Where Do You Hide Your Heart?

Where do you go when you’re hurting? … Where do you hide your heart?

Lyrics Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith

I first realized that parents teach places to hide hearts after I watched wounded adult relatives either run to Disney World or long for Disney World. One cousin openly spoke of her desperate need. I was confused until I remembered her childhood vacations to Disney World when her family’s’ life was in turmoil.

After that revelation, I recognized similar patterns. I looked back on my sons’ responses to difficult times or adjustments. With one exception, they consistently headed outdoors. The exception? Libraries.

Along the way, I learned that I had unconsciously taught my sons a physical place to hide their hearts.

A place to run to.

Our family camped and hiked and biked and ran in the woods behind our house whenever we could—unless we were hanging out at the library a few miles away. I didn’t realize I was teaching my sons that libraries and the great outdoors could be safe places when hurting or in need of rest.

Where do you run to hide your heart? Where do you want your children to run?

Family, Photos

The Blessing of Photography

August 19th is World Photography Day. When I first heard about World Photography Day, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate by taking photographs. But I already take too many.

I thought I should make a special effort to open my albums and look at my photographs. But I regularly peruse my albums.

I decided to do what I am still learning to do—especially since one uncle’s funeral. Be grateful for photographs.

Be grateful for the memories I have recorded.

Never go camping without your teddy bear .(May 1990)

Be grateful to my ancestors for taking photographs at a time when photography was not common but rather a luxury.

My father, left, and his brothers in the mid-1930s. I love their poses because they stood this way as adults. Children don’t change. See here.
The family garden

The photos may be blurry and dark, but they tell me things my father and uncles never did, and they remind me of what they did tell.

Thank you, Photographer, whoever you were.

God bless the photographers and those who cherish those photographs.

Book Recommendations, Relationships

Sometimes, It’s the People Pt.2

My husband and I attend the National Book Festival to discover new books and hear the stories of authors. And, hopefully, collect the current National Book Festival poster. And other freebies.

Another reason for attending (September 2008)

In 2016, I had the privilege to meet a favorite author, Katherine Paterson.

With Katherine Paterson (September 2016)

On Saturday, I unexpectedly met another favorite author, Gary Schmidt. (See here and here.) I purchased a duplicate book so he could sign it.

With Gary Schmidt (August 2023)

Although my husband and I did not seek to have meaningful conversations with strangers, it happened. Three times. I think I would have new, good friends if these women lived closer, or if, perhaps, I had asked their full names. Twice in a row, I have experienced events in which I will fondly remember engaging with strangers.

Who are you meeting?


Sometimes, It’s the People

Hawksbill Overlook, Shenandoah July 2023

My husband and I vacation in the Shenandoah for the quiet, the scenery, and not the people. Definitely, not the people. My favorite trip was when we were forced to slow down and savor the flora and fauna. (See here.)

However, last month’s trip might tie with our favorite because of the people. We like the off-season, but peak season means ranger-led programs. We went to as many as possible, and so did others.

We had meaningful conversations with strangers—conversations that continued at the next trail or gift shop or parking lot meeting. Fun conversations. Serious conversations. A 2021 through hiker dubbed us Father Shenandoah and Mother Shenandoah because we gave her our biased opinions about waterfalls and overlooks instead of hedging.

When we saw her and her friend later, she said they had hoped to see us again. “Had we ever seen a bear?” Yes, a mother and two cubs in 1983, and another in 2009.

I could picture us hugging our new acquaintances if our paths crossed another year or in another park.

Along the way, I am being surprised by enjoying strangers—many strangers.

Who are you enjoying these days?


What If I Didn’t Remember?

Contemplating the memories I don’t have—and how my life might change if they existed—was recently sparked by discovering family memorabilia. (See here.)

Contemplating the memories I do have—and how my life would change if they didn’t exist—started years ago after I read a book review.

I forgot the title and author, but I never forgot the circumstances. A man lost his memory and had to continue his life with a blank slate.

What would it be like for me to lose memories—and not just any memories—but the ones I believe hinder me? Once, it seemed like something I might want to try.

What if I didn’t remember the unkindness?

What if I didn’t remember the betrayals?

What if I didn’t remember the unmet expectations?

What if I didn’t remember the failures?

And much more.

As the years have passed, I have come to a different conclusion than I had originally. I might be more successful or braver or happier without the negative memories, but I would be less.

Less kind.

Less loyal.

Less realistic.

Less encouraging.

Less helpful.

Less me.

How have negative memories molded you?