Life's Sweet Journey: July 2015

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Words for Wednesday: Grief and Glory

I have been absent from this space for a few weeks. Life was in that flux of space between grief and joy and I wasn't sure which emotions and feelings I felt like sharing (or really which ones I even felt) and so I didn't write at all. Which, I have realized in turn, is bad for my soul. I discovered a while ago that, even if I never post publicly, I need to share the words that choke up my heart. In writing, just for myself, over coffee, with others, internally, externally and most importantly with Jesus. 

I am not usually one to shy away from openness. I share a lot on here, because I feel that in sharing pain and our own walk with suffering we all help one another. Reading things where people share their hearts helps me realize I am not alone. But on the wake of the second anniversary of my brothers death I felt things that were new, things I wasn't sure how to voice and so I tried to block them out and not think on them. And then a sermon preached this past weekend was the gentle reminder I needed of the Glory that there can be in suffering. 

Zach Van Dyke, of Summit Church, preached on Romans Chapter 5 (verses 1-8). He preached about the desire for  a happy place, he referenced Inside Out, he quoted Chronicles of Narnia, he shared joy and sadness and he shared that Christianity is not stoicism (listen here). As Christians our hearts will be broken a million times over and it doesn't mean that we can't suffer, that we can't feel sadness or pain or that when we do we should hold it all in. The Glory is IN the suffering. It is in the broken moments when our tears roll down our cheeks and mix with Jesus'. It is the understanding that when we suffer we can also know we are not alone. Jesus' truest Glory came through His most ultimate suffering and it was the thing that saved the entire world. 

Suffering and grief are part of the picture of what makes us human. In this world we will suffer. But slowly time heals and suffering and sadness mix with joy and that joy is amplified by the pain that hides underneath. This second anniversary of John Wayne being gone was a strange mix of those feelings. Two days before was my mother's 60th birthday and my sister's 35th and we did the best we could to celebrate that day with joy, but there is a lingering undertone. It is the chance to be together with family and close friends to celebrate, but the reminder of what's missing is forever there and so the laughter and the tears blend together in a mess of BBQ and key lime pie. And that's ok. 

Last year the grief was so fresh. This year it left us each trying hard to go about our daily business, some even working longer hours that day to have less time at home. We didn't meet up again, instead leaving the celebration of birth our time together as a family. We reached out to each other via texts and we responded to each others Facebook messages on my his still active page. Calls were harder, as if the sound of a voice would be the cutting edge we needed to break past the floodgates until we all went under together. I am not sure if that was the best means to get us through the day, but it was what we all seemed to need. An unspoken bond that would carry us into the day after. And sometimes that's all it is when sadness and joy morph into a relationship with one another; an unspoken bond of understanding that, though the two might seem polar opposites, they need one another in way that other emotions don't. The reminder that this isn't all there is. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

5 of Friday! Popsicles and Adventure

The last few weeks have been full of odds and ends! Here's a few fun ones that I hope you enjoy! 

1.) New Book Review!
I realize that all of my book reviews from Blogging for Books have recently been baby-centered. Nope, still no news! However I grabbed this one because my sister is pregnant and baby is coming soon. I figured she would enjoy this, but I also had somewhat selfish motivation. I have been on a popsicle kick lately. I have been trying new recipes and enjoying the cold treats on hot days (which is every single one)! But I figured what better way to find recipes than through a baby food book. They have to be pretty similar right?! It turns out I wasn't far from the truth. There are perfect recipes for fruit combinations and instructions for how to best prepare food for blending. 

If you are looking for a great baby food book, this one is perfect. I love pictures and this dis not let me down! It is full of step-by-step instructions, great pictures and wonderful recipes to keep your little ones belly full of homemade yumminess! 

2.) Green Tea Peach Perfection! 
Due to yumminess of peach season I figured I would use those for my first real fruit popsicle concoction. I blended up peaches in my food processor and then added a little green tea and honey (always honey!) and voila!! Aren't freezer molds from the Target dollar spot the best?! Yup, it tastes as yummy as it looks. 

3.) Adventure!!
I got my first adventure patch! I started following @adventurepatch on Instagram. It's a place for people to share pictures of patches they have gotten from national park visitors centers with the park in the background. We went on an adventure out to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and then followed it up with a drive into Canaveral National Seashore (which surprisingly enough we have never been to) and that's where I got my first patch. My Junior Ranger patch, which is pretty fitting if you ask me, since my husband says I am just a big kid. I got it from a nice man who was checking passes before entering, that seemed to notice the same thing when I asked him where I might find a patch. If you live nearby you should totally check out the Refuge! 

4.) More Adventure! 
Our favorite part of the Wildlife Refuge was the Blackpoint Wildlife Drive! It is a great way to stay cool in the summer heat, but also find adventure! You can stay in the car, you can get out of the car and walk around a bit, or you can get the best of both worlds and just ride out the window!! And don't forget a stop by to see the manatees after the drive. There were so many! 

5.) And now I am off to work on pictures I took of my sweet sister and her family! Can't wait to meet our newest little bean! 

Linking up today for the 5 on Friday and Oh hey Friday ladies! 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Words for Wednesday: Beautifully You!

Why do you question yourself?
Always questioning your worth in the world, your beauty.
You are beautiful,
the most stunningly, beautiful, unique thing there ever was.
No one can ever be as beautiful as you,
for you are the only you there will ever be. 

You were formed with purpose 
and loved from before you even took a breath. 
When your strength waivers think on these things. 
And if you can't then turn to me, 
turn to me and I'll remind you. 

Hold tight to who you are, 
clutch your strength tightly, 
through the valleys and the mountains 
and along each journey you take 
through all the 'yous' in your life. 

You are strong!
You are beautiful! 

The quote by Tyler Knott Gregson has always been one that stops me anytime I stumble across it. From time to time we all falter, our strength waivers and we feel alone. We have people in our lives that question their beauty and it breaks our hearts. Or there are days we question our own. If today is a day that you need the reminder of just how beautiful you are, I hope this helps! I hope you remember that there can never be another person more beautiful, more unique, than you! You are the only you that God ever made and that is a beautiful and worthy thing. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

July Currently

craving: Adventure!! I have had a thirst for adventure recently like it's nobodies business!! I have had this itch to pack it all in and hit the road. However, since logical life must continue, as my ever logical husband is so quick to remind me, we have come to an agreement on possibly (minuscule in his mind, gigantic in mine haha) looking in to getting a camper to adventure around Florida with on our off weekends! First though, he has asked me for a list of all the places we would go so that we can weigh the length of the list with how much we might use said camper. Oh love his heart! So I am currently working my way through wonderful places to see in the sunshine state. Any other Floridians or Florida lovers that could share some of your favorite off-the-beaten-path spots? 

grilling: Finally got to grill up my favorite summer yummy! Tuna steak burgers (just season and grill tuna to your liking) then top with avocado and egg salad and place between a bun. I know what you're thinking, it doesn't necessarily sound like the best combination. Oh, but it is!! It is!! I don't even like egg salad on it's own, but these things are close to perfection I tell ya. And so light and wonderful for a summer dinner al fresco! Here is the original link to a post on this yumminess from quite long ago (at the very bottom of post) that includes more pictures and details. Also, it is really strange to read stuff from so long ago and hear the kind of mind set I was in at the particular time, the tone just seems so different to me. 

listening: With my thirst for adventure always in the back of my mind, I have had Jake Owen's 'Anywhere With You' on replay through my brain. I have also been jammin' out to some of summer country and listening to the wonderful Beth Moore talk about what it really looks like when we learn to Love Well. 

planning: 1.) My list of the all Florida places! and 2.) The plans for this upcoming weekend. We are headed to the New Smyrna Beach for the weekend to watch the fireworks on the beach. I have all kinds of plans for adventure-seeking. I found this great new preserve and am hoping I can get Babe to go hiking one morning before with hit the sun and sand for some Cornhole and Jam Bucket! 

decorating: The guest bedroom. Our guest bedroom has been a place of transition for a while. First it was my brother-in-laws room and since then it has become my nieces room for when she sleeps over. Yesterday I found the cutest quilt on sale at Steinmart and have decided to make that a new project. Finger's crossed!! 

What's currently transpiring in your world? 

Linking up with// Anne and Jenna

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Words for Wednesday: A Life Intercepted

While Charles Martin's newest book, A Life Intercepted, was not one of my top reads of his, everything he writes is wonderful. I think if I were more a sport lover then I would have ranked it right up there with all the rest of his books. I would definitely recommend reading it, but if it were me I would prefer to start with one of his others, if I had never read his books. Unwritten and Where the River Ends need to be added to your book list. And if you haven't read anything by him at all, you best get in the car now and go to the bookstore! 

Either way, every time I finish one of his books I walk away with enough quotes to fill at least 5 pages of my quote books. A Life Intercepted was no different. Here are a few of them (all quotes from Charles Martin's A Life Intercepted)... 

"He felt the heaviness, but didn't know how to help her carry it. And she had always been careful not to let him."

"When we're down and the momentum is stacked against us, those are the moments when we find out what we're made of." 

Taken out of context... "People can't stop our soul from cracking in half, but sometimes they come along to help suture it shut." 
While I realize that most of these seem heavy, that is one of the things I love about Charles Martin's writing. His books don't shy away from the heavy. In fact, they hit it square in the face. But his writing also shines light on the redemption of a human soul. It shines light on what it looks like when, against all odds, people come together and work with each other to be supportive and to shine hope in desperate situations. He doesn't romanticize it or dress it up pretty and tie the end off with a pretty bow and a happily ever after. It always sits there on the fringes of hope and grace as the two meet the reality of human pain. It leaves you hopeful for all that will come once you close the pages, the sad and broken moments that make the good ones seem brighter.  

"I had never been in love and wouldn't know what to do with it when I found it, but when she looked at me, my heart melted, slid out of my chest, and landed in her hands." 

"Hatred is a commodity we can't afford... It was too expensive then and it's too expensive now." 
Sadly, this one continues to ring true all the time. Hatred, with its harsh lines and jagged edges, the kind that rip things to shreds, costs way too much. It costs us pain and misery and it holds us captive. Hatred does nothing but hurt. It hurts those around us and it hurts us. It can not bear anything good. When we lay hate down and pick up love and understanding, the kind that says, "I may not agree with you but that doesn't matter; we are different people, with different lives, who can care for one another without seeing eye-to-eye," we give ourselves a gift. And it is a gift with ripple effects. The kind of gift that only love can bring; peace. Because that's what love, real love, does. It calms our soul and frees us.