Category Archives: Vacation

Celebrate Their Sacrifice

The wind whipped my hair

as well as the dog hair

that was stuck to my swim suit

Water (or maybe dog drool)

sprayed on my face

as the speed boat raced across the waves

As I pet the dog

and looked out on the blue horizon

I thought, “This is life”

***

We celebrate the day

that initiated a five year war

and cost hundreds of lives

with fireworks and parties and hamburgers

with speed boats and late nights and music

because we are honoring the men and women

who fought for our freedom

by enjoying our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness

We do not only mourn their deaths

but we honor and celebrate their sacrifice

because freedom should be something to sing and dance about

freedom should be celebrated with family and friends

Along with the flag,

our symbols of freedom should be

smiling faces and satisfied hearts

because I am proud to be an American

sunset-flag-america-fields

Brushing My Teeth

I love to brush my teeth for a long time

I mean, a long time

because that means

I have time

to brush my teeth for a long time

I have time

waste spend on simple things joys

I can think

I can daydream

I can move slowly

I can pet my dog

I can look around

I can read the Bible verses on my dresser

I love to brush my teeth for a long time

and I love to have time

brushing teeth

Flicker/mahmoud99725

Lessons From a High Ropes Course

Yes, I will be following the trend of writing a blog post after completing a high ropes course. And yes, I will be following the trend of telling you that I learned more life lessons than physical strain or balance. So, let’s get rolling with all that motivational writing and inspiring speeches! 😉

First, like many other bloggers, I figured out why I am a blogger and not a monkey.

I got stuck two or three stories up in the air and called out for my mommy.

Well, let’s begin at the beginning first though. I was born at Genesys Hospital  . . . Okay maybe not that far beginning. 😉

I went to high ropes course with my sister and my cousin. I had already completed three lower level course, I was feeling pretty bold so I went for the challenge.

I got challenged alright.

I was half way across the obstacle when I figured out that I was stuck and was getting tangled in ropes. I also knew that I couldn’t go backwards, so the only way was to go forwards. First motivational/inspiring/life lesson: when you feel tangled in life or just want to go back to better yesterdays, the only thing you can do is keep moving forward. You can’t live life looking in the rear view mirror. Neither can you live life looking backwards on a high ropes course. Instead of looking back at a haunted past or better memories, use those to fuel you in your journey forwards. Instead of looking how far you have to go on the high ropes course, look at how far you have come.

So I untangled myself and felt quite pleased that I had thought about that life lesson. I took a few steps . . . and fell off the rope.

Don’t worry, I didn’t fall three stories, I had a harness on.

That harness was actually still caught on the rope. Just enough for me not want to get it off the rope and just enough for me to wish it hadn’t been caught. With the harness caught I couldn’t wouldn’t move because it was an extra safety. So I did the only logical thing to do, I called out for my mommy on the ground below.

Oh, and did I mention that my hat had fallen off, my hair was all in my eyes and my glasses barely stayed on my face? So I put my glasses in my pocket, and without them I can’t see five feet in front of my face. Well that is if I could see at all because of my hair. Oh what a pretty sight I must have been.

Second motivational/inspiring/life lesson: do what the Bible says. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we live by faith, not by sight”. I took a deep breath and just closed my eyes, tried to find a way to get myself back onto the course.

Third motivational/inspiring/life lesson: God is like a high ropes course harness. God is always hanging on to us as we navigate the obstacles of life and will keep us from falling when we make a wrong step. It is okay if we make some mistakes because we know God has our back.

Fourth motivational/inspiring/life lesson: to move forward you have to trust God and sometimes that means letting go of what little control you have. To move forward on the course I had to let the harness slip off of the rope. I trusted my harness and it didn’t let me down.

So I finally made it through that obstacle, only to watch my cousin zip through what I had struggled so hard on.

She’s a monkey, not a blogger.

Of course all of this happened a year ago. Don’t be silly, I wouldn’t showcase my masterful failure days after it happened, I need time to lick my wounds! 😉 Fifth motivational/inspiring/life lesson: it is okay to admit mistakes and problems to others. 2 Corinthians 1:4 says, “[Jesus] who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” Admitting troubles can be an outreach tool.

A couple weeks ago I went back to that same high ropes course and tried that same obstacle. I don’t know if I deserve that old saying though, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”.

I watched others complete the obstacle and analyzed what worked and why. I then compared what I learned with what I did wrong last time. Sixth motivational/inspiring/life lesson: self-analysis works. ‘Nuff said.

I completed with course not in record time, but I did complete the course. I had three secret weapons though: past experience, watching and learning from others, and I prayed the whole time. Knowledge is power, but God is all powerful, so I’d rather take God over knowledge.

Seventh motivational/inspiring/life lesson: God cares about and listens to even our little problems. Prayers don’t have to be all about world peace and finding the cure to cancer, prayers can be about everyday things or even about high ropes courses.

Eight motivational/inspiring/life lesson: facing old struggles with God can be empowering. You not only feel accomplished but also good because you relied on God.

Once I finished the course my mom’s first words out of her mouth were, “So when are you going to write a blog post about the high ropes course?”

Yep, I’m a blogger, not a monkey, but more importantly I’m a Christian. Thank you God for being my harness.

high-ropes-course-58665_960_720

Pixabay/user:Hans

Does No Justice

There is no way to describe

the lapping, crashing stormy waves

The height of the waves

do no justice

Pictures and videos and all that “technological advancement”

do no justice

The touch of another’s skin after being in the waves

do no justice

There is no way to describe

the lapping, crashing stormy waves

To describe the waves as a rolling pin over my back as dough

does no justice

To describe the waves as a chest bump from a quarterback

does no justice

To describe the waves as powerful as the lost of gravity

twisting,

and turning,

and pulling,

does no justice

To describe the waves as walking through waist deep snow

does no justice

To describe the waves as a million chiropractors all working their magic

does no justice

To describe the waves as a sand storm because of all the debris it contains

does no justice

To describe the waves as shouts from a mass of teenage girls at a Taylor Swift concert

does no justice

To describe the waves as a drink of water after a long, hot, hard day’s work

does no justice

To describe the waves as a roller coaster after the long wait in line

does no justice

Sometimes,

the best things in life

can’t be explained

they can only be experienced.

You can tell me all you want about

rolling pins

and quarterbacks

and chiropractors

but I still wouldn’t know a darn thing about the waves.

Maybe it’s better that way

for words not being able to

quantify

and classify

and categorize

and generalize

these special things such as

the lapping, crashing stormy waves.

One thing that I can tell you about the waves

is that I had a lovely time playing in them.

ocean-918999_960_720

Pixabay/user:Unsplash

Stopped Counting

Time  . . .

My inner clock doesn’t seem to match up

with the world’s clock

anymore.

It’s not off just by a few seconds

or minutes

but as if my inner clock

has stopped counting altogether.

Quantifying and calculating life is

so foreign?

I completely don’t know how I was able to

live, breath, love

by the rules of

1 tic

2 toc

3 tic

4 toc

echoes the old grandfather clock.

Somehow,

now,

I am not content to live between the pendulum swings.

I don’t want my life to be counted and measured

by this alien number system that says it is 11:17 AM

Tic

toc

tic

toc

the mouse ran up the clock.

clock-419250_960_720

Pixabay/user:stux

No Earthly Power

It is more powerful than Pharoah’s soldiers

It is more powerful than the false god worship of Baal

It is more powerful than the Roman’s aqueducts

It is more powerful than European conquests’ vessels

It is more powerful than the Hover Dam

It is more powerful than anything in or yet to be in the universe

1 Hydrogen

and 2 Oxygen

produces

water and life as we know it.

I learned about elements and the Periodic Table in Chemistry,

but this. . .

This was something new entirely,

this is power unlike anything I have ever seen felt before.

With the raging roar vibrating in my ears and to my very core,

I think know no earthly power could create such a monstrous force,

no matter what the scientists say.

No earthly power,

my God’s power.

He, and he alone,

created the molecules to forge such a force.

But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being.

Romans 1:20 (MSG)

 

IMG_20160624_184503612_HDR

Niagara Falls on a recent vacation

 

 

Uncle Jerry’s

 

Slushy, slushy snow sticks to my black dress boots

I walk in the footprints of the persons who have arrived before me

Little elementary boys running ahead of mothers carrying casseroles.

Puffy coats bundle up elderly ladies shuffle in from the cold

Christmas pins and red and green sweaters are like tickets to enter

The soft glow of lamps and Christmas tree lights reflect out onto the shoveled snow

I stomp off the cold fairy dust of winter onto the rugs and shrug off my coat

I drop off my coat to the jacket day care on one of the many wooden furniture made with love and care

Already hearing the laughing bellowing out from the basement

A smile adorns my face as I take the steep steps slowly down

Hugs and ‘look at how have you grown’ are pasted around

Packed together like Santa’s elves in the workshop in mid December we gather

Sisters, cousins, nieces chit chat in their respected corners

Brothers, uncles, nephews are heard hearty laughing

Kids are running around and jumping on the spare bed

Another family enters and everyone calls out again in various ‘how you’ve been?’

The host of tonight’s festivities gives a great whistle and asks one of the men to lead us in prayer

Heads bow and we breath as one focusing on the prayer that is quietly spoken into the big, big room

‘Amen.’

A call out to relatives who are elderly or with small children to go first

A line soon begins to form and snakes through the spare bedroom and out into the open room with boisterous conversations with their neighbor

My family is not a quiet family

I tag along with my Grandma and ask what is good to eat

My plate full I find a place to squeeze into a seat at the table to listen to the hilarious stories to be shared

Famous casseroles and pies melt in my tummy

Chuckles and jolly fun echos across the walls

It feels like the house is going to explode from how much love and cheer is packed into this home

My sister and I get a tap on the shoulder just like we knew we would every year at this time

My great uncle asks us to pass out the gourmet chocolates he buys for each family

A box of wrapped chocolate is past out with a smile and ‘thank you’ in return

The minute hand on the clock above the doorway seems to spin by too fast

Another tradition is soon to follow as another whistle is let out

Children and parents circle around a closet with a sheet across it

A fishing pole is handed over with a clamp on where the hook is suppose to be

The time old tradition of ‘fishing’ for presents on Christmas Eve at my great uncle Jerry’s

Toddlers are first and their mothers have to help them ‘reel it in’

They tear off the Christmas wrapping paper and find match-box cars or dolls

The ages creep up to the oldest which me and my sister and few cousins are of

Uncle Jerry asks who is next and his wife says and he answers back ‘She’s still doing this?’ and with a laugh ‘You can still get presents ’til you have kids.’

To me it’s more about the tradition and the memories than getting the present

I go out and show my grandparents what I got and talk for a little bit

Then comes my favorite part

This is what makes Christmas Eve my favorite holiday

This is what makes Christmas, Christmas

Another whistle is rung out and the voices become quiet after the dull roar it was a few moments ago

I lay in my mother’s lap on the floor next to my grandma’s chair

And my grandma begins to read

She reads why we are all gathered here

She reads why we are all saved

She reads why we are all so sure in the future

She reads what her father and mother instilled in their seven children

She reads the Bible

She reads Luke chapter two

She reads of a child’s birth that is unlike any other

And for those few minutes she becomes more than my grandma reading verses that we all know

She becomes someone who is leading by example of my Lord and savior’s thoughts of a Christian

Tears fill my eyes

Just soft quiet tears

I don’t brush them away because I know everyone else has them

And as the story finishes for the night, there is a moment of silence hushed over the families

Then the next part of the tradition begins,

My uncle begins to say, ‘This book has been in our family for a hundred years. It is torn and tattered, but the words still remain the same. This book was given to my father in 1915.’

And my great uncle begins to read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’

Even if I was to read it now, I would still hear his voice reading it to me

‘Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.’

And all the relatives who remember the recently passed away lively Aunt, in her honor act like they are ‘throwing up’ the sash

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Soon families begin to leave because the readings of the old, old books are what makes Christmas, Christmas and now are on to the other side of the family’s relatives

My family and I included

After good-byes and setting up the next monthly get-to-together we grab our dish to pass and hike up the steep stairs once more

I put back on my boots that now are in a puddle of melted fairy dust, snow

Wind rushes in, chilling the warm mud room as I open the door

I walk in the footsteps of persons who have gone out before

Slushy, slushy snow sticks to my black dress boots

I quietly say to myself, “This is what makes Christmas, Christmas.”

 

 

Grandpa Bedel 1

Picture of my Great Grandpa before I was born who used to be the host of the gathering!