Summer has kicked off with sizzling 100+ temperatures. When asked what my plans are for the summer, my first thought is enjoy the A/C!!! This is the first summer since childhood that I get to enjoy adequate cooling for my house. I am SOOO enjoying my new home--for many other reasons than just the A/C. But I have to admit, the A/C makes the summer heat stretching before us much less intimidating!...
My summer is filled primarily with writing and helping to organize our annual Stop the Violence event. My work doesn't really seem like "work" in that dreaded sense--I'm looking forward to every moment! Writing is cathartic for me and helps me to face and think through the issues of life that I would otherwise avoid. And though I sometimes struggle through the process, I am changed by it.
"Stop the Violence" is so much more than just an event for me. It's inhabits hope, possibility, and healing for myself and for so many others. I love seeing the entire community and even beyond--individuals, businesses, churches, and non-profit organizations--come together to take a stand against violence. I love hearing the stories and meeting people who are overcoming the paralyzing and traumatic effects of violence and witnessing their growth and healing. And if I ever wonder if we are spitting against the wind in this effort, I meet one after another of those inspiring people who move from being victims to being survivors but don't stop there. They march that next mile as they turn their tragic past circumstances around by stepping up and speaking out to end violence and to make a difference for themselves, for others, and even for future generations. That's the greatest reward in letting my work be my passion.
Although these two great passions consume much of my summer, I still plan on taking time to rejuvenate and take life with joy. It's odd that what I look forward to the most is watching my children stretch their wings and fly...even though it means they get further and further from my nest. I will watch with anticipation as my daughter blossoms in her pregnancy--I am excited and overjoyed at becoming a G-MOM!!! As this little one grows inside her, I can also see Brittany making a life with the man that I know God placed in her life at just the right moment to step in shoes left vacant too soon as they turn the page and begin this next chapter of life. Her dad would have no reservations placing the reins in Larry's hands. Brittany is growing from the inside out--heart-wise, not just belly-wise!
Andy and Megan are already busy making their March wedding plans (what a wedding that will be!) But even more exciting, they are making their life plans. Andy will be seeking a teaching position in the Waco area as Megan prepares for law school. Although a part of me dreads seeing him leave, my heart knows that Andy has been preparing for this next chapter of his life for a very long time. I can't wait to see what God will do in him and through him.
Mikey and Kaci are already beginning to make his childhood home their very own. And I look forward to the changes and growth that will take place in the process. Their new chapter reads like a faithful novel of endurance. Zachary will be coming to Texas to visit and making plans for life outside the Marines next fall. I love to hear his excitement as he anticipates this brand new chapter with all it's challenges and expectations. And finally, though I won't see him, I look forward to those rare precious phonecalls and facebook messages from Elias as he lives his present purpose in Afghanistan. I love watching the man he is becoming.
But life isn't all about being just a spectator. As my children make their own lives, I have to make mine as well. To be more comfortable in my own skin and enjoy life as it is rather than wish for what I think it should be or regret what it hasn't been. And I can't just be so busy that life just passes by without my noticing. I have to be actively involved in my "today" and be content in it. So I already have several gallons and colors of paint waiting to brighten my life as I make my home my own and more personal. In the process, I am going to try my hand at some Chinese painting techniques--with a couple of my own unique touches of course. I also want to take some time away from the "norm"--somewhere out of my element. I'm not quite certain how or where but I want to to be wowed by life and nature and God in extraordinary ways...
The summer stretches before us. Colors of love, laughter, contentment, creativity, rejuvenation, expectation, and "neverbefores"--seeing the magnificence of life and being touched by it.... All in a single summer! It's gonna be great!