Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Long Road Ahead

I took this picture tonight on my way to pick up Hope at the barn. It's striking to me and almost takes my breath away.

One reason is that I feel like sunrises and sunsets are God's way of kissing us good morning and goodnight.  I don't have to see them to know that He loves me, but they just make me feel extra warm inside.

Another reason is I love the symbolism of the long road in front, but I forget about the length--just a little--when I see that it leads to the sun.

So many times I embark on something that feels like heading into a tunnel with only a pinhole of light visible.  And, because I know it's the way to go, I will trudge through the dark and do my best not to trip and fall too many times onto the ground that I cannot see. But, by the end of the tunnel, after my eyes have adjusted to the blinding light, I see the scrapes and bruises on me.

This pic reminds me that life is not always dark tunnels.  Sometimes it's open roads where I can see all around me.  And I'm in a car, moving at a faster pace.  And I have the S-O-N waiting for me at the end of my adventure.

So, I will soak in the drive and maybe even roll down my windows a little bit and turn the radio up just a tad louder.

And most of all, trust that where I'm headed is where I'm supposed to be.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Basil in a Broken Pot

A few months ago I was walking into Sprouts and saw herbs on sale.  Now, I've tried to plant things in the past.  Brian even planted me a salsa bar last year.  But, for the most part, I kill everything.  I just don't have "the touch."

But, the thought of fresh herbs makes me happy, so I put 3 of them into my cart.  (I'm learning to surround myself as much as possible with the simple happys)

I bought plain, inexpensive pots for them--just in case they didn't make it into the next week--and put them on my window sill.

One of my favorite things (and maybe part of the reason I keep trying to plant with my black thumb) is getting to see the physical changes that take place in plants.  When you first put a plant into a bigger pot, it looks so small, but within days, you see how it's "owning" it's space and growing--not only outward, but upward. And even though I can't see the roots, I can only imagine how the tangled mess I buried is now stretching and spreading out of that clump.

I went out of town for a few days and when I came back, the basil pot was cracked and the plant looked dead.  Why?  Because Willow.  Apparently, the flycatcher extraordinaire did not see value in the  fact that my herbs were still alive when she was hunting and knocked my basil to the ground.  My family put it back up but Brian (who DOES) have a green thumb told me it probably wouldn't survive.

Now, I wish I could say I left it on the window sill because I had hope and believed I could nurse it back to heath, but the truth is, I was just too lazy to throw it away (our trash is almost always full--even right after it's emptied and if I put it in there, it would mean I would have to take the trash out.  If I just walk it out to the dumpster, then I might as well take the trash out.  It's tough being in my head).

BUT, I regress!  I continued to water the basil--cracked pot and all--just not as much as the other herbs--it got the last drops of water after I finished with the others.  The thyme and rosemary were both thriving and soaking up the water, but the basil was brown and shriveled and most of the water soaked the soil with no sign of life.

Until one day, I spotted some green in that pot!  So, I started watering it a little bit more intentionally.  And it continued to grow--cracked pot and all!  In fact, I even used some of it for a meatloaf a few weeks ago!

What's ironic is that there are still dead leaves in the pot, but the basil has decided to spring up around the death and not let it choke it and keep it from growing.  I have to water it a little more and in smaller amounts than the other two, but that just makes me more intentional with it. And ironically, that basil is actually taller than the other two beside it!

I can't help but think that many of us are like the basil in the broken pot.  We don't look like we have much to offer, but, God, in His grace, continues to water us and turn us so that we get Son on each part of us, so that we grow.  And those cracks in our pot, while still there, are not the focus and don't limit us.

Brokenness doesn't have to define us.  It sure doesn't that basil in my window sill.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Bittersweet Beginnings

The beginning of a new school year has started at the Royal house, and, once again, there is change in the air!

First of all, the girls decided to transfer to a new school district.  For one daughter, it was a no-brainer, but it was a bit agonizing for the other.  After many lists and conversations of pros and cons, she made the decision to move as well.

As they are getting older, Brian and I have been trying to back off and let them make their decisions. It's hard and we DO have to step in sometimes, but we also want to launch adults in the world who can think for themselves.  We help by doing the homework and asking the hard questions, but leave the final call to them in most cases.  It's a bit frustrating to them at times because they want to be able to blame us if it's not the right one. Sometimes parenting feels like a no-win situation!

What's funny/ironic/sad is the one who didn't have to think twice about moving is the most nervous.  Every few days she's asked another "what if" question.  The hardest was "What if nobody wants to sit with me at lunch?"  We've all heard the stories and seen the yuck that happens with overt bullying, but we don't always talk about the subtle stuff.  I hate that she had to experience that in the past, but am also praying she doesn't forget it--so that she makes sure she is not on the other end of letting someone sit by themselves because she is scared of what her "friends" will think of her.

Along with a new school, another beginning for us is that Hope has started working at a new barn.  She had to say goodbye to her precious Sharay and the trainer who gave her her very 1st real lesson.  Even though it's the right move for her, it's still hard to let go of the familiar for the unknown.

I want to be able to tell both of my girls that it will be easy and fun and that they will never have a regret.  I am hoping and praying that for them, but I know from personal experience that the right decision will not always "feel" right.  They may doubt themselves--and even if they don't, the new adventure won't always be easy.  And there will be people who question them--some aloud and some behind their backs.

At the end of the day, I want them to learn--just as I am learning--that you pray about a decision, do your homework, pray some more, talk to people who love you and pray again.  Then you make the decision that YOU feel is best in light of all of that.  It might be easy.  It might be hard.  But at the end of the day, you have to answer for YOUR actions--not anyone else's thoughts or words. Have courage and be kind.