Jackson Five Friday: Stop and Taste the Pecans 

Friends,

Are you a stop and smell the roses kind of person?  Or are you more likely to rush from place to place?  For me, it depends. I want to be a nonhurried person, but more often than not I’m trying to pack too much in. I get super convicted about it, because I know the hurried path obscures hidden blessings predictably found on the more flexible and leisurely route. I try to justify myself, thinking I’ll just get A to Z done real quick and then I’ll slow down.  But by the time I get to Z, items A to Y have filled right back up.  I know you know just what I mean. Busyness is an American epidemic. Worth derived by checking things off is rampant, like some kind of joy-robbing plague.

Well, my mom was somehow plague-resistant. And I promise, I won’t always blog about my mom. But I do need to share this illustration.  Years ago — in the early nineties — my mom and I drove from Florida to Michigan, just the two of us.  We headed out in my silver Ford Tempo sometime in the morning. Our plan was to take turns and drive straight through. I drove the first leg, and the second and the third. We stopped repeatedly for breakfast, for lunch, for salty warm roasted pecans. I don’t remember what we ate other than those pecans. They were divine. We’ve talked about those pecans probably a hundred times since then. We never could find any that compared.

Finally as it got dark I was ready to take a break from driving.  My mom pulled onto the Interstate, as I pulled the lever on my seat, leaning back, ready to close my eyes for a bit. But then I looked over and she had her nose about an inch from the windshield.

“Mom!”  I said, alarmed. “Can you even see?”

She made sort of an “aww, shucks” cluck with her mouth, and then, calmly admitted, “Not really.”

It was hysterical! Needless to say, I drove the rest of the way and soon thereafter my mom got glasses. But oh we had a ball!  And my biggest takeaway was that you should always, always, always stop and taste the pecans.  I figure with the biggest travel days of the year approaching, it’s a good reminder.  More than anyone, I need this verse tattooed  on my arm.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭90:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Happy Thanksgiving to all and I hope you find the tastiest, saltiest pecans life has to offer.
With Love,

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Jackson Five Friday: Joy to the Full

Happy Friday, Friends! 

Hope you’ve had a lovely week.  I woke up today and hopped in the car and drove 507 miles due South.  I went from 19 degrees in Plymouth, Michigan to 55 degreees here in Knoxville, Tennessee. And this isn’t just a pit stop.  In a bit I get to see Dub swim at University of Tennessee and that will likely add at least another 25 degrees!  But I embrace sticky natatoriums not just because I love this child, I take great delight in watching him swim. 

Of course, I must say that my many delights in my sons have, in a profound way, been impacted by the passing of my mother.  I think it was C.S. Lewis who said a thing isn’t fully enjoyed until it is remembered. Well, for 16 years minus one month part of motherhood for me has been daily relaying joyful tidbits.  I “remembered” with my mom, who was overjoyed to hear about all of it. 

Last month when Dub got his license the driving test was literally around the block. Sam and I waited while he went out with the instructor. We blinked and he was back, smiling his magical smile at us. We cracked up. It seemed utterly absurd. That was it? Really? 

If this world wasn’t fallen, part of delighting in that moment would be telling my mom about it.  In fact, after I watch Dub’s race tonight and then get back in the car and beeline it for the rest of my family and my own bed, I’d normally spend a good chunk of the trip on the phone with my mom.  But this world is fallen. And my mom is gone. 

I don’t believe in placating the hurt with platitudes about how she knows. Instead, I believe in embracing the hurt. She’s gone. I can never call her and tell her another story.  But it gives me a longing for Jesus’ return, for the completion of the ultimate story. It tightens my needy little fist on the promises of Scripture. It makes me even less likely to let go for a single second. And guess what?  That’s right where I’m supposed to be. Trusting. Hanging on to His Truth for all I’m worth. Am I suggesting grief is a blessing?  Yes.  Yes, I am. 

For the follower of Christ something astounding is true: everything works for good. Everything.  Even grief. 

I hope you too can find comfort in these words:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

With Love,

Kristie 

Jackson Five Friday: Tell Your Stories, Again and Again

Friends,

I pulled up my blog just a few minutes ago to compose my weekly post.  I’m in bed, as are two other members of my tribe.  Yes, we are a wild, wild bunch.  Of course, Nate our social chairman, is at a Western-themed middle school dance.  It’s pretty tempting to post the picture I snapped but I promised I would not.  But theme party or otherwise, Nate typically does a fair amount of our socializing — it’s kind of a representative system we have going.  And it works.  I think we are a family of outgoing introverts with Nate often the most able and willing to engage the world.

But just as I was about to start typing, Sam came and climbed up next to me.  We ended up reading back from years ago.  I’m in my tenth year of writing on Spur so we can almost always find a little story we don’t remember.  We read this cute one and this one too, but then after he tired of the exercise and returned to shooting hoops in the kitchen, I read the following.  I still agree with every word.  It was called “Seize Every Toilet” and was from April 2013.

This sounds like it’s going to be a post about incontinence, but I assure you it’s not.  That day may be a-coming, but thankfully it has not yet arrived.

Anyway, yesterday Sam and I did drop-off for baseball.  The pre-game for this league is almost as long as the game, so we had lots of time to go home.  I left the field and cut through a residential neighborhood.  Out on the sidewalk was the tell-tale sign that someone was renovating: right there, next to the curb, was a fully intact toilet.

I smirked as we passed by, “Sam, did you see that toilet?”

“No,” he answered, whipping his curious little head around.

Well, that was never going to do.  At the next intersection, I turned the car around and drove past the toilet again.  Then I turned around again to head back in the right direction and pulled right up to the toilet and stopped.

I steadied my expression to stone serious, and turned around.  “Do you need to go?” I asked  Sam.

“No,” he smiled, perplexed and amused.

“Well, you need to at least try,” I said.

“You’re kidding,” Sam said, eyes dancing.

“No, Sam.  You need to try,” I said.

As he gestured to get out of the van, I died off laughing.  Sam was cracking up too.

“I knew you were kidding,” he said.  And of course he did know.  It’s not the first time he’s been teased after all.

But a couple things about this fun and brief little exchange are truly important.  First of all, we must tease our kids.  It’s vital to be able to laugh at yourself.  We all know adults who can’t, and they are painful to be around.

Secondly, the Don’t Carpe Diem thing led to instant fame for one blogger — and so many friends of mine identify with that, but I think it’s all wrong.  Not only do I think we should seize every day and every moment, I think we should seize every roadside toilet.  I am so glad I turned around.  We are all busy.  I don’t know anyone who keeps up with laundry or commitments completely — although pretty much everyone I know does a better job than I do.  But how tragic if we have the mindset that we need only cherish those special moments.  Because every breath is a gift (Acts 17:25), and living in the moment doesn’t mean that we live in denial.  Some moments are ugly.  I’ve had my share.  Like that time in Heathrow when I was traveling internationally without Will and was changing one-year-old Nate’s horrendously disgusting diaper and three-year-old Dub decided he’d just venture right out of the restroom into the British throng.  But so what?  Does that mean I didn’t have a trillion things to be thankful for even in that moment?  Besides, a taste of ugly makes us acknowledge and appreciate the beautiful all the more.

May I give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18) , and may I seize every moment.

I hope you’ll tell your stories again and again, and remind yourself too of the truth you already know.

Love to YOU,

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