Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Stranger in the Mirror

Y'all, it's Sarah Beth.

I think. (All I know is that my license does not say "Courtney" on it).

Sorry it's been a while since we've posted. Courtney has been awesome and busy and saving babies' lives and stuff.

I've been doing various things (including plugging away at my novel. We'll see what comes of it.)

One of the things I did today was cut all my hair off and dye it blonde (but it looks strawberry blonde in the pics). Because I'm totally vain and annoying, here are two pictures for you:

Mug shot! 

Y'all. I am such a dork. But look! No hair.

What's sad is that I have a million other things that I could be doing and normal people update this stuff on their facebooks. But not me. No, because I am not normal.

In other words, summer is here and despite the fact that I'm no friend of heat, the fireflies have arrived. As have thunderstorms.

Walking down Main Street in our one-stoplight town last night was ethereal. The air was cooler but sticky. The air clung to your skin, thick and wet and you could almost feel it swishing in your mouth and squishing in your lungs as you breathed. In the distance, lightning flickered in storms receding. In the tall grass, the yellow light of fireflies winked magic in the night. The leaves whispered in the faint, warm breeze that was taking the thunderstorm farther away. The wet pavement squished beneath my sneakers.

And out there in the air at night in summer made me feel like I did when I was a kid. It was as if the world whispered of times gone by, of days and nights when all there was was the air and fireflies and the breathing in and out of summer grass. It reminded me that sometimes you just need to stop and remember that the world isn't bills and fear and responsibility. Even when we grow up, we can still look around and see the fairytale. Magic is latent in life. Sometimes all we have to do is call it forward.

Sometimes all it takes is to wander to feel found.

Friday, May 30, 2014

{Five Minute Friday} Nothing

Every Friday, over at LisaJoBaker.com, she posts a prompt. The idea is to write for five minutes, unscripted, unedited, real. Then post it. Then, on Twitter and on her blog, all participants gather together and share what we wrote. We encourage each other.

Today's post was admittedly a little dark for me. I've just been weighed down in my life lately by all of the hurt in the world. There's a lot. This isn't necessarily addressed to anyone in particular, but rather a conglomerate of what I feel when people dear to me are hurting. Sorry if it's a little dark for a Friday morning. This is just what's on my heart.


There is nothing that I can do for you.

Feeling helpless often frustrates us to no end. What can I do to ease your suffering, your pain, erase past hurts and heal raw wounds? What can I say, what can I do?

Often it feels like nothing.

My hands are empty and usually the best that I can do is offer a hug, a heart aching in sympathy with yours, heavy beats thudding in empathy, feeling your pain.

Is that enough? Is my fellow hurting alongside your suffering helping you at all?

I suppose that the Christian in me says that I can bring our brokenness to God, that I can ask Him to prop you up and hold you but I feel as if there ought to be more that I can do.

But how can hands reach across hundreds of miles when bank accounts scrape bottom?

Meals help but they are only Band-aids; they fill the body but not the soul. They don't assauge the pains that you're going through; they don't fill the gaping hole left by loved ones lost, by innocence lost or memories and what can I do but offer you my empty hands and my empty heart and try to love you in my imperfect way?

What can I do when I myself am teetering on the edge, when my heart is already so full of all the pain that is in the world?

You come to me with your hurts and your pains, all of you, with your loneliness and your past and I am powerless to offer anything more than empathy, than a heart aching with you and all the hurt in the world.

But what, ultimately, can I do to help you?



Have a good weekend.

Carry on,

Friday, May 23, 2014

Opening a door-just open it!

It seems like there is so much buzz on blogs, in classrooms, in conversation, and in the news about the way people desire to be treated.

There is intense debate concerning gender roles - should doors be opened and seats given up? Should a certain race dominate a workforce or educational category?

People cry out to be treated with respect regardless of the color of their skin, their religion, and other differences and beliefs that often seem to separate us as individuals.

Honestly, this ongoing controversy becomes wearisome to me. In the pursuit of “equal” treatment I find that the searching group from whatever perspective often becomes abrasive to the opposing side, disrupting unity, and even disrespecting those in opposition - and doesn't this destroy the original mission?

I find that most people desire to be treated with respect and to courtesy and at the end of the day be understood.

Instead of focusing on whether or not a door “should” be opened for a woman or whether or not a certain race seems to dominate a career field or workforce, perhaps we should focus more on respecting and serving others around us - regardless of the external factors - because they are a person.

Perhaps less emphasis in our spheres of influence and our culture should be placed on analyzing other’s external appearances and more on their circumstances.

For me, this can be hard and can involve overriding “natural," instinctive behavior.

Think of a person that causes your posture to instantly improve, your words to be thought of more closely, and your focus narrowed more to their presence and less on the buzz of your cell phone and the list of the things you want to accomplish before the day is over.

I find that it's often second nature for me to respond to certain individuals who hold something I respond to, someone close to me or something that signifies a certain career or shared belief. But when I really get to the heart of it, I have respect for others because they are people.

I desire to show interest, courtesy, and respect to all others as this second nature response.

Older person, younger person, a person who seems prestigious, a person who doesn't seem to have much clout, a person who might have differing views, it doesn't matter who - just open the door.

Friday, April 25, 2014

{Five Minute Friday} Friend

This is to the forever friends and the coffee shop friends. This is for the ones who gave me a place to land as I roamed through your lives.

 This is to the ones who stayed up with me all hours of the night.

This is to the ones who loved me.

This is the ones who opened up their hearts and homes to me.

This is to the ones who talked with me about Jesus, doubts, fears, and insecurities, with that raw vulnerability that few give.

This is to the ones who don't talk regularly anymore.

This is to the ones who came up with codes and wrote letters to be deciphered.

This is to the ones who saw a lonely heart and gave love and a place to land.

Thank you.

Thank you to all who were my friend, for brief times or long times, for ones who are just beginning, I see and remember those kindnesses. The ones who listen. The ones who share. The ones who come to me with their problems.

Friends double joy. They take some of the pain. They cry with you over chocolate and aching feet and aching hearts.

This is the love song to the friends.

The ones that have faded in my rear view mirror, but remain close to my heart.

To the ones who pursued even over distance, time, and space.

Friends are irreplaceable and vital to a full human existence. They see you, they welcome you, they help you when you are alone and you maybe just need someone to talk with.

Being a friend is one of the greatest callings and best investments we can make in our lives.

Because in being a friend, you invest that most precious of commodities: time.

You see a person, and you give them your irreplaceable, limited time. Even just an hour. It's a gift. And it's precious.

So to all those who have given me that gift, that open clock, those moments shared, I thank you.

Monday, April 21, 2014

{Monday Morsels} Spring Peanut Butter & Strawberry Smoothie

Spring is here!

Hopefully to stay.

If you're like me, warmer weather makes you want cooler, lighter food. Smoothies are awesome - I normally eat one for breakfast or lunch.

So what about a healthy, sweet springtime smoothie? Strawberries are (maybe?) in season so this probably tastes best with fresh strawberries. But frozen strawberries work as well (if you use frozen, you can use less ice cubes).

1/2 c strawberries
3 T peanut butter
1 banana
1 Tbs honey
pinch of salt
1/4 c milk/water
3 or 4 ice cubes.

Blend 'er up! ;)

Monday, March 31, 2014

{Monday Morsels} A Circle of Quiet and Squishy Kid Lit

"If it's not good enough for adults, it's not good enough for children. If a book that is going to be marketed for children does not interest me, a grownup, then I am dishonoring the children for whom the book is intended, and I am dishonoring books. And words.” 

Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet

I've been reading a Circle of Quiet and I am in awe. This is a book to be read three, four times with a pen and a notebook because though small, it is packed tight with lovely insights and a unique view of the world. 

From Amazon.com.
This book has a permanent place
on my bedside now.

Madeleine gets me. She loves word and clearly is adept at weaving that singular magic of writers where she can string words and letters and phrases together and sends then straight to your soul. It's beautiful. 

But this particular quote got me thinking about the sad state of children't literature these days. A lot of the books out there are, to be quite honest, squishy. Simplistic. 

A great novel should be a great novel regardless of how it is marketed. 

For example, some of my all-time favorite novels are young adult or children's: The Outsiders, Ferdinand the Bull, Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Tale of Despereux, Because of Winn Dixie, Leah's Pony, Thank You, Mr. Falker, to name a few. 

And that is because these authors sunk deep and wrote good or even great stories and beckoned their readers up instead of writing down to the perceived level of their young readers. 

Just a little thought for your Monday evening. 

What are your favorite children's stories? 

Friday, March 28, 2014

{Five Minute Friday} Mighty

Zephaniah 3: 17 The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (NIV)

I limp into this Friday weary. My hands are weak and my body aches and my soul yearns for rest.

The words won't come in any of my projects. I dig deep but the well is dry.

And that is when I realize that in all my busy, in all my running, I didn't let myself lean into His arms. Again. I failed to drink deep the Water of Life, and instead took little sips and then kept running. Sips won't slake your thirst.

The verse from Zachariah was one I had never read before. It was assigned as part of a Bible Study I'm doing and it hit me hard.

I drank deep from this verse because it's what I needed to hear. That I have a Mighty Warrior who will save me when I am not mighty. A Lion of Judah that roared into my life and rescued me from sin.

And this Mighty Warrior also is gentle. He has rescued me and now He loves me with a love that I cannot fathom, a love that is so far beyond my grasp that I have no choice but to fling myself before His feet.

That verse is highlighted in bright pink ink in my Bible, so it will reach out and grab me. So that it will pull me in and whisper that assurance.

Weak? You have a Mighty Warrior who rescued you from sin and fear.

Lonely? His great love has washed away His rebuke.

Desperate? He rejoices over you with singing! You are His prize, His treasure, His Bride.

(Stop 5 minutes, but I'll keep on because I need this)

When you feel like you have run dry, like you are weary and alone, trudging along, know that you have been Saved by the King, that you are His Bride.

Because nothing can separate you from this love that He sings over you. Nothing can rip you from His hands, even though it may feel like you've been left in the dust.

Maybe you feel like you've missed the boat, missed your calling, He can still use you. He still sees you and treasures you.

He sees you crying alone on your couch.

He sees you frustrated surrounded by laundry.

He sees you in that job you labor at and never get recognition, yet you still show up faithfully.

He sees you tired mama with your exhaustion and who-knows-what caked shirt that you just washed.

He sees you when you feel like you're stuck.

He sees you weary and ready to throw in the towel.

He sees you fumble through every moment of your life journey, not even sure what the next step will be and praying for light for the future.

He sees you struggling to maintain relationships and live 1 Corinthians 13 in the Church and how hard it is to be gracious and to be Christ when you're being stung at every turn.

He sees you, He's rescued you, and He is singing His love song over you.

Because all that pain? All that struggle and journey? All that uncertainty?

Yeah, He's already got that. He's already conquered the grave, and sin and death, and when you've conquered those, there's nothing left to conquer. He's given you eternal life and you can have a taste of it here and now if you just hand it all over to Him.

Rest, sister. Rest in His love and give it all to Him - He's already taken it anyway. He's got it taken care of; all you have to do is to let go. Let go and listen to that love song for you that your Mighty Warrior who saved you is singing right now.