Happily, Ever After

Once upon a time, I believed in happily ever after—not only in favorite movies and books—but also in my real life. Along the way, I learned that eternity is my only shot at happily ever after.

Others tried to tell me earlier, but I was too idealistic.

One afternoon after class, a favorite professor took me and two other students into his office. He pointed to a wall hanging. My memory of that image is blurry, but his words are still clear.

The road never gets easier. There are only fewer people traveling with you.

Dr. Smith meant our careers, but I learned his words applied to more.

As newlyweds, my husband and I met with our pastor to say goodbye before we moved. After small talk, he said,

There’s only one thing I want to say. Each challenge is preparation for the next challenge. You never arrive in this life.

Bad news? Not really. Along the way, I learned that realism is needed to prepare and persevere.           

My most discouraging hikes were the ones where I was deceived about the distance, the difficulty, or both. Now I read trail descriptions more carefully.

Preparing for your next challenge?


World Letter Writing Day

December 7th is National Letter Writing Day. Unless a Christmas card counts, it seems a burden to add to the holidays. I prefer World Letter Writing Day on the reasonable date of September 1st.

While both bless, written words have advantages over spoken ones.

Letters linger. I almost cried—okay, I did cry—when a current, long-distant friend’s note reminisced about meeting me in fourth grade, and her prayers for me over the years. I don’t think she would have said those words out loud. I reread Dawn’s nourishing words several times the first day.

Even better, letters linger for decades.

Boxes of Saved Letters

Maybe I don’t need to know that during her college years my mother regularly had sore throats or needed a new pair of black pumps or sang in a trio, but it gives me insight into her 1950s concerns. I definitely like knowing that my serious, quiet aunt was quite the flirt when she dated my uncle. I need the loving—and sometimes admiring—notes of small sons who are now grown and more jaded about their mother.

Blessed are the letter readers and the letter savers, and especially the letter writers. Which are you?

Basics, Memories

Process Your Moments: Part 2

We move on and don’t process. Take in moments and don’t move on.

Deena Kastor, Bronze Medalist, 2004 Olympics

My fractured knee, meniscus tear, and Baker’s cyst made my plans to hike favorite trails in the Shenandoah National Park seem not only ambitious, but also foolish. While waiting for lunch the first day, I fell off a sidewalk and sprained my ankle. With determination, a carbon knee brace, and a makeshift ankle brace, my husband and I continued with our agenda.

What happened? An easy, one-mile hike that usually took seventeen minutes took over an hour. My husband and I sat longer than we walked. Our slow pace continued the following days.

The trail became our destination instead of an overlook or a waterfall or the completion of a trail’s loop.

We asked park rangers questions. We watched butterflies. We attempted to identify bird songs. We watched a doe chase—and then nurse—her fawn.

We studied trees and gave them suitable names.

We compared wildflowers.

Because of my injuries, we took in our moments. We processed. We savored. I declared our four days the best of our forty years of hiking

Do you have time to process?

See Here for Part 1.

Basics, Sharing Stories

The Greatest Story Was Told

Along the way, I keep learning the value of passing down important information, especially through stories. (See Here.)

This Sunday, as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, how do we know its significance and the pertinent facts? Someone told the story.

It seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

Luke 1:3-4 (ESV)

Through Luke—and others—God made sure that the life of Jesus was recorded.

While homeschooling, I used the genealogy of Genesis to construct a time line. What surprised me the most? The life of Noah’s father, Lamech, and the life of Adam overlapped by 56 years. Lemech possibly listened to Adam’s first-hand accounts of the Fall and the promise of a Savior.

The long life of Adam—930 years—allowed his knowledge to be given to a multitude of people for centuries.

We continue the blessing as we accurately tell the good news,and add our own accounts of God’s faithfulness.

Which stories are you passing along this week?

Basics, Family, Parenting

War, Not Battles Pt.2

Be pitiful, for every man is fighting a hard battle.

Ian MacLaren, Zion’s Herald, January 26, 1898

Along the way, I learned that most people are fighting wars, not battles. What is the difference?

War involves a series of battles. War takes longer. War requires more resources. War has more setbacks. War causes more damage.

No matter the victor, war requires more repairs. War needs a longer recovery. War demands more time to process the experience.

I wish I had known I was fighting wars rather than battles. I would have been better prepared for both the fight and the aftermath.

Are you fighting or recovering?