When I was a teenager, I did a lot of babysitting for folks in the area. Some of them lived on dead end streets out in the boonies. One lady even lived in a one room cabin out in the middle of the woods. If she did not have those two huge Newfoundland dogs (which took up over half of the cabin floor space!) to keep me company, I would have been convinced there were bears roaming around outside.
I often found myself driving home late at night, long after the sun had set and most normal people would have gone to bed. The endless dirt roads seemed very dark at night, and unless the moon was out, there was no other light to guide my way except for my headlights in front of me. With my crazy imagination, it was easy to feel like I was the only one left in the world, like something had happened and taken all the people away. Once in a while I would see a deer dart across the road, or maybe even a coyote, but life as I knew it during the day was completely different at night.
I remember one particular night as I was driving home and everything seemed extremely dark to me. No lights were on in the nearby houses, and I felt so all alone. I happened to glance up toward the hill and a little bit of light caught my attention. I watched as the tiny speck of yellow flickered on and off as the trees swayed in the gentle summer breeze. That light became my beacon and my friend as I drove home from my babysitting jobs. I knew somebody was still out there and I was not alone.
I originally wrote this poem back in 1996, but revamped it this year to have more of a spiritual meaning. Even on the road of life we can seem alone and forsaken, but there is always One bit of Light that shines through to keep us on the path that we should travel. God bless!
A Glow of Light Upon a Hill
Written by Cara (Pinkham) Simmons
Copyright 1996 and 2013
High upon a weathered hill,
In the woods of north Vermont,
Shone a little twinkling light,
Through the window of the night.
It pierced through the darkness,
Flickering hope to me,
When all else seemed so still,
That light upon the hill,
Reached out and seemed to say,
“Fear not, my child, you’re not alone.
Look to me, I’ll guide you home.”
High upon a weathered hill,
Just outside Jerusalem,
Shone the greatest Light of the world,
Through the window of the night.
It pierced through the darkness,
Flickering hope to me,
And when I bowed upon my knees,
That Light upon the hill,
Reached out and seemed to say,
“Fear not, my child, you are forgiven,
You looked to Me, I’ll guide you home.”
The Light of the world is Jesus
He died for you and me.
Through Him is hope of salvation,
Your Father He’ll always be,
And when you think you’re all alone,
Just focus on the Light,
It pierces through the darkness,
It’ll chase away the night,
Just reach out and hear Him say,
“Fear not, my child, you’re not alone,
Look unto me, I’ll guide you home.”
Simmons copyright 1996 and 2013
I really wish I had a camera to catch some of the sights I see every day around our home. I am not talking about a regular camera, but a good, high quality one that can get close up of things far away. I may not have had time to grab the camera just a minute ago, but it would have made an awesome shot! The family of hawks that live in the next door neighbor's tree has two young ones that are learning how to fly and catch their own dinners. They make a terrible amount of noise, squawking back and forth for no apparent reason as they sit high about us. It is almost as if they are complaining to their parents that they would rather be doing something else...so like a typical child! They really do not want to catch their dinner or have to make the effort to fly around.
I was sitting at the table working when I heard some commotion outside. It sounded pretty close so I opened up the slider behind me and looked around. Sure enough, there was one of the young hawks sitting on the ground just to the left of our deck, yelling and squawking about something.
"What's the matter?" I asked him, not really expecting an answer. He looked at me with a nervous look, opened his gigantic wings, and flew away with a long snake dangling from his talons. Ewww! In all our time here I have never seen a snake in our yard, though the children tell me they have seen some by the stream that runs by our house. I am just glad it was not a squirrel, chipmunk, or a bird that I had to watch being taken to their doom. I could handle a snake, but not something cute and fuzzy. I have a bird feeder on my deck and after seeing how close the young hawk came to our house, I wondered if my feeding station for the birds was just another feeding station for the giant birds? I may not put any more seeds out until I know the hawks have moved on to a new location. If they ever do....
I was sitting outside at the daycare yesterday and felt something land on me. I looked down and found the ugliest looking thing on my lap. It was green, had two portions of what must have been a body, and little antennae coming from the head. I think it was some kind of larvae, because it did not have any wings. It obviously had not fallen by itself so I looked around to see what had dropped it on me. Another bug, this one could fly, was going around in circles as if it was looking for something. He had a longer, thinner body than a fly has, with wings as long as his body. He had antennae and almost looked like a bee, but I don't think he was. I set the weird green thing on the ground and watched curiously to see if the other bug would find it. It took him less than a minute to discover it in the wood chips and he began to do something with, checking it over I guess. Then he proceeded to pull it along through the wood, losing it again, grabbing it, trying to fly away with the heavy burden which seemed too much for him to carry. I have no idea what kind of bug it was and what he was doing with that green thing, but he was determined to take it away. Again, I wish I had a camera to catch the strange behavior. God is simply amazing with all of creation He has given us to enjoy. I cannot even imagine what He has in store for us in heaven!!! It will be awesome!
It was so nice to not actually have to be anywhere this week, unless I absolutely wanted to go. It is amazing how big a chunk of time two days can take out of your week, which is how many days I usually work at the daycare. I find I have to cram five day's worth of activity into the three days that are left, and I often wonder how I can fit it all in.
Now as I look at the new school year looming ahead of me, I tremble inside wondering how I am going to be able to work five full days a week and pack all I need to do into one short Saturday. It has been years since I worked full time. Not since I was pregnant with my first back in June 1999 did I have to work all day, and now that I think of it, I was not even working a full day. I got out around 2:00, which was enough time to go shopping, clean, and prepare for the arrival of our first little one. But, don't take this wrong because I am not complaining. In fact, I am very excited about this opportunity that God has opened up for our family. Being a school teacher is something I always dreamed of, something I used to play for hours as a little girl with my friends and brother and sisters. One of my sisters was so smart from all the lessons I gave her that she was far ahead of everyone else in her class when she began kindergarten. That made me feel good!
Plus, I get to be with Benjamin, since he is going into Kindergarten and that is the grade that I am taking over this year. I think it is going to be fun. I have been working hard on the room, getting the years of dust out, putting fresh coats of paint on the walls and radiators, plus trying to imagine how I should set up the classroom. My children, well, three of them to be exact, are ecstatic to know they are going to back to Heritage, but my older boys are not so excited. For Caleb it is the newness of being in Junior High. He does not know what to expect upstairs with the new teachers, nor how the other teens will accept him. On the outside Caleb is very rough, loud, and very crazy. He does not know how strong he really is and things get broken when his hands touch them. He has an unlimited supply of energy that becomes reckless if we do not direct that energy into something useful. Yet, Caleb has a soft and tender heart. He feels pain and regret unlike any other of my children. He tries to do the right thing and makes amends when he needs to. My prayer for Caleb is that he will learn to think before doing things, and that God will use him for His glory and direct that energy into something wonderful for God.
My oldest is another story. He just does not want to spend an entire day in the old school building, where he says he is hot all day long. He would rather be home alone, like a hermit, and hide away in his room, doing his school work there, and being close to his electronics. I can relate though. Well, for me it was the part of being alone. The farther into my teens I got, the shyer I became. I did not know how to make conversation with people. I remember getting a job babysitting a little boy at a nearby inn and it took weeks for me to say anything to the adults working there. I still remember the comment from one of the workers when I asked for something to drink. With surprise on his face he said, "She CAN talk!!!" Just think how that made me feel!
So I chipped away at the iceberg of projects at home this week. I made progress by getting rid of extra stuff, cleaned my kitchen cabinets, and took down all their school books from last year. I tallied up the grades from the four older children and was very happy with their overall scores for the year. Even when there was frustration and stress, they still did well and I am thankful for the year of homeschooling we accomplished.
Another school year is finished. I can close the book on 2012-2013. I have two months of summer ahead of me to enjoy and get stuff done. I have a story to write, maybe two, that is just bursting at the seams of my brain waiting to be put into words. I have places to go and people to see, mainly my family in Vermont and my grandmother in Massachusetts. I have a wonderful husband and five awesome children to spend time with, making memories that will last a lifetime. Yes, summer is here and I love the sights and sounds all around me. I am going to make every minute count. I am going to thank the Lord for all His blessings and trust Him to help me through the next phase of life when we get there. God bless!
The news did not surprise me. It was like I had known this day was coming all along. Yet, when she came into the house and announced the news I still felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I wanted to clap my hands over my ears and hum a tune so I could drown out the dreaded words, "We are moving." Everything in me cried out, "No! No! No!" I cannot stand seeing another good friend move far away from me. I cannot stand seeing my son's best bud leave and having to watch him go through what I have gone through so many times. I cannot stand seeing my daughter cry because she is going to miss out on getting to babysit their adorable children in two years. "What other babies will I be able to hold in church, Mommy?" she asked. I did not know what to tell her. I felt the same pain inside.
It is a pattern that seems to be constantly stitched in my life. It has happened too many times before. I remember the first stitch of the pattern was started when I was about eight years old. My good friend Lisa told me they were moving away....to Alabama. They were packing up and taking off to a place that seemed a million miles away. I lay in bed that night crying my heart out. Who was I going to play with now? Who was I going to trade stickers with at church and float homemade boats down the stream with? It felt like the end of the world to my young mind. I did not have many friends. I was always a quiet, shy kind of person. I never knew what to say to someone to start a conversation, and was afraid they would not like me anyway. I was not confident in myself as a person, so one odd look could frighten me away into thinking I was not worth the time. So, losing my friend meant having to start all over again, though girls my age were rare in our circles.
I did eventually find another friend through a workmate of my dad's, and we spent a couple summers together. We played boat on her brass bed, swam in her pool, and ate cheese crackers or yummy chips from a large barrel she kept on the top of her fridge when we got hungry. I got very tan from spending so much time outside those couple of summers. It was great fun...until I got the news they were moving away to North Carolina. Another stitch was sewn into my life.
When I was thirteen years old it was my time to move away from all that I knew and felt comfortable with. It was my turn to break ties with someone, a boy who lived a few houses down the road from me, who had been my best friend ever since I was four years old. It was true that we had started to drift apart a bit. I had begun homeschooling and we did not have the time to see each other like we did before. We were also at an odd age where we did not want to play with toys anymore so our interests had begun to change. I felt like I had become a stranger. Moving was hard for me, but I had hopes I would find a girl in the new neighborhood that might become my friend.
Throughout my teen years I had girls come and go, though because I was homeschooled I did not get out much to meet more girls, which in a way was a good thing. I did not have the influences of peer pressure to deal with, and it also helped me draw closer to the Lord because He was the One I could talk to at any time and any place. I can see it all clearly now, though at the time my heart seemed pained at not having a girl to share secrets with.
I cannot go on without giving credit to the Lord for allowing me to make some good friends though writing, ones that I still have contact with and talk to almost every week. Long distance relationships do work and for me they have been a life saver. My husband also became my best friend when we met and I am so thankful for God bringing him into my life.
The path of friendship for me has definitely been like a roller coaster. I have ups and downs, people coming and going on their own paths of life, sometimes meeting together and other times pulling away. I had another friend just a few months ago tell me that they are looking into moving to Tennessee, which is a million miles away. Now with the K family moving away too, I feel like that hole in my heart is being ripped open again. Why does God keep taking away all my friends?
Last week I wrote about blinking...I felt like I was baring my heart for all to see. I am doing it again...feeling vulnerable and naked, but for some reason I feel God wants me to write this. Maybe there are others out there who struggle with the same issues. Maybe there is someone out there who needs a friend. To be honest, I am hesitant to open my heart to new friendships simply because I do not want to get hurt again. I want to close up in my little shell and hide away from hurt and pain, but I do not believe God wants me to do that. When someone stitches a beautiful quilt together, they always like to display it for all to see, either on their bed or on their wall in the living room. The Master Quilter does not want me to hide under a bushel either. He is stitching my life together piece by piece. His pattern for me is different from anyone else's in the world, just as I am different from anyone else. I may not understand all that He is doing, and I may not even like what He is doing, but I can trust Him with my life. He has everything under control. He is the best Friend that I could ever want or need, and I am so thankful He sticks closer to me than a brother or sister. :) Lord, help me be a good display of Your workmanship and give You the glory due Your Name. Amen.
The grandfather clock chimed four times - it went unheeded by the two children playing checkers on the living room floor. Both were in deep concentration for their next move as if their lives depended on it. The clock's steady swinging pendulum made a gentle 'tick-tock' that was hardly noticeable, unless you were straining your ears to hear it. The children, oblivious to all time and sound, did not realize that the minutes of their childhood were slowly ticking away with each tick of the clock. Half an hour passed as swiftly as a minute when suddenly one of the children jumped up and shouted, "I won! I won!"
"I almost beat you that time," the other child said getting up. "But it doesn't matter. I will beat you next time. Hey, let's go play on our rock!"
Quickly the game was forgotten as the two children raced down the stairs and out the door, laughing and joking with nothing but fun on their minds. It seemed as if they had all the time in the world, but they must have blinked!
As a child, you find yourself wishing you were older so you could be like the 'big' kids who always get to do things you are not allowed to do, and it seems like you will never grow up. Yet time has a way of pushing us through life, whether we like it or not. I am living proof of that because I was one of the children playing checkers on that floor that day. It seems like it was only yesterday when I was playing with my best friend and riding our bikes up and down our 'rock.' At that age I assumed being a teenager was a big deal, but it really was not when I finally arrived. There were new struggles to deal with and lessons to be learned. As a teen I assumed being in my twenties was a big deal. Yes, those were some great years because that was when I met my husband, got married, and had my children, but along with it came more lessons and responsibilities to deal with. Now that I am approaching 40 in two years, I am noticing things about myself that are changing and I do not like it one bit. I remember when my parents turned 40, and I guess because parents make such a big deal about how they want to stay 39 forever, it makes an impression on the children. I often wondered what the big deal was, though 40 did seem old at the time. It does not seem old anymore, because it is me I am talking about. I am still the same girl inside. I still feel like I did when I was 18, yet the outside of me does not agree to that. What happened over the years? And to top it off, I have a teenager! Where did the time go? I must have blinked!
We officially finished up our 2012/13 school year and it feels good to be done. We made it through our homeschool year and looking back I wondered if we were going to make it, but God gives grace every moment we need it. We kept going and completed the year with a bang. (I think going to Lake Compounce in the pouring rain with the academy students can be considered a grand finale! Always an adventure!!!) Now I can say I am officially the mother of a high school student. JJ is heading into the 9th grade and to be honest, I did not take the advice that someone gave me about 'not blinking' because my children have grown up overnight! I blinked somewhere and now he stands eye to eye to me, though it will not be long before he will be towering over me.
Today is Heritage Baptist Academy's high school graduation. It was nine years ago that we started going to the church and the students graduating today were just starting their teen years. They seemed so little at the time, and my children were just babies then...what happened to the time? I must have blinked!
I hate the feeling of heavy eyelids when I am tired. Especially if I am driving and my eyes suddenly feel like they want to close. I must do all I can to keep them open by slapping my face, opening the window to let cold air in, or even put matchsticks in them just to keep them open!!! We must not grow weary as we travel down this road of life. Jesus said, "Watch and pray." The disciples grew tired and let their eyelids close at a very crucial moment in their life. My children are at a crucial time in their lives...the high school graduates are at a crucial moment in their lives...I am at a crucial moment in my life...I must not grow weary. I must keep watching and praying. God is calling me, right now, to open my eyes and keep them open. I must not to blink. Do not let the time get passed you either. Open your eyes and look around, and remember do not blink!
A few months ago, I was contacted by a homeschooler who told me about a website specifically designed for homeschool graduates who have written and published books. I looked into it and sent an email to the person in charge of the website. I found out that even though it was 20 years ago that I finished high school, because I graduated as a homeschooler I could join the group and even have an interview! I am excited to announce that today was the day my interview aired on the site and I am putting the link to the article here so you can go and read it for yourself. More to come soon! God bless!!!