(Note: sorry there were no words in this blog. Somehow it got erased as I was posting it. It was a good one too, with a poem and everything. God must have had a different idea about who should see this, but I know I needed it that day. Maybe He meant it for me to see and be encouraged by. Whatever the reason, it remains a blank post to remind me that God is in control, even in the small events. Things do not happen for no reason. Maybe He will bring back the poem to my memory, since He have it to me that day. Until then, be blessed and keep looking for more blogs. God bless! )
There are two different kinds of 'cold.' There is the bearable cold and then there is the bone chilling, brain freezing, ear-piercing-screeching cold. I got to experience both tonight. The evening looked so inviting outside, with the snow falling softly and the temperature actually above 25 degrees. We took off down the road with our sleds and attempted to slide on the already plowed hill, which was a huge fail. Maybe it was our sleds...old and worn down and in need of getting a good waxing on the bottom. Anyway, we walked back and I decided to run and jump down the neighbor's hill and ended up getting a face and neck full of snow. It was COLD! I actually got brain freeze on the back of my head which really hurt. I guess my old body decided to rebel and fight back. It was its' way of telling me that I cannot do this anymore. I am not a teenager, nor have I been in over 28 years. In fact, in two more days I will no longer be a 30 something either. That little bit of information is something I have been fighting to not think about the last few weeks.
As I lay in the soft snow looking up at the stars, I thought back to the days of my youth when my older brother and I would spend hours outside after dinner, playing in the snow until my parents called us in for bed. We built snow forts, sledded down the hill in our back yard, played King of the Mountain, and chase with ski poles (I always was the one who was chased for some reason.) There was something special about those evenings, and nights like this always bring back those pleasant memories. I even got our special friend Den outside to go sledding for the first time. She made a snow angel and we had a brief King on the Mountain fight, which nobody really won. It was just a mad attempt to get to the top of the snow bank first, and we collapsed in the snow completely exhausted. I looked up at the stars and I realized these very stars are the same ones I saw as a little girl. Nothing has changed in the way of God's creation and it was very comforting to know that every single star that God has placed up there for us all to see has never moved from its place. Even though I have changed physically, mentally, and even spiritually, I am glad to know that my God has never changed. His Word has never changed, nor has His promises never changed. I have grown in so many ways, especially in the last few years, and I am thankful for all the lessons I have learned and for the people who have taught them to me. Still, I wonder what the next forty years hold for me and my family, for the world around us, and for my children. I am comforted to know that God will not change in the next forty years and that His Word will remain forever true and right. So, as I say goodbye to another decade, I rest in God's perfect peace, knowing that those same stars over my head, will still be there when I turn eighty years old. And I can also rest assured that I will no longer be tramping through the snow at that age...that will be my children's job as they show my grandchildren what is was like back when they were children. And it will be wonderful to watch.
On September 25, 1993, my youth group and I all went on a white water rafting trip in New York. I had been planning this trip since the beginning of the summer, but I had never got around to actually setting a date in stone because everyone seemed to always be on vacation. A gentleman in my church had given me a brochure on white-water rafting and he also had told me that if I did plan a trip, that he wanted to be included too. The more I looked at the brochure, the more excited I got and finally, I mentioned the trip to my friends. They did not seem too excited at first, and most of them said they would be gone most of the month of August, so that blew my first try.
I went to Maine with my family during the end of August and when I came back in September, I was determined to make the trip work. I knew at least two people who had committed to going, so I called the number on the brochure and talked to the woman in charge. She was very helpful and I found out all the information I needed. The trip was finally set for September 25th. I had a total of 14 people who wanted to go, including three grownups for chaperones. The ages of the teens ranged from 14 years old to 19.
Eleven of us met at the church in Cambridge around 8:15, that gorgeous Saturday morning, and after buying what we needed at the store, we split up into three different cars and headed out to Bristol, where we were going to meet the gentleman from church. I had my two friends in the car with me, and I led the way to Bristol, where the man from church lived. The ride to his house was quite long and the further we went the more nervous I got that the others would think I was lost. Vermont is like that, you know. It takes forever to get anywhere, but I knew where I was going.
We finally made it to the house, parked in the long driveway, and got out to stretch. We waited ½ hour for the other two girls to arrive, but only one showed up. We had to leave or else we would have missed our appointment. The raft ride started at 12:00 and it was already 10:15.
The rest of the ride took two hours and when we arrived we found a bus already waiting for us. A huge raft was tied on the top. We were all given a life jacket, a “whiffle-ball” helmet and an oar. It was pretty hilarious seeing everyone wearing the funny, white hats, but hey, I had one on too. It was all part of the fun deal and I did not care.
The bus ride to the loading point took another 20 minutes and finally it was the big moment. Our guide, Tony, gave us some instructions on how to paddle, and what to do if one of us happened to fall overboard. That made us a little nervous. Before we climbed into the raft, we all gathered for prayer. We wanted to make sure the Lord was with us in the boat, protecting us the whole way.
Finally, all fourteen of us climbed in and we were off. The water was beautiful and a wee bit cold, but it seemed bearable. I was wearing my father’s wool coat from his Navy days, so I was not worried about getting cold. We hit some very large rapids the first 10 minutes of the trip, but then the water calmed down and some of the teens even jumped out to go for a swim, clothes and all. I had no desire to get that wet though, even if I was wearing a wool coat. I was afraid it would only pull me under!
The last stretch of the ride was awesome! The rapids were even bigger then the first ones, and it seemed like my side of the raft was always facing the raging waters! We were thrown up and down, and amidst screeches of delight and cold water splashing into our faces, we had the time of our lives! I was completely soaked when the ride was over, and I was surprised to see there was also a half a foot of water on the bottom of the raft.
Before we knew it we were climbing back into the bus. The ride had ended much too soon for my liking. We rode back to the rafting office sopping wet, but it was hardly noticed as we laughed and talked about our adventure. We had all gotten a taste of white water rafting and loved every minute of it!
We stopped for a quick bite to eat around 4:00 and then we all split up and went home different ways. I had my two friends with me in the car and dropped them off at their homes; I finally got home around 6:30. I had to share with my family the events of the day, and though it had been great fun, I was a little disappointed I did not have a 'movie-like' story to tell about how we all got separated from our guide and had to fend for ourselves. Maybe next time, when the snows have just melted and the water is rushing madly, something exciting will happen. Or maybe I will just have to push someone in….
I keep looking around for my little Benny, wondering where he is, until I remember that he is off at a friend's house. It is unusual for him to go somewhere on a Sunday afternoon, because most of his friends are usually busy after church, but today was an exception. Before I go any further, let me tell you a little about Benjamin: he is seven years old, the youngest child in our family, and an amazing little brother to all his siblings. He loves Legos, and games that involve building, plus he loves to do puzzles books, just like his mommy. :) There is something about him though, that has always seemed quite different than other boys his age. I believe it is because he has older brothers and sisters in the house and they treat him like he is one of them. They have never treated him like a baby, nor did they ever want to kick him out of their rooms because they found him annoying. So, he continues to be by their side all the time, getting in on all the fun teenage stuff they enjoy doing, and my little baby is growing up into a teen overnight. In fact, I was talking to a lady at church about how he is a teenager in a seven year old's body, when he came running up to me and gave me that look he does when he wants me to say 'yes' to something.
"What do you want to ask me?" I said to him.
"Can I go with JJ to Tom's house today?" he asked me quite excitedly.
"You? Did he ask you?"
"Yes, he did!"
Well, after connecting with Tom's mother, we confirmed it would be okay and he really was invited. Invited to a senior's house to hang out! Imagine that! Tom, who is 18, wanted to hang out with a seven year old kid. My point exactly!
So, here I sit, shaking my head at how odd events in life can be. I never remember being invited to anyone's house that was much older than me. In fact, I always got along better with the girls who were two or three years younger than me. I can remember going with the older girls on a shopping trip, but I never felt like I was a part of them. They did not make me feel welcome and I was so glad when it was over. I never wanted to do something like that again. I can also recall the older teens making fun of me for different reasons and I was never 'cool' enough to be a part of their crowd at church. I do not think teens should have 'clicks' because they hurt the ones who are excluded. I know what it is like to be the outcast. I hope and pray that my children never have to go through that, but I also pray that my children will be the ones to step in and take the hand of the lonely one and pull them into their group. There should be no differences because we are all the same in God's eyes. He views us as His children and we should never think more highly of ourselves than anyone else. And meanwhile, while I try to teach them these lessons in life, I have a seven year old hanging out with a bunch of teens. May God give me wisdom in dealing with five teenagers in the house sooner than I thought possible.