A letter

Archive for July, 2015|Monthly archive page

The Getting back up: Staying the course.

In New York Summer on July 29, 2015 at 4:24 pm

I seem to be circling the mountain of a wintery soul, and I am SO ready for spring. It’s odd to be in the blazes of summer and be struggling with a wintery soul. It’s also odd to experience a winter season that has lasted so long. We’ve never known a winter to last forever, but still have no immediate promise of its end. I keep telling myself that our spring MUST be around the corner. Winters don’t last forever, they just don’t. This is yet another week where leaning has been my habit–a tired, full-body-lean in to the person of Jesus who is our Rock. Thank God for Jesus.

I have been thinking a lot about endurance this week. People throw that word around a lot, right?  But what does “running the race with endurance” even mean? Is it the ability to last long? Does endurance mean running well? Does it require beating everyone else? Does it mean I feel like a champion at all times? Does it mean that I feel like running? Does it mean that I run with full speed at all times? What is this endurance I’m supposed to run with? I decided to look it up and was surprised that it was far different than what I imagined:

Steadfastness, constancy, patient continuance, a patient enduring, steadfast waiting for

It also said it is the characteristic of a man unswerved from his deliberate purpose and loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings. If all that is true, It’s staying the course that counts. It’s the continuing that counts. It’s the patient waiting that counts. It’s not how many times I’ve fallen, but that I get back up again and again and keep going.

Most days my run is very slow. It’s often a slow methodical walk. Some days it’s standing still and simply not exiting the track. And, if I’m really honest, some days it’s sitting down in the track through tears until I have the strength to rise again. Thankfully it didn’t say anything about being a super hero to fit the bill of endurance. It just said to keep going!

Cheering you on, friend,

Bep


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When the grass looks greener.

In New York Summer on July 22, 2015 at 10:46 pm



The boys are at the neighbors and I have a few minutes of quiet on this gorgeous day. It’s been quite a week, as you know. Not sure I’ve ever felt this helpless. It’s been a leaning week—leaning on the faithfulness of Jesus. I guess there isn’t a better spot to be, but it is certainly not the most comfortable. Thankfully God doesn’t always give us what we want. He always gives us better. Our better came in the form of dinner guests. And, let me just say, it was FAR better than the comfort I craved.

We had met this incredible (my-parents-aged) couple a few months back, and after weeks of crazy schedules, we finally found a night to do dinner. This couple moved here about a year ago after acquiring the largest parking garage company in NYC—no small feat, incase you were wondering. To say he is business savvy would be a gross understatement. We told them our story of getting to NY and the insane highs and lows of the last year. He smiled saying he could tell us twenty stories just like the ones we told. He said he’d just tell us one, but we’re so glad he didn’t stop there. He was speaking our language. For several hours he shared story after story of risking all, and sometimes loosing all, only to climb again. They had watched bank accounts dwindle just like we have. They had parallel stories of being down to the wire only to see God come through in miraculous way—except on a much larger scale. They sat across from us beaming, unscathed from the journey, full of faith, cheering us on. He happens to be a professional mountain climber, and has climbed some of the highest mountains in the world. He said when you are close to the peak, you often can’t see it. Sometimes people turn back when they are so close. He told us we just have to be willing to take one step, then one step more.

I lay in bed last night thinking about what I told David earlier this week—that I just wished things were easier. I’d been thinking about how nice it would be to have a steady income and a stable life. I was craving a life with less pressure. But, laying in bed last night I realized I don’t want to live on that side of the fence—that grass isn’t greener for us there. We would be craving adventure, begging God for something more. We would be stagnant—dying inside. We would be laying in bed wishing there was more, not less. Sometimes what we need is courage, not change. I’ve thought I wanted change of scenery, for things to be different. I’ve been wrong. I want to be right where we are, climbing this mountain. I’ve just needed courage to keep climbing. I’ve needed to realize the grass is greenest where he’s led us—right here.

Love you friend,

Bep


Explosions in the mountains.

In New York Summer on July 15, 2015 at 10:22 am



I’ve been dying to tell  you what we found last weekend. It was the wildflower of wildflowers! It’s the type of event you see on a movie that never happens in real life. I’m not sure what was more refreshing, the fact that things like this actually exist, or the wonder of the event itself. I’m taking you next year. Period.

On our drive up, we stopped in at my favorite shop like always. David is a most gracious husband. As you know, this shop is a watering can for my soul. I LOVE it. I always leave inspired to rearrange, re-purpose, dust, and make my everyday spaces more enjoyable. This is also the shop that introduced me to the word’s best soap, for which I am forever grateful. It smells like heaven and has salt in it. What could be better? Anyhow, I expected to leave with my usual dose of inspiration and soap, but nothing more. I was wrong. While checking out, the shop owner happened to tell me about a private fireworks show hosted by an art critic and poet. Some fifteen hundred to two thousand people—mainly from the city—find their way there parking all along this mountain highway in this sleepy town. No one really knows the address, but once you see the cars, he said we’d find our way. And, just as he said, we did.

I’m so glad—despite my flat emotional state—that we decided to hunt for this treasure. Lately, feeling the burn of the climb, it seems the only way to keep going is to put our heads down and put one foot in front of the other. The only problem with putting our heads down is we often miss the wildflowers along the way. I’m so glad we didn’t miss this one.

We arrived at dusk and saw clusters of people on foot venturing towards what they hoped to find. I felt giddy. After parking and walking a bit we found our way too. The fence was tastefully decorated with patriotic drapery and a few tiki torches gently lit the way. We could hear excited chatter all around. A man on the porch just behind us gave a loud greeting and began singing the Star Spangled Banner. Soon, everyone was singing and we watched small lanterns descend into sky. The experience was magical already. Then, it began and it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The explosions came one after another with fury. They were almost too close for comfort, but in a thrilling sort of way. They were literally in-your-face. I swear we could have reached up and touched them. Several time we felt debris flicking our faces. I was both terrified and delighted. I couldn’t stop smiling. I think I must have squeezed David’s arm a hundred times while watching. Mols would have been proud. Even the ebb and flow of the crowds response was beautiful. When it finally was over, we didn’t move. We just sat for a while in awe. I didn’t want it to end.

I’m going to keep my eyes open. Wildflowers seem to be good at hiding, or maybe I’m not good at noticing them. Maybe its because they grow in unexpected places. I know one thing for sure, they are all around, and I don’t want to miss them.

Love you friend!

Bep

      

Uphill climb and Lemonade.

In New York Summer on July 2, 2015 at 6:42 pm

Well, after months of planning, we—and I do mean we—opened Vacation Lemonade. I can tell you one thing, this manager is tired. I wasn’t quite prepared for the level of involvement required of me for this stand. I envisioned sitting shaded in a lawn chair, drinking lemonade and reading while they seamlessly ran the stand, unassisted. Instead, I found myself stooped over at their side, coaching every move and helping in every way imaginable. I guess they are only four and six.

Leon wants to be open daily, and after earning a whopping thirty-eight dollars on day one, I understand why. He told me yesterday he is going door to door to get “costomers”. It seems we have an Uncle Bub on our hands. He will shout down any human looking creature in sight, trying to get a sale. He asks solo customers if they would like one cup or two cups and tells them he’ll see them tomorrow. He’s an absolute riot. Sol decided to start selling toys they don’t need as well. I’m not sure how they did it, but they convinced a Rocky-like, college-aged pedestrian to take an unwanted football guy, for free. He seemed very unfamiliar in the realm of children and said he would put it on his desk. He kept saying, “Are you sure you don’t want it anymore?” I was holding back uproarious laughter. One thing is certain, besides making money, we are making memories. What more could I want?

Through this process of running the lemonade stand the kids are learning amazing lessons. Leon is learning that making money takes time and hard work. He’s realizing it will take days of work to get his desired Air Jordans. By the end of day two they each had thirty-four dollars. He requested I search eBay for Air Jordans for thirty-four bucks. He said he wanted to know what Jordans he could get NOW. Funny thing is, in watching them, I see many parallels in my own life. I wish we were there right now.

I’ve been weary this week. I’ve been tired. I’ve been short on the patience required in life, especially in this season. I’ve questioned whether I have what it takes to climb this mountain. I want to be out of debt today. I want to arrive at our goals today. But just like the boy’s lemonade stand, our adult version takes time. Unfortunately, and fortunately, our goal is far bigger than a pair of Jordans, but that means it will take more than a few days.

We stumbled across an old gospel song last night and it couldn’t have been more perfect. You might already know it. She sang it well, and now we are too: “Lord don’t move that mountain, but give me the strength to climb.” This is where I am at today: I’m needing strength to climb. The beautiful thing is, He always gives us strength to climb. So we know we’ll be okay. Both you and I.

Love you friend.

Bep

    

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