-We went on a 15-day road trip to various places in GA and NC! I could never even list all the beautifully sweet moments that occurred on this trip. For example, it was incredible watching my 3-year-old girl truly push herself while hiking in the Smokies...at the beginning she was asking me to carry her, but half a mile later she was taking the more difficult paths and confidently announcing "I can do it! I can do it!" But I'll write about this trip more at length later. It was seriously awesome.
-While the kids napped in the truck while we were driving, Peter and I sang along to Relient K and we both impressed ourselves and each other with our stellar recollection of the lyrics. (By the way, Matt Thiessen is brilliant.) Little bonding moments like those are super precious.
-Our community group is so big that it's "birthing" into two. This is a huge moment for me because when we first joined our church, Peter and I were the only people who lived east of Tampa. Now there are 22 of us (plus a gajillion kids)! God is building His church and has provided so much community for us even in our suburban town. I feel really cared for by Him about that.
-I took the kids to the Compassion Experience when it came into town (it's free) and it was so eye-opening and well-done! How small our problems seem when we step into the lives of other children who are suffering terribly around the world and really need to hear about the love of Christ.
-Oh, and check out these adorable pictures of my kids doing yoga! Working out is really hard to find time for when you're a mom, so I've been trying to just invite the little people to join me! They either take it seriously or they have to go down for a nap sooner ;)
What I Learned:
-You can make pizza dough out of Greek yogurt and self-rising flour! Ahh! It's so yummy!
-I learned how destructive my pride is. I trust my own thoughts way too much. I tend to get into Mental Courtroom Mode and justify my perfect little self while smashing down everyone else. And how helpful is it when I let my mind wander as such? I can compare its benefits to that of guzzling down poison. Prideful, judgmental, or self-pitying thoughts are so damaging to myself and others. So, praaaaaise God that I have truth! I love feeling chased by God through His Word. The reality of Jesus rising from the dead, victorious over sin and death, is one of those truths that hits me in the face with its potency every once in awhile.
-While spending lots of time in nature I thought much about why in the world God would create such beautiful diversity. From an atheistic/evolutionary mindset I just don't see why beauty would need to exist. Most of our traveling was within one state, but we still experienced a diverse range of plants, animals, geology...we went from a canyon to mountains to a gorge to waterfalls to an absolutely enormous rock. As I was hiking a mountain on some of my extended family's private property, I saw some gorgeous flowers and was amazed that, since only a few family members have even completed this hike, these flowers would live and die without anyone ever noticing them. So why oh why is there so much uncelebrated beauty in the world? Psalm 104 gives us some answers. The Lord rejoices in His works! He delights in what He has made, even when no one else notices it. He's overflowing with creativity and grace and beauty and love!
-We'll start with a seriously sad but also encouraging article from a very surprising source: Sports Illustrated. This longform piece on widower Monty Williams (who I honestly had never heard of before reading this) will most likely make you cry.
-I became a fan of Sean Carter's raw and richly-lyrical music after I saw this video of his Easter-themed "Passion Song." I also adore his rendition of the hymn My Lord I Did Not Choose You called "All Glory to You."
-A couple months ago I finally caved and gave Amazon forty-nine of my dollars in exchange for an Echo Dot. When I first found out about the Echo, I thought it was a worthless gadget for the hopelessly lazy. Well. Yet again I was humbled. The main feature I utilize is simply the fact that it plays music! I'll be cleaning raw chicken juice from my kitchen counter and say "Echo, please play classical music!" and then BOOM! Vivaldi or Yo-Yo Ma starts blasting and I become productive like a fiend.
-I discovered a YouTube channel that points out Easter eggs/hidden trivia in movies and it's shocking! Disney especially is so sneaky and intentional! If you like Disney/Pixar movies you'll want to check out Crazy Nate's obsessively researched videos.
-Andrew Peterson's Holy Week Sonnets were really beautiful to read. Also, I'm just about finished with The Molehill, Vol. 4, a collection of poems, short stories, nonfiction pieces, and more, which is basically written by Andrew Peterson and his friends. My mom and I buy and devour every volume of The Molehill because they're so well-written and always packed with deliciously quirky, entertaining, and thought-provoking material. Love it.
One of the most challenging parts of visiting Georgia is that I don't want to leave. My family and I are outdoorsy and we desperately wish that we could have access to better state parks or simply more desirable nature in general. (Floridian winter, of course, is lovely, but those many long months of summer brutally stifle my love for being outside. Also, the leaves never change colors, and hiking simply does not and cannot exist in Florida.) So I sat in a laundromat in the mountains and I was just feeling bummed about coming home. Plus there are deeper and more serious issues that made me feel pretty discontent with my life. I felt like if all these things changed---at the very least if we moved to Georgia---I would have such a happier life. If only, if only.
Then I was blown away by a verse I wasn't expecting: John 17:3. Jesus was praying to the Father and said "And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." If my goal is "the good life" then I'm cutting myself short. Jesus actually offers eternal life. And that starts now, by knowing Him. Though I long for good things, they are not promised to always be available to me. But the best thing is available to me, and even my brothers and sisters who are being tortured in prison have access to it: eternal life, knowing Jesus.
Stuff I Wrote:
Things I Love About Stephen, Year 5
On Being Twenty-Five
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My name is Hope.
I'm 26, married to a former skater dude, and raising little people ages 6, 4, 3, and squishy-baby. I like lime green and sarsaparilla, and I wear my Crocs until they melt. (Florida problems.)
Quick links to some of my posts:
Articles I've Written on Other Sites:
Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today