I’m not even sure how it happened. How time just kept going on but I didn’t stop to write about it. 6 months. 6 months since I last wrote on this blog. Did I think about it? Yes. Did I make attempts to write? Yes. Did I read other blogs from other writers? Yes. So why has it been 6 months? I can’t even really explain it. All I know is that I wanted to but found myself thinking that I didn’t have anything worthy to share. I guess you could say I had writers block? Or maybe… just maybe…I didn’t feel I could do it well enough anymore. Maybe it’s because doubts started to creep into my mind that I wasn’t poetic enough like Ann Voskamp or witty and funny enough like Melanie aka “Big Mama” or insightful enough like Lisa Whittle or raw enough like Sarah Markley. These are a few of the blogs that I follow. I love reading about their daily lives. Anne’s words flow like spun honey. Golden and sweet and you find yourself just wanting more. Big Mama makes me laugh on a daily basis with her stories of Texas, her daughter Caroline, her husband P and her best friend Gulley. Lisa Whittle always makes me think about myself and the world around me and Sarah Markley is just so raw with the truth. The truth, that’s what stopped me in my tracks when I started to think about why I haven’t written. It isn’t how I write or why I write, or even if I am good enough to write. Writing on a blog is about sharing the truth, the truth about yourself, your life and your family with others. And maybe it’s not even sharing with others. Maybe it’s just sharing the truth with yourself?
So here it is... the truth of the last 6 months of my life.
March found me turning 46. 46 years of living, breathing, laughing, crying and being me. Well sometimes me and sometimes trying to find out who “me” is? Did it make me sad to turn 46? No, not really. It’s like the line in Steel Magnolias when Truvy says to Shelby (who has found the early stages of crow’s feet), “Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin' across your face.” The best birthday present I received was my nephew returning from Afghanistan for a little R &R. As time was marching across my face, he had been marching across Afghanistan. It was so good to see him and we were able to have a big family dinner to celebrate before he had to return. March also brought two little boys into the lives of my brother and sister-in-law that I will at some point write about, but not in this post.
In April my baby turned 18. Now that made me feel old. Andrew informed me on the day of his birthday that I no longer had any children, that they were all adults now. Maybe in their eyes but not in mine. They will forever be my babies. Time might be marching on but somehow they all seem to march back into the house for something; food, advice, money, laundry, etc… I led the women’s retreat at the church camp at Lake Okoboji and it was such a great time. This was the first year that I was the only leader. I had 4 other women (God bless them) who helped with the details of decorations, supplies and support but it was basically me leading the weekend. On Saturday evening we were notified that there was some pretty crazy weather headed our way which was not happy news for me. I’m a tad bit afraid of storms. So I found myself periodically going back to my room, checking the weather on my laptop and praying to God for a little help. Thank God we only had rain, thunder and lightning where we were but a town a few miles to the east of our hometown was struck by a tornado that devastated parts of it.
Earlier in the year I had been asked to be on a leadership team for a new young women's ministry connection group called Wings and we had our first meeting in May. The group is a break off from the Compel Women's Conference which is held every January in So. Sioux City Nebraska. We meet monthly at our local Art Center and it is a way for young women in their 20's to connect with others. It has been so rewarding and the leadership team is made up of some incredible women. May also brought my babies high school graduation party and a trip to our cabin in the Black Hills. It also brought more water than the Missouri River could hold and we came home from the cabin and helped move my in-laws out of their home in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota. It was so surreal. People all over this small community were scrambling to find shelter, storage units, sandbags and people to help. As we drove into the community we waited in long lines as they were letting huge trucks filled with dirt go ahead of others so they could build a levee along the river front. The South Dakota National Guard was called in and Black Hawk helicopters transported huge sandbags to areas along the river to help hold back the water. As we helped to box, bag and put items into a huge semi-trailer parked in their front yard, the looks on my in-laws faces and those of their neighbors was of complete helplessness and fear. Everything they owned was going to be stored on a trailer that would be parked somewhere in a lot to keep the contents safe. I remember taking some of their more personal items to my van for us to keep at our house, looking up and down the street and saying to God, “Why is this happening and how are we going to get this all done?” God answered. People started showing up from my father-in-laws former law firm, employees from the court house where he had been a judge and friends of my brother-in-law. And then a mother and son who didn't even know us showed up. They had read on a Facebook page that had been set up to help with victims of the flood that we needed help. Every single one of them were angels sent from God. Within a few hours we had moved everything out of the house and locked the trailer.
The waters spilled over the banks in June and from Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and states farther south, cities, towns, farmlands and interstates were flooded with water. The water continued to rise and the lives of everyone were changed. But June also brought an incredible experience for me. I traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska to go to a Lifeway workshop on women’s ministry and to a Beth Moore Living Proof conference. I had been wanting to see her for five years. I had heard her speak on the program, Life Today with James and Betty Robison since 2006 and had read some of her books. It was during one of those programs that I heard Beth say, “If you want to hear the voice of God, you need to close your mouth and listen”. That’s what led me to the lake shore one April day in 2006 where I allowed God to speak to my heart. That moment with God changed my life and placed me on this journey that has led me to new opportunities to serve Him. So when I got the opportunity to see her in person, I jumped!! I was not disappointed. I had met two sisters, Lelia Chealey (who also has a blog) and Michelle Jane, at a conference in January who had invited me to stay with them when I went to Lincoln. They were part of the planning committee and because of that I also was able to be a prayer encourager at the conference. That meant that I got to sit in the front row. The FRONT row!!!! I cannot tell you how exciting it was when Beth came out as Travis Cottrell’s band started the worship time and she sat right across the aisle from me. I could have touched her but I don’t think her security guard would have been very happy about that. Tears started to flow from my eyes. It was an incredible weekend and one that will forever remain in my memory and my heart. My husband and I also celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary June. May I just say how much I love this man!!! He is my biggest fan. He still makes me laugh and when I get all fired up about something he'll let me vent and then gives me a look and a word that calms me down. It has been a roller coaster ride that I hope we can stay on for a long, long time.
July brought a week at the Blueberry cabin in Minnesota. Blue skies, relaxing, blue lake, relaxing, family time, relaxing, kayaking, relaxing, floating on rafts, relaxing, smores, relaxing…. Need I say more? It also brought my nephew and hundred’s more soldiers from Iowa home from Afghanistan. Thank you Jesus!! July also brought temperatures over 100 degrees and the weather reporters were trying to fry eggs on the hood of cars. I am not kidding people, it was HOT!!
In August I took a group of ladies from my church to the Women of Faith conference in Omaha Nebraska. What a weekend!!! Mandisa rocked, Amy Grant performed, Patsy Clairmont made me laugh until I cried and I got to hear Lisa Whelchel (Blair from the “Facts of Life”) speak, which was just too cool. My daughter Kayla went with us and we made a little weekend out of it. Since she got married last October we haven’t had a whole lot of me and her time, so it was so nice to have that opportunity to have her all to myself. Thankfully the Missouri River waters started to recede in August so we were able to move my in-laws back into their home this past weekend. Their home was spared of any water damage and it was a much happier experience than in May. They are slowly getting everything back in order while deciding to let go of some of their “stuff”. It is surprising how much stuff we can accumulate when we hide it away in drawers, closets and storage rooms. The aftermath of the flooding has started to make its appearance. What was once a beautiful river front is now marred by fallen trees and debris and the bike path that runs alongside the river is broken and parts of it are washed away. The mud, silt, grime and mold now reside in many of the homes. And for some, there is now the question as to whether or not they will ever be able to move back in.
So, that’s how the past 6 months marched along. With a drum roll, trumpet blast and clanging cymbals, every moment being heard, felt and cherished.
It’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.
And by the way…a little L’Oreal eye cream does wonders for “crow’s feet”. Just saying!!
One Thousand Gifts
- new friends and old friends
- water receding
- my husband
- time spent with family
- hearing the Word
- a cabin in the woods
- floating on a raft
- air conditioning
- sweet corn
- my nephew coming home