forever young

Recently, I was reminded that “youth” is all about perspective…

With teenage daughters, it’s easy for me to feel old and out of touch with the youth culture.  I often have to ask them what slang words and current sayings mean.

But as I walked through the grocery store the other day, I caught the twinkling blue eyes of a gray haired lady, leaning heavily on her shopping cart- squinting to make out my face.

“Are you Amy?” she called out to me.  She looked at me like she was trying to remember who I was.  I didn’t recall ever seeing her before.

“No, I’m sorry.  My name’s Julie.”

She said she thought she knew me from somewhere. Then, she began to tell me how she missed being able to do all the simple things I take for granted- like grocery shopping without getting out of breath,  standing up straight and walking without leaning on a cart, being able to see without straining…

She smiled as she began to move her cart past me and said this-

“You better enjoy your youth while you have it!”

A brief, but meaningful conversation- and a great reminder for me to appreciate all the little things I am able to effortlessly do at my youthful age of 42 🙂

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A gray head is a crown of glory.  

It is found in the way of righteousness- Proverbs 16:21

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adulting

My girls went back to school yesterday.

It brings me JOY.. and it also makes me a little bit sad.  I remember all those years I dreamed of having a baby, and in my own naiveté, I thought those toddler years would last forever.  But I blinked, and my girls have grown up overnight.

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We celebrated so many firsts when they were little… their first giggle, their first bite of real food, their first steps… then came their first days of school… losing their first teeth…

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And now those “firsts” are becoming fewer and farther between. With one in 7th grade, and the other in 9th grade, I had to literally beg them for a first-day-of-school picture.  Gone are the days of them running to give me hugs when they get off the school bus, or them wanting to tell me all about their day.  I feel them trying to pull away from me and it is hard.

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But this time at our back-to-school night, I witnessed another first… 

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My oldest, who normally hides behind me- afraid to speak to anyone;  she actually introduced herself to all of her teachers-  on her own! And then she even asked them important questions- like about testing and whether they accepted late work.  And for the first time, I watched her beam with confidence as she walked down the hallways, waving and smiling at her friends.

My oldest was adulting… and it was one of my proudest “mom” moments yet!  Those little girl days may be a fading memory, but growing up is a good thing!IMG_4676

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

1 Corinthians 13:11 

things aren’t always what they seem…

Like lots of middle-aged folks, I have a hard time going to sleep at night.  Now that summer is in full swing, our normal “school year” routine has flown out the window.  I have never been one to stay up late, and no matter what time I go to bed- my eyes pop open at the crack of dawn.  My hubby has always been a night owl, and our two girls have inherited this trait from him- much to my dismay!

So needless to say, it’s hard going to sleep early while the rest of the house is still awake. I have been keeping myself up ’til everyone is settled, but I still wake up around 5 am or so every morning. Imagine my surprise when I found this in Target the other day-

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ahhh….. deep sleep at last!!!!

Really?  I can get my vitamins and a special sleep potion all in one fizzy drink??  SOLD!!

I was hopeful- really hopeful, that I was going to sleep like a baby that first night. So around 9pm, I poured my glass of water and emptied one of the powdered packets into the glass.  I smelled the berry flavor as I stirred and then chugged it down.  It was actually really refreshing.  And the powder dissolved completely- another strange pet peeve I have (having powdered residue in my drinks really bothers me!)

I fell asleep really fast that night.  So fast that I didn’t even remember my head hitting the pillow.  But much to my dismay- I was awake by 1am! I was super annoyed.  This was supposed to be my sleepless cure!  I got up to use the restroom and then quickly went back to sleep.

Until I was up at 3am…you guessed it- to use the bathroom.  Again.  In fact, I used this Emergen-zzzz several nights before I realized it was actually causing me to wake up multiple times a night to use the restroom.

So whose bright idea was it to make a sleep aid that actually causes you to wake up to pee several times a night?!

I’ve laughed for days about this because I have one of the smallest bladders known to man, and also because it never crossed my mind that it might actually cause me to wake up!

I’d say a better name for this product would be Emergen-p!

When one door closes…

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I had the craziest thing happen today…

I drove my two daughters and my friend to the women’s 4 miler race this morning and I quickly parked the car.  Although it was early, we were eagerly anticipating the start of the race. As I got out of the car, I realized I didn’t have any pockets, so I carefully took the key off my key ring and I placed it safely inside my shirt.  Once everyone was out of the car and ready, I locked the doors and we got to where we needed to be.

The weather was perfect and spirits were high.  I ran over half of it, and beat my previous year’s time by more than 10 minutes!  Once we were all finished, we got some Gatorade, a  Panera bagel,  and headed back to the car.

When we reached my van,  I couldn’t believe it- my doors were unlocked!  Our purses were right in the front seats where everyone could see them, but thankfully everything was there.  I pulled out the key from my shirt, and my mouth dropped open- it wasn’t my car key- it was my house key!  How in the world had that happened?!  And not only did I have the wrong key- but somehow my van was unlocked after I had locked it.  I knew I had pressed the lock button in the van before I had closed the door before the race…

I don’t know how I had the wrong key AND left the door unlocked- but I am so, so thankful He made a way for us to get into the van AND that all of our stuff was safe and sound.  Just a little reminder that He really does work in mysterious ways!

God is good- all the time 🙂

I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close.  Revelation 3:8

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The beautiful sky this morning!

We’ve all got stories

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a GREAT story-telling spot in the Blue Ridge Mountains…

We’ve all got stories

stories that need 

telling 

but every story worth 

telling 

needs

someone who will

stop

and listen

Have you seen the movie “The Wedding Singer”?  Drew Barrymore’s character is named Julia, which I can identify with- because even though my name is Julie- my grandfather (and several other people) have always called me Julia!  Well, my husband likes to joke that I’m the “funeral singer”.  I have sung at many funerals and while it may sound strange, it has been one of the greatest blessings to be able to minister to families in this unique way. 

I sang at a recent service, and when it was over, I gave my condolences to the family members. It was drizzly outside, and so I began to head up the hill to where my car was parked. I had several things to get done that afternoon and I was mentally going over my to-do list. I noticed an older gentlemen standing tall, nicely dressed, looking out over the cemetery. I felt the Lord nudge me to go talk to him.  I walked up to him and stuck out my hand and introduced myself. He gave me the biggest smile and began talking about his family and sharing all sorts of stories about them. He was close to 80 years old, and his memory was impeccable.

As I stood there, the Lord impressed upon me how important it was for this gentleman to have my time-my full attention– and just how much he needed his story to be heard. Nothing I had to do was as important as giving this gentleman my listening ear in that moment. 

He shared many stories, and at one point, I wondered if the stories would ever converge. After a few minutes, he told me that God has always been so good to him and that God’s grace had followed him all the days of his life, even before he was born- even in uniting his parents.  As he continued to talk, I thought about how special it is to hear these stories and to realize that this complete stranger suddenly seemed like part of my “family”.  And in that moment, I realized that we were “family”- both having the same Heavenly Father.

God reminded me that as a minister, being present and listening to others is one of the most valuable things we can do, and how sometimes He asks me to not say a word

to just listen and shine His light. 

My Christian brothers, you know everyone should listen much and speak little.  

James 1:19