standing in the grocery store check out line, seriously weighing which line will be the faster one and keeping track of who was in the line and where I would have been had I chosen the other line and if that person makes it out before me, then I lost.  Driving down the road and switching lanes and seeing if I made the right choice to stay in the correct lane.  Ending nearly every day of my life wishing for more hours in the day to just get the things done that I was not able to get done.  Always feeling like I have not finished enough of my tasks.  Stacking books up by my bedside and feeling guilty for never finishing them.  Multi-tasking to the extreme.  A giant planner with all the lists.  Saying yes to big things but not following through.  Rushing through end-of-day routines (like bedtime tuck-ins) and not even knowing why.

You guys.

It’s a problem.

Two quotes really struck me and have been sitting a little heavy on my chest since I read them this week.

“Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible.  Love always takes time, and time is one thing hurried people don’t have.”

And it’s not just a busy life.  A busy life is not a sin.  It’s a busy heart.  Like – a disordered heart.  A heart without rest.  You can be busy.  Your schedule can be full.  You can do the next thing, but I sincerely believe that you can do that next thing in a purposeful manner with love and not with hurry.  (Or at least, I’m hoping that is possible.)

The chapter has given me a lot to think about.  A lot to be mindful of.  A lot of which I was not previously precisely aware.

And this one last quote to leave here and let it sit with you, as it has sat with me …..

“For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith.  It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it.  We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them.”

I’m willing to fight against mediocrity.   That’s a battle worth showing up for.

 

___________________________

 

 

 

mid-week round up of not much really.

 

Since purchasing the Travelers Rest Here website I have been writing more frequently and editing more regularly and attending meetings more often and Doing Stuff.

(See how professional sounding business ownership has made me?)

I love what I get to do and it’s been in so many ways an easy transition as I have been naturally promoting TR (for free) since we moved here a decade ago.  Now I just get to try to make it profitable.

The hard part is the balancing act, of course.

The merging of my homeschool with my job with my relationships with my blogging here with my preparing dinner with my sleeping.

You know, the real life details that we all struggle through.

Because of this new dynamic, sometimes my brain has no more space for analogies or recording funny things the kids say or do or for crafting posts with beginnings, middles and ends.  (You know this.  You’ve kindly read (or skipped) many of my rambling stream of consciousness posts before this one.)

Well, here’s another one for you.

With a few bits and bobbles from the week …..

One thing that can get tricky with being the lone parent in the house is logistics.  How do you get all the kids to all the places all the time?  For a while, this has been basically a non-issue.  They were younger.  They did less things.  And the things they did, they did together.

But currently we are entering a new phase of life.  (I guess.  And by “entering” I probably mean, I am being dragged along against my will by the dominant and unrelenting force of time.)

 

 

One night last weekend, for example, I dropped off my three big kids and one of their friends at a youth event and I took just the two younger kids to dinner.  We played Uno and corn hole and ate our sandwiches and our soup in a bizarre other-world quietness.  We politely conversed with one another and calmly walked to the car.  I didn’t even recognize us.  Upon arriving at home I allowed them to watch a show and bedtime quickly followed on the heels of that and then – there I was.  Alone.  In the quiet of my living room.  Just sitting there.  I read a book.  Sort of.  And I waited in the quiet for my three big kids to arrive home later via a ride from a friend.

Who was I right then?  What was happening?

And when they came home they were flushed with excitement and stories.  And they were hungry.  So they ate cereal and apples and told me all the stories about their night out.  They had a night out.  I wasn’t there or with them or chaperoning.  They just had a night out.

 

 

(Is anyone besides me finding these changes unacceptable, for the love?)

This week Piper is at theatre camp all week, preparing for a reprisal of her role as the goose in The Little Red Hen.  She’s got daily rehearsals and that means driving back and forth to the theatre every day.  Which is pretty fine, I guess.  Par for this parenting course.  But today Bergen also had to be somewhere at 9 a.m.  In a different state.  What’s one mom supposed to do?  Two kids at two different places in two opposite directions at the exact same time.  Come on, world.

Thank goodness for generous friends and an agreeable grown up daughter who volunteered their time to help me circumnavigate my morning and afternoon pick up schedules on the opposite sides of my town.

For real, what would I do without these people?  (No one needs to answer that.)

Also, somehow in the shuffle of life last week we missed our weekly routine trip to the grocery store and although that sounds like it should be a priority, sometimes if we miss our window to get to the store we sort of just make do that week with whatever we find in the freezer and can buy at our local roadside stand and so that’s what we did last week, but this week we actually kept to our routine and it has been downright comical how grateful the kids have been to have apples in the bowl and bananas on the counter and oranges available again.  You’d think they won the lottery, but all I did was just go to the grocery store like a regular human.  (Lesson to learn here – maybe if you spend a week without fresh fruit, your kids will be more grateful when it shows back up.)

Now I think I am spent with nonsensical stories and tidbits.

 

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The Story of Redemption at Radius this Friday

 

For the past several years, on Good Friday before Easter weekend, the kids and I have visited a unique and moving experience that takes place at Radius in downtown Greenville.

It’s called The Story of Redemption.  

 

 

My words are sure to be inadequate in describing the experience because it’s far more authentic and visceral than I will have the language to capture.

Each year the dynamics of the experience are varied, but the idea is the same.  Guests arrive and enter in the small group they came with, or individually.  Essentially, you are taking a guided “walk” through the story of God’s redemption of mankind, through the beginning, the Fall, the effects of sin, the broken manner in which we live currently, the death of Jesus on the cross, the hope of humanity in the form of His broken body, the promise of a future eternity.

 

 

The experience is both hands on and tangible.  You walk through various rooms and different scenes.  There are certainly a few rooms that are more emotional and heavier than other rooms.  I’ve taken the kids through with me each year and have felt comfortable with the level of intensity or visual reminders placed throughout, but it is not a lighthearted experience.

 

 

Like all experiential scenarios, you will certainly get out of it what you are willing to invest in it.  In other words, if you approach the Story of Redemption as an afternoon activity, or as a thing to do because it’s the season that you should do something, you might walk away disappointed, or at least – unmoved.

 

 

Opportunities are carefully provided throughout for you to pause, reflect, feel, think and acknowledge the weight and the depth and the real of what you are passing through.

Each year I have found The Story of Redemption to be incredibly meaningful, to be a guide to my heart and mind of a glimpse of the value and the sacrifice and the gigantic-ness of what Jesus has orchestrated to make my life acceptable to God.  I love having the tangible place to walk through this story with my children, to talk about Good Friday, to feel the weight of what matters.

 

 

You attend whenever you want to attend – any time from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Good Friday.  The doors are open all those hours and when you park, you’ll be easily directed to where to start and how the process works.  I’ve seen people spend an hour or more.  The kids and I usually are walking through in less than an hour, although I imagine if I was to go it alone I would linger a bit more in a few sections.  It’s completely free.

 

 

If you do have younger children, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. there is childcare available so you can walk through alone – which is a very kind gift to parents of young children.

This Radius event has become an important part of our family’s Easter tradition.  I really value the opportunity to make space on Friday to recognize and honor the indescribable sacrifice and to prepare my own heart for the grateful celebration that is Easter morning.

If you are local, I absolutely encourage you to create time to walk through this with your family and your friends.

 

All Photos by Jane Howard

 

The Details:

The Story of Redemption
Radius Church 
37 Pinckney Street,
Greenville SC

11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Childcare provided 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

 

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don’t sit in your struggle alone

 

Struggle.

It sometimes seems like it’s the predominant characteristic of our lives.

And, even when your own life isn’t full to the brim overflowing with hardship or disappointment, you still have people you know, love, care about, meet on the street, whose lives are slopping over the sides with struggle and hard and heavy.

You can personally be floating along in a relative calm, a ray of sunshine across your canoe, and you just bump your oar right up against someone who has capsized, who is flailing around outside their canoe, clinging to their life jacket, head bobbing in the water next to you.

It happens All The Time.

It happened to me twice this very weekend.

A shared story.  A person approaching me and trusting me with their Vulnerable.  A group story and a piece of what their struggle tastes like.

Thus far, I respond the same.  When I hear these stories, when I get these glimpses, when I sit near their pain.

I hurt.

I mean, I for real physically feel a pressing burden.  Both of these are situations for people I don’t actually know.

But you don’t have to know someone to know what hurt feels like.  You don’t have to be a person’s friend to feel the weight of their struggle.

Oh goodness, you guys.

There are different kinds of happy and there are different kinds of hard and not one of us can entirely one hundred percent understand anyone else’s.

And even though I hate the hard and wish for a different story for myself or for my friends or for the people who stop me and offer me the tiniest bit of their broken, I am still somehow grateful, right in the middle of the sorrow, for the chance to not be alone in the lousy.  For the opportunity to reach out and physically touch a shoulder, hug a stranger, send an encouraging text and to put the littlest pause in the record that is playing on repeat in their brain of All That Is Not Right.

Oh, friends.

Do not be silent in your struggle.  
Do not face the worst alone.  

Even when your voice sounds like tin, use it.

Even when you think no one wants to hear, speak up.

 

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