Surprise Party!

So this weekend, my sister and her family went to the beach. They came over to our house for the day. We had cupcakes and birthday presents ready for her oldest son (just turned 3, but when asked, says he’s 4 😂). They get here, and we immediately have cupcakes and open presents, then it was off to the pool for fun and games. They threw some balls around in the pool and this weird squishy frisbee that absorbed the water.

After pool time we made some delicious smash burgers on the grill. I was running back and forth from the grill to the kitchen helping my dad grill and my mom with the rest of the food. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth.

The weather was really nice – mostly sunny and warm and the pool water wasn’t cold (not warm either). It was kind of the perfect. My sister and her family were here, so was my brother and his family. We had a full house. Kids were running around everywhere, being wild and funny.

But then after dinner, everyone suddenly vanished. They were all gone from the main room (open floor plan house) and they were quiet. I just put in my headphones and continued to work in my journal. But then they slowly come out of my parents room, walking slowly (to music I couldn’t hear). After noticing them weirdly walking and avoiding my eyes, I notice they’re wearing matching t-shirts! All from the university I went to! Then they tossed me a t-shirt. I slipped it on and followed into another room. There, they’d somehow managed to get in a cake and decorations without me noticing!

We took a family picture together (even the toddlers had matching shirts, it was adorable). We ate cake. And everyone told me how proud they were of me. The truth was I absolutely hated the attention, so I’m glad it wasn’t a bigger party with more people. It was actually really sweet and nice. I also got presents! I got some candy from my parents, a shirt from my sister. I also got a book I’ve been thinking about getting! The Night and its Moon by Piper CJ. I’m reading it now – devouring it really. I love it!

Anyway, it was a great day! I hope y’all all are having a great Memorial Day weekend!

British TV

This week I’m going to share the show Annika.

Starring Nicola Walker, Jamie Sives, Katie Leung (who you may recognize as Cho Chang from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Ukweli Roach, and Silvie Furneaux. You can watch it on Amazon Prime.

It’s a little different from your typical cop show. For one, the main character, Nicola Walker, will occasionally speak directly to the camera, but no one else does. Some people think it’s weird, but I kind of liked it. Each episode is compared to a novel or story by Nicola Walker and gives a bit of insight about the case or the background story between the characters.

Some people didn’t like it, thought it was weird because she talks to the camera, but I kind of liked it. If you have Prime Video, give it a look! There’s only one season so far, so it won’t take long to watch if you want to binge it.

Honey and Hiking

The other day I went hiking with just my dad through the state park that’s near our house. It’s usually a nice hike (if you have bug spray), but this time we didn’t have bug spray. It also happened to be the worst time of the year for these biting flies. It was horrible.

There’s my snuggle-buddy Cammie looking out over Beaver Pond.

Despite the bugs attacking constantly, it was a nice hike. It was very hot and very sunny. But a little easier to bear in the shade of the trees.

My dad was working (from home because of COVID) and he was getting work calls and I know he had a lot of work to do. I didn’t realize this until we had already left the house and entered the park. He really didn’t have the time to go on a morning hike with me. But he’s been trying to encourage me to go out more and I’ve been trying to get out more. Thanks to my PTSD and anxiety of various causes, I’ve developed agoraphobia – which is enabled by the pandemic and avoiding going out for health reasons. So the whole reason he went was because I asked the night before, not knowing how much was actually on his plate. I have really great parents. I know I’m lucky. I also know that I don’t deserve them and I don’t appreciate them as much as I should.

On the way out, we bought some local honey that the park sells. And that honey, by the way, is delicious. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever had honey that tastes so good and fresh. If you can buy local honey, you really should. It might be more expensive than the honey in the grocery store, but it’s better tasting, supports your local community, and helps support the local bees (which, as we know, are dying out). So buying local is best! Buy local! Buy small! And go on a hike!

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance…

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, NIV

The list continues, but that doesn’t make it any easier to understand. My cousin should still be a mother of three right now, but she’s not. After only a few days, her twin boys were taken from her. They were life-flighted to another state then to a different hospital in that state. In the end, it didn’t work out. The babies both died.

One of the reasons that I struggle with Christianity and doubt it is for reasons like this. Why did God give her those two beautiful baby boys, and then take them away? Why would she get only a few days with them? How is she supposed to explain to her first born (who’s only 3) that his baby brothers are gone? That he’s not a big brother anymore? It breaks my heart.

I want to cry just thinking about it. For days their lives were hanging in the balance, not knowing if either would survive, not knowing what was wrong with them, praying constantly for them, for my cousin and her husband…

And God answers by taking them away.

I don’t understand. I don’t know anyone who would understand, or be able to explain it. Other than to say that it was “God’s will” and who are we to understand the ways of God? To me, that feels like a cop out answer. I don’t feel satisfied with that. If it’s all in God’s plans, if he knew it was going to happen, why would he let her go through that pain? I can’t imagine the kind of pain she’s in. She’s lost her two sons, but she still has to be strong and try to explain it to her other son. The pain that she’s in that she can’t show because she doesn’t want to frighten her son… None of it makes sense.

I don’t understand. I don’t get it. Is everything in God’s plan? It’s all his will? He knows everything that’s going to happen? He can do all things? But he can’t save the babies, he can’t spare the family the pain of that loss? How does that make any kind of sense?

My heart breaks for her loss. I cry about it. I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of pain she’s in and going through or the kind of strength it takes for her to continue to be a good mother to her firstborn son. I’m so frustrated and sad. I just… I have no words.

What to Watch

My sister and her husband started watching Yellowstone. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. I started watching with my dad. We pretty much binged it whenever he was in town. There are only four seasons of it so far, and I must say that we were hooked after a few episodes. It took some time, my mom never did get into it. And I’ve heard people say that it’s too much like Dallas, but since I’ve never seen it, I don’t find a problem with it.

It stars Kevin Costner, Kelly Reilly, Luke Grimes, Wes Bentley, and Cole Hauser. There are many stars in it. It’s about a ranch and a family. It’s just exciting and entertaining if you let yourself just watch it without thinking about it too much. There are a lot of horses, and seeing as I love horses, it’s got a lot of opportunity to watch them.

Anyway, good show. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

finding faith

For the past several months, maybe a year, maybe just over a year, I’ve been in serious doubt and questioning my faith. There are still a few sticking points I have, but I’m dealing with it.

I’ve read books on polytheism, paganism, and other faiths. I’ve read a lot of books on these. I had questions going into it, and while reading it more questions arose. Traditional Christianity just didn’t seem to fit with me anymore. It felt forced and fake. I felt like a fraud. There were parts of these other religions that seemed to fit more with me which made me doubt whether or not I should even call myself a Christian. And to be honest, for a while, I didn’t call myself Christian.

In fact, it’s actually pretty new that I’ve “reclaimed” my faith. Quite new. And with a totally different outlook. Partly due to a book I stumbled on. I didn’t realize it was a Christian book until I got to Barnes & Noble and it was under the “Christian Living” section.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/church-of-the-wild-victoria-loorz/1138670206

It seemed to answer or solve a lot of my problems that I was having. It gave me a new perspective on Christianity. Something that I desperately needed. It’s a good book. A really good book. But I can see how for some it wouldn’t be.

It’s about taking church from indoors, separate from the world, and taking church back from the men who’ve used it to control and contain others. It’s about knowing that you aren’t above the world (if that’s the right way to put it). It’s about knowing that you belong to a cycle and a circle of life with other animals and nature. Loorz describes nature as our church and how being a part of it is vital. We’re not separate from nature; we don’t dominate nature of any kind. We work with nature. We protect it. We love it. The earth, the animals. Everything is a part of God. We need to take care of it. Loorz says several times in the book that you could be called a tree-hugger or a heretic worshipping nature, which I can see some people interpreting it that way, but I don’t.

But ask the animals, and they will teach you,

or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;

or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,

or let the fish in the sea inform you.

Job 12:7-8, NIV

Nature isn’t a resource. The earth isn’t a resource. It isn’t a thing. It’s living and breathing and we only survive because of the delicate balance – but we’re losing that balance. We’re using up everything we were given to take care of because we want to conquer it.

Preserve. Protect. Learn from it. Let it guide us.

It’s over!

I finally graduated college with a BS in Psychology. It took me a long time; I took a long break from school to figure out a lot of things. But I finally did it! It’s like this huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Now I just have to decide what to do next – besides this. Now I have time and hopefully the motivation to get back into my blog and write more often. We’ll see. I’m going to give it my best. 🤞🏼

So expect more soon! 😆