The space around me feels different than it did when I started 2019. Not where I want to be, but maybe my feet are at least facing the right general direction. So all day long I have been replaying the events of this month and analyzing my head space and thought that maybe you, my online friends, might benefit from some of the things that are slowly starting to turn me around.
To some, and sometimes to me, it appears that all we have been doing in the Sparks household is volleyball. That’s low-key true. Practices and carpools and tournaments take up more time and money than I prefer this time of year. But it is a joy to support my daughter and watch her team’s heart and hustle. Let me tell you what I observed last weekend. There is not a super-star on this team. (I apologize now if you are a parent of one of these girls and thought your child was it.) We play lots of teams that have a stand-out baller or two, and they are impressive. And our girls definitely display different strengths and weaknesses – some better at certain skills than others. Above all, though, these teammates ENJOY each other. This translates to some excellent teamwork that is sometimes able to best a more talented team. Maybe there’s a life lesson hiding in there…
We traveled for a family funeral right after the new year. The service was touching and even funny, as was Grannie. And although some tears were shed, we celebrated a long and fruitful life. I got to see family I don’t see often enough and was reminded how important they all are to me. The time I get to spend with my family is life-giving. I cherish them – from the newest baby to my 90 year old PawPaw. And along family lines, Chuck and I celebrated 20 years of marriage. We didn’t get to travel back to our Hawaiian honeymoon spot like we dreamed of as newlyweds, but we got to be together – and being with him is my greatest gift.
Our daughter Allie attended a youth retreat weekend at our church and invited 5 friends to join her! Two of those precious friends make decisions to live their lives for Jesus. The worship and preaching and serving is all my girl has been able to talk about! I remember those mountaintop experiences and the uncomplicated faith of childhood. My older, weathered heart knows that many challenges and difficulties lay ahead for Allie and her friends. Yet, I praise Him for the belief and conviction and hope they have right now. These are the roots that, with prayer and tending, will grow deep and keep them grounded in Christ during the storms that come.
During my personal study time with God I have been reading Is the Bible Good for Women?: Seeking Clarity and Confidence Through a Jesus-Centered Understanding of Scripture by Wendy Alsup. If you have studied the Bible more than a day, you know there are passages that are hard to understand – unless you think it’s totally normal that a woman be forced to marry her rapist. Little things like that. This book sheds some cultural light on issues surrounding women at that time by using the Bible as a commentary on itself. I’m also reading The Louder Song: Listening for Hope in the Midst of Lament by Aubrey Sampson. I am learning so much about the almost lost art of lament and how it is as much a part of worship as praise. Look for a review of this one soon. And…I’m thinking a light-hearted novel may need to find it’s way to my nightstand next!
For visual entertainment, my sweetheart and I saw The Upside at the movie theater. It was less sad and more funny than I expected. At home, our daughter talked us into All Summer’s End. I honestly couldn’t find much redeeming about it and even she didn’t like it. We also stumbled across the series Sun Records, that you can stream on Amazon – a 9 episode scripted drama about the early days of the Memphis music scene featuring Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and others. Don’t watch it unless you want Blue Moon of Kentucky as an ear worm.
To finish, I’ll tell you about a gift from a sweet friend and a sweet snack. A Christian planner similar to the one pictured here is really helping with my new goal of writing out a bible verse of God’s promises and reminders of all the ways He is sweet to me. And this 2 ingredient snack (just bananas and cinnamon) satisfies my sweet tooth enough to help me clean up my eating habits.
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